Everyday Miracles: Living in the Moment

Everyday Miracles  Living in the Moment

Learning to live in the moment. Now there’s a concept that can give you pause. It certainly sounds as if it’s what we should be doing without having to think about it too much, right? But actually making it happen can take some effort.

One of my favorite experts in the art of being fully present is Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now. I first encountered his work a number of years ago, listening to tapes of the book in my car. Then I read the book, then listened to the tapes again. He has a soothing, almost hypnotic voice, and what he says is deep enough that it can take a while to sink in.

What I find most surprising about trying to live in the moment is how challenging it can be. How many times have you—like me—arrived somewhere in your car without much recollection of how you got there? Maybe you were making a grocery list in your head, or replaying an old argument, or puzzling out why your spouse or colleague was giving you a hard time about something. (By the way—ever notice how much more often we wrestle with problems instead of replaying the good times in our heads?)

In any case, you weren’t paying attention to your life—to what was happening right now. Which means, as Stephan Rechtshaffen points out so beautifully in our video section, you were missing something important. And if your mind is habitually elsewhere, you are basically sleepwalking through life—until one day you wake up and smack your forehead and wonder where all the time went. Where your precious life went, while you were somewhere else.

The irony is, of course, that 99% of the stuff we worry about and stew over never even happens, which is why it’s all the more insane not to live in the moment. To slow down and savor what’s happening right now. To notice the brilliant blue of the sky. To tune in to your breath, your beating heart, the magnificent way in which your body responds to what you ask it to do. To focus on all the good things around you.

At moments of crisis in my life, it’s been helpful to say to myself, “In this moment, everything is just fine”…and keep repeating it until I notice that it’s absolutely true. Another good one: “In this moment, everything is exactly the way it’s supposed to be.” In times of stress, bringing my conscious awareness to what’s happening right now—enjoying it , appreciating it, having fun with it—dramatically slooooows things down and makes whatever I’m dealing with more manageable.

And in my book, that is a truly a miracle.