I’m still musing over the vacation I took last month with my family. It felt like a magical time of connecting with my daughters and husband, totally “away” from the Internet and the phone and the office. I admit I find it challenging, but I was intentional in my efforts to stay unplugged and simply be—enjoying the beauty of my surroundings and having a great time.
I think I’ve struggled with living in the present moment my whole life. In the last few years I’ve noticed how virtually everyone is afflicted with this diminished ability to be here now in the current time and place. Often our attention is focused “over there” instead of “right here.” Tomorrow or yesterday instead of today.
Being elsewhere now has been elevated to an art form, thanks to ubiquitous electronic devices designed to take us OUT of the moment and transport us somewhere, anywhere else. We’re on our smartphones all the time—and that means we’re not “here” but elsewhere. And iPods? No better way to transport ourselves than by plugging in our earbuds and checking out. Blackberries and iPhones ensure we can be connected with other times and places whenever we want, and never be confined to the present moment. Our attachment to Twitter and Facebook feeds our addiction to documenting the small moments of our lives rather than just living them.
The whole idea of being here now has not only been lost, the very concept seems naïve in this sophisticated “anywhere but here” world. It takes discipline to reject the temptation to focus on other-times-other-places instead of on here and now. But there are incredible rewards. The beauty of the present moment is magnified when compared to the abstractness of things long ago or far away or still to come.
We can’t live in tomorrow, and we can’t live anywhere else but here. We can’t be somewhere else in our minds and still expect to experience life in its fullest.
As writers, will we be able to fully capture the truth of life if we are not giving it our deepest attention?
I challenge you today to pay attention to your own patterns. To what degree are you living in the present place and time? Are you here now, or are you somewhere else? How is this affecting your enjoyment and fulfillment in each day? Just pay attention.
*Photo courtesy of my 12-year-old daughter.
*Be Here Now is the title of a 1971 book by the spiritual seeker and teacher, Ram Dass (Dr. Richard Alpert), best known for his association with Timothy Leary in the 1960s, his being dismissed from the faculty of Harvard in 1963, and his travels to India in search of spiritual truth.[ Next Post → ] [ ← Previous Post ]