the myth of ‘living in the moment’
There was time when I would easily fall into a stony-eyed stare around people who used the language of ‘living in the moment‘. Even as someone who had been meditating for many years, I would secretly rebel with thoughts like
“if you only knew what I was going through right now”
“if you could just spend one day at my job and with all my
responsibilities, you would see that I don’t have time to live in the moment”.
Eventually, the chronic irritability, stress-aches, frequent illnesses and general dis-ease of my life led to me to question whether or not I was missing something.
Through continued meditation, yoga, the reading of wisdom literature from many traditions and conversations with others who were walking with the same questions and resistances, I found a place where I could consider releasing my cold, judgmental stare. It was a micro-start. A work in progress, to be sure.
The place I found was one where I realized that ‘living in the moment‘ does not mean bearing witness to every single moment as free of stress and discomfort. It does not mean a constant evaluation, categorizing, dissecting and cataloging of my moments to see how they could be made more livable, more acceptable and even easier to manage then share with others.
Attending to this moment means that I see it with soft eyes, not searchlight eyes. Receptive eyes to what is really in front of me and to sit with whatever response comes from it.
But living in each moment is not really reasonable. There are simply too many of them. They come too quickly and leap frog over each other as we tumble and stumble through our days. This reality calls for a bit of intention. We can select a few moments each day when we choose to stop, sit, soften, notice and receive the moment just as it is.
Maybe the first moments of wakefulness in the morning. Or just before falling asleep. Or at a stop light. Or doing the dishes. Sitting quietly on a porch with a cup of coffee. Choosing to add some moments of meditation to your day.
This is as close to ‘living in the moment’ as I can get.