In the Moment

A number of people have asked for my take on “In the Moment”. Firstly, I am much more interested in seeing how others interpret this expression than in trying to propagate my own evolving view about it. Anything I say is but one view and I expect the final publication to be a kaleidoscope of many visions.

This said, I came to the idea of “In the Moment” in the practice of yoga and later meditation. In these contexts it relates to being completely at one with the instant in which you are living. As a way of being, beyond the narrow confines of yoga or meditative practice, it is about absorption in the present, with the shadows of your history left behind and the worries of the future transcended. We all experience this feeling at times (e.g. when our car is skidding across an icy road or, more beautifully, when making love). It is invariably an intensely clarifying experience that, even when dire, has a sort of wonderful intensity about it. (Soldiers often say the experience of battle can be intoxicating even in its horror.) Our everyday challenge is to bring this orientation to other situations in our lives – the conversations we have, the work we do, the play we indulge in, even the pain we feel. If we can do this we can live more richly.

An aspect of being in the moment is freeing oneself from notions of relative importance. It is very easy to believe that your career is intrinsically more important than your play; or that your charity has greater value than a moment with your child. You live richly when you simply live, free of these judgments. This is notably seen in our relationships. Most of us will have met a person who seems to completely listen when we speak to them and how wonderful this is for us – these people (Mother Teressa had this gift) are completely “in the moment” with us. We are liberated and honored by their lack of judgement and simple attention (even if we cannot reciprocate).

“In the Moment” is almost synonymous with the ideas of being “present” and “mindfulness”. There is a great deal of writing about these ideas from both an Eastern spiritual bent and also from a Western psychological perspective. I am not expert on these topics – just a pilgrim on the road. Very rarely do those shackles of history or future anxiety fall from me. When they do it is profoundly liberating. I hope through this competition to perhaps learn a little more.

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