Stay in the Moment

What Does It Mean and How Do We Do It?

Being in the moment, “present,” and “in the now” are solutions streamed across the pages of countless books in the fields of self-help, Eastern spirituality and psychology. With 3 million copies sold, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle has been translated into 33 languages and hung strong on The New York Times Bestseller list throughout its publication year and beyond. Other top-selling authors who promote the moment as the salve for one’s mental irritations are Deepak Chopra, Thich Nhat Hanh, Marianne Williamson and Pema Chodron.

When charged with the task, Google will churn up thousands upon thousands of websites dedicated to staying in the moment, cultivating mindfulness and experiencing present-moment awareness. Yoga studios, meditation classes, even courses in the creative arts like the creative writing books written by Natalie Goldberg, all promise to submerge you in the calm, reassuring waters of this moment.

Let’s assume that this is, in fact, the antidote to our anxieties, the method for restraining the monkey of our minds, at least for a little while. The question still remains: what exactly does it mean to be in the moment?

As it turns out, there are actually almost as many approaches for arriving in the moment, it seems, as there are books, practices and methods for achieving it.

According to the Buddhist website, being in the moment does not necessarily mean forgetting the stream of minutes, hours and days stretched behind us. Instead, it means being aware, conscious, attentive to the experiences both around and within us at any given instant. Our feelings about the past: whether these are positive or negative are, they say, part of this mindful awareness, so that being “present” is not necessarily synonymous with forgetting the moments that came before.

However, according to this method, being “mindful” is not about dwelling either. To wallow and sink in the dreary waters of some past pain is not the idea. Instead, the idea is to observe whatever is going on, both in the environment and within oneself, including any past hurt or joy, without running from or towards it.

Then there is, of course, the more widely prescribed method of literally connecting to one’s environment through the senses—fully experiencing each and every sound, taste and physical sensation of temperature and texture. Through this practice one may become less bogged-down by worries related to the past and future and, ideally, learn how to simply be.

And how exactly does one do any of this? Deepak Chopra, whose widely praised and published works apply the tenets of Eastern spirituality to a contemporary Western context, is one of many to offer the breath as the solution. Being aware of one’s breath and how it moves in and out of one’s body, and forms a connection between one’s internal landscape and one’s environment, can snap one back into this moment. Only then, according not only to Chopra but to innumerable spiritual, yogic, meditation and even psychological methods can one experience true contentment for it is only this moment which is completely charged with life. It is this moment, too, which is free from worry—that is, as long as we don’t grasp and hold on to it, but instead allow it to flow out of us and into the next moment and the next one and the next…

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5 thoughts on “Stay in the Moment

  1. Nenad

    Well, it all sounds good but is it? We must not forget the future and always keep us in the perspective of what we aim to become. A man is nothing without dreams, and how possibly can we achieve them if we do not see ourselves in the future, if we do not plan. If we start a relationship, can we see ourselves with that person 5 years from now? If the answer is yes, then it’s a real thing. The same goes for job, home, etc. It is very far from truth that Yoga teaches to live in the present; my experience with it is that the practice of Yoga allows you to better plan for the future, to learn how to foresee the consequences of your thoughts and actions and to adjust yourself for your future moments. Also, forgetting about the past leaves us without our most precious possessions: self-assessment, wisdom and experience. Purely staying in the moment is but the futike escape.

  2. chloechloe

    Hi Nicole,
    Great article. I agree with Gina Rose it does take some work and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, is an excellent source for finding practical ways to adjust our perceptions of reality.

    What is behind us and what we think may before us, only exist in our minds, yet none of it is actually occurring when we are thinking about it; both are illusions that remove us from the “present tense”.

    When we allow ourselves to be mindful of our own projections, it changes everything in a positive way.

    Thanks for the article!

    Love & Light,

    Chloe (ext: 9421)

  3. sammiepoo123

    I needed those yoga techniques this week, it was finals week and it was highly stressful, the last semster before my senior year of college, and I am trying not to repeat those mistakes that I made when I was a sophomore, I was busy this week trying to focus my attention on my exams versus anything else and it was very hard

    blessings and hugs

  4. Jacqueline

    Great article,
    Now days there are so many spiritual teachers out there, I have heard most of them in one form or another, I do agree with most of there approach, when-ever anything in life is good and feels right 99% of the time it is,

    When we choose to let go of the past and be in a happier, fulfilled joyous person we still have some of the old patterns and behaviors that is attached to our soul, in order to change this to get our hearts, mind and soul on the same page in order for this to become a reality we need to change our core being, becoming pro active in changing our-self, listening to motivational speakers, reading life changing books, this takes some time, it is a process, remember it took you many years for you to get to the point that you are at now, to change one-self it is going to take reprogramming your whole being, but wow the reward is so worth it.

    Blessings and Big hugs!
    Jacqueline x9472

  5. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500


    Staying or being present in the moment takes some work, but the rewards once it is mastered, is significant. Because you are learning not to repeat past mistakes or repeat old behavior patterns by mere habit
    Being present in the moment will always open doors and present positive choices in your life.

    Blessed Be )O(
    Gina Rose ext.9500


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