Being present

A recurring theme in meditation is living in the moment. I’ve been practicing meditation for over a year, and living in the moment is a skill I’m still working on. So what does it mean to be present, to live in the moment?

Being present is about learning to let go. It’s developing the ability to let go of worries about the future and regrets about the past. It’s about letting go of the painful thoughts that cause emotional suffering. It’s about letting go of the attachments to people, things, and events that distract and agitate us. It’s not about controlling the here and now, it’s letting it flow naturally, moment by moment.

Letting go is not easy, at least it hasn’t been for me. It’s perhaps the most difficult part of learning to be consistently present in the moment. It requires adopting a different mindset. It’s taken me the better part of a year and a lot of meditation sessions, but I feel like I’m finally starting to get it. Here’s what I’ve discovered through the process.

We can learn lessons from the past, we can make plans for the future, but we can only live in the present. No matter how much we ruminate over the past or worry about the future, the only thing that matters is the moment that exists right now. Embracing the present, living in the moment, is the only way to fully enjoy life and be at peace with ourselves and others. And as an added benefit, it reduces anxiety, minimizes stress, and improves mental and physical health.

So when you’re feeling anxiety, stress, or overwhelmed, take a step back. Examine your thoughts. More often than not, the source of our emotions are those worries, hopes, dreams, and situations that we’ve created in our mind that feel so urgently important and vividly real. It’s important to recognize that they’re not real. They’re an illusion. The only thing that matters, the only thing that is real, is the present moment. Now.

Embrace it.

Live in it.

Practice being present.