January 2, 2009

Living in the Moment

We live in the age of distraction. Yet one of life's sharpest paradoxes is that our future hinges on our ability to pay attention to the present. Living in the moment -- also called mindfulness -- is a state of active, open, intentional attention on the present. Mindfulness involves being with your thoughts as they are, neither grasping at them nor pushing them away. Instead of letting your life go by without living it, you awaken to experience.

Research confirms the benefits: it reduces stress, boosts immune functioning, reduces chronic pain, lowers blood pressure, and helps patients cope with cancer. Mindful people are happier, more exuberant, more empathetic, and more secure. In this in-depth Psychology Today article, Jay Dixit shares six helpful tips for living in the moment:

The Art of Now: Six Steps to Living in the Moment
By Jay Dixit

A friend was walking in the desert when he found the telephone to God. The setting
was Burning Man, an electronic arts and music festival for which 50,000 people descend on Black Rock City, Nevada, for eight days of "radical self-expression"—dancing, socializing, meditating, and debauchery.

A phone booth in the middle of the desert with a sign that said "Talk to God" was a surreal sight even at Burning Man. The idea was that you picked up the phone, and God—or someone claiming to be God—would be at the other end to ease your pain.

So when God came on the line asking how he could help, my friend was ready. "How can I live more in the moment?" he asked. Too often, he felt, the beautiful moments of his life were drowned out by a cacophony of self-consciousness and anxiety. What could he do to hush the buzzing of his mind?

"Breathe," replied a soothing male voice.

My friend flinched at the tired new-age mantra, then reminded himself to keep an open mind. When God talks, you listen.

"Whenever you feel anxious about your future or your past, just breathe," continued God. "Try it with me a few times right now. Breathe in… breathe out." And despite himself, my friend began to relax.

Read More: Here

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