Living in the Moment: March 2014

It seems as if the idea of mindfulness has been getting a lot of attention these days. I see it everywhere, or more likely because I am more conscious of it, it is showing itself to me everywhere. In early October, I had attended a Mindfulness/Meditation 3 day workshop at Kripalu Center and since them I have been practicing meditation and trying to be mindful in my daily living. However, now that I have become aware of what it really means to “live in the moment”, I realize how often I am not. “Being in a state of active, open attention on the present…and observing my thoughts and feelings from a distance without judging them” (Psychology Today) is so much harder than I could have imagined.

With a professional career that focuses on ones thoughts and feelings, I struggle observing my thoughts from afar. I teach and live by the philosophy that our thoughts, feelings, and actions are all connected, all constantly working together, both positively and negatively. It seems when I practice meditation or recognize that I need to be mindful, quieting those constant thoughts goes against what I have always believed to be a way of living. Though, I value and see all the benefits mindfulness brings…. It is a beautiful, simple, and joyful way to live.

Ironically, I always thought that my yoga practice makes me present, however this is where I seem to struggle the most with being mindful. I set the intention to be in the here and now, and then I often judge myself when I realize that my thoughts are drifting elsewhere, or that the music is taking me to a fond memory (the focus of last month’s blog). But when I am mindful, like last night’s practice, it is amazing! I found that keeping my focus on the breath and practicing pranayama mindfully or with the guidance of the instructor is the golden ticket.

Controlling our breath, something so simple, yet so underused is the foundation to being mindful. Yet, I do not incorporate as often as I want to, as often as I should. But that is okay. All I can do, is to set the intention to continue to practice the art of mindfulness, using pranayama breathing, with kindness and compassion to myself and try to stay present in the moment. I am on this journey of mindfulness but I recognize this will be a life-long challenge, one that requires dedication and awareness. But I know it’s not the end result that matters most, it’s what we experience along the way.

The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”                                     ~ Thích Nhất Hạnh,

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