Is Life Passing You By?

life rushing past

Does it ever feel like life is passing you by…like you’re waiting for that next great opportunity/job/person… to make things complete?  Well here’s the bad news… tomorrow never comes, not the way we think. And that may be the very problem: we think too much!

If we spend our lives ruminating about the past, which also means ‘processing’ it.… processed food is pretty bad, I wonder what that says about “processed” experiences?… If we spend our lives ruminating about the past or wishing for some future, we are simply not present. No wonder life feels like it’s passing us by. It is!  We’re not present to it, to what is happening now!

Maybe we should simply stop thinking so much, about the past or future, and simply be in the now: be present. (There’s a thought!)  Easier said than done for Western society that honors Cartesian thinking and Descartes’ famous adage: “I think therefore I am”.  (Sorry, Monsieur Descartes, but ‘I am because I am’…full stop).

For many people thinking has become obsessive. They can’t stop it, and subsequently can’t sleep at night. They obsess about what someone said or did, or about what they said or did (and shouldn’t have). They obsess about what might happen in the future (at the next business meeting/ talk with their mother/partner/boss)…or, what “should have” happened.. Etc…

So here’s a little trick for us ‘great’ thinkers, a technique from world-renowned philosopher and writer Ekhart Tolle, and a general practice from internationally-acclaimed, Vietnamese monk and spiritual leader, Thich Nhat Hahn and his practice of mindfulness.  I know we’re all busy, caught up in life’s ever increasing race to get things done, so this will require less than a minute.  Tolle calls this the ‘mini meditation,’ and everyone can make time for a 30 second meditation, even you.

All you need to do is bring your total attention to a repetitive act you perform every day, e.g. going up or down stairs, brushing your teeth, shaving, putting on make-up, getting into or out of your car…there are numerous options to choose from.  For example focus for up to a minute on the sensations of lifting your feet to go up the stairs, feeling your feet and weight touch each step, feeling the shift of your weight from one leg to another as you progress, the feel of the bannister in your hand, the quickening of your breath as you breathe, the sound of your footsteps on the stairs. Bring your attention to as many of your 5 senses as possible and BE totally present for those few seconds.

It’s an amazing experience. Once you try it with one action in your life, you can experiment with others, e.g. taking a walk, drinking tea (juice or a smoothie if you prefer). Bring your attention to what is happening in your life now, and just be with it. You’ll be amazed what is there to experience, and notice, during this presence, your mind stops its chatter and you stop thinking. Try it! I’d love to hear about your experience. Feel free to share here or on my site at Experiment. Have fun and stop letting life pass you by!


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