Why should we be in the moment, and what benefits may it reap?
There’s a reason Eckhart Tolle’s spiritual tome, The Power of Now, is an international bestseller. Now in its twentieth year, the book famously encourages us to leave our analytical mind behind. COVID-19 has taught us so many things about the need to appreciate what we have, and for many people, this has involved spending time with the things we own now, and the people we live with. It’s very easy to project forward to the next vacation; but presence is all about finding something to savour in the current moment; even if it is mundane. (Accepting the mundane means the thrilling becomes even more enriching!)
Being present means we’re not distracted by ruminations on the past, or worries about the future. But it’s no dull, smug outlook on life. Far from requiring that we shouldn’t enjoy extravagant, fun and joyful activities, it helps us truly savour them; so for example, we’re not guzzling our lunch, but mindfully enjoying our food and the pretty dish it is served in, plus the view before us. Book that amazing holiday, then make the most of your ‘here and now’ life; when your holiday arrives, savour every moment and try to connect with what you experience. Why? Because this attitude of ‘presence’ is said to help reduce anxiety, and also quieten negative beliefs exacerbated by chattering self-talk. It is also thought to increase our emotional intelligence, empathy and resilience – and can be achieved almost entirely for free.