Living Moment to Moment
How many times have you found yourself anxious about the future, ruminating in the past, this week?
Were you so caught up in the drama of your thinking that you weren’t present for a moment. A moment when you missed a friend’s kind gesture. A moment when you didn’t hear the conversation. A moment when you didn’t taste the coffee. We only have moments to live so how can we learn to live in these moments?
Mindfulness is a practice of paying attention in the moment, bringing attention to everything within the mind’s present moment experience. A mindfulness practice brings awareness to a fuller sense of mind that includes the body (pleasurable sensations, physical discomfort, tweaks, aches); emotions (moods, feelings, emotional states); sensory experiences (touch, smell, sight, sound, taste); and thoughts (memories, plans, images, chatter).
For me, mindfulness has brought greater awareness in the moments of my life - the good, the bad and the ugly! Over time and with an attitude of kind curiousity, I’ve become aware of my habits of mind noticing the places I like to hang out and where I get stuck. I find this poem by Portia Nelson a great metaphor for how mindfulness may help us recognise and move away from habits that no longer serve us.
There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk : The Romance of Self-Discovery [Portia Nelson]
“Chapter One of My Life. I walk down the street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in.
I am lost… I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.
Chapter Two. I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again.
I can’t believe I’m in the same place! But, it isn’t my fault. And it still takes me a long time to get out.
Chapter Three. I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in. It’s a habit!
My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.
Chapter Four. I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.
Chapter Five. I walk down a different street.”
Like this poem suggests, self-discovery is a process that requires self-awareness and this can be developed through mindfulness. I liken mindfulness as being gym training for the mind muscle which is strengthened with every repetition. Sharon Salzberg says, ‘Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.’ So why not make it your new daily habit?