When I was in college, I took a study skills class that was required for all incoming freshman. There is not a lot I took away from the class that I had not already heard somewhere before, but one of the things I do remember was the concept of “be here now.” It seemed new and novel, although it wasn’t. It was introduced a few years before I was born as a philosophy of an eastern religion.
However, this is not how it was presented to me. It was presented much more simply and with an emphasis on paying attention – it was a study skills class after all. I didn’t immediately begin paying more attention to everything, but the concept stuck with me. I remember sharing it with my husband, nearly five years later, because…
…it still seemed so important.
So, what is “Be here now?” Simply put, it is choosing to be fully present right where you are. It is not a failure to plan for the future, nor is it a refusal to think of the past.
It is about taking time to find joy in today and the situation you are in.
It is about taking time to play and smell the roses.
I still face challenges in choosing to be present. I am often thinking of the next thing on my to-do list, which seems to get longer instead of shorter. It is not always the easy choice, but my family needs me to be present with them, not just occupy the same house while we each do our own thing or zone out in front of the computer.
In order to be present among those most important, we must willing to disengage from the things that distract us. The things that distract will be different for each of us. Some will have to turn off the computer of put down the phone. Others will have to leave work at work and for others still it is the TV…
…the list of distractions is long.
Prioritize the things most important. It may be that the phone call can wait. Your favorite show can be recorded. Your friends may not notice if your Facebook status doesn’t get updated.
Set limits and establish accountability for the distractions that threaten to eat up your time. The second part of this is possibly the most important part. Without establishing accountability, you will very likely end up right back where you started.
If being present is a challenge for you, as it is for me, perhaps these ideas will help you as you choose to be present.
Question: What are the distractions in your life that pull you away from being present? Share your comment by clicking here.