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Contentment is in the Right Now

July 24, 2022 by  
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There are so many things in our lives that we view as priorities — many, many things. There are obvious ones like getting an education, finding a good job, staying in good health, and taking care of the ones you love, including parents, siblings, your spouse, kids, grandkids, and friends. And you want to be sure you have time and energy to pursue the things you love in life as well.

All those things are so important and critical to a good life and even a great life. But many of those items can be thrown off track if we lack contentment and satisfaction. And, I think, there’s one big thing that gives us great contentment — living in the “right now”.

Of course, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, for us to always “live in the now”. Our busy lives distract us, causing us to worry and contemplate what’s coming next. But, I think, our greatest contentment and satisfaction comes from living in the now, so it’s important to make that a priority, too. Luckily, there are easy ways to help us spend more of our mind time living in those right now moments.

  • On a regular basis, ask yourself, “Am I at ease at this moment and living in the now?”
  • Visit the future but don’t stay there. Keep coming back to the right now.
  • Visit the past but don’t bring back any regret or guilt.
  • Make a habit of monitoring your mental and emotional state through self-observation.
  • When you are stressed, stop, pause, take a big deep breath and count in your mind. That’s right. Just count numbers. You can start at 1 and count to 500 or start at 100 or 500 and work backwards. Then refocus on living in the now.
  • Buddha said, “The root of suffering is found in our constant wanting and craving…” so let’s all work at reducing our wanting and craving so aren’t as anxious and can be more present.

Of course, living in the now should be a priority, but you also want to prioritize those things that require planning. The question is, how do you stay in the moment while planning, dreaming, goal setting, and doing all those things that help you get what you want out of life?

Well, you can go ahead and set future plans, dreams and goals, but once they are determined, write them down. That way, when you don’t need them, you can physically set them aside until you want to work on them or need reminders to keep focused. So, as you see, it’s not that you can’t think about the past or the future, but rather that you need to be aware of how much you do think about things that are not part of the moment you are living right now.

Awareness of what your mind is doing is a big part of living in the right now moment. When you are aware of what your mind is doing, you can steer it back to the right now after you give yourself the time to plan future things or momentarily ponder the past. Once you have, try to become totally absorbed in what you are doing, thinking, or being right now and enjoy the contentment that comes with it.

More Reasons for Living in the Right-Now

May 29, 2022 by  
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Doesn’t life seem to change quite a bit as you get older? It sure does for me. Our bodies are certainly not the same at 70 or 80 as they were when we were teenagers or even at 30 or 40.

I had lunch the other day with an old friend that I’ve known for many, many years. I’ll call him Jerry. We have had so many great years together. Recently, I called him up to ask if we could meet for lunch at a restaurant or my country club. Jerry said he’d love to, but we would have to have lunch at his house since he was not very mobile. I was quite surprised to hear this since Jerry is only about a year older than me and the last time I saw him, he seemed to be just fine and had always been in good health.

We met up a few days later at Jerry’s house and I brought him lunch. I was surprised to see him with a 4-wheel walker and, on top of that, he shocked me with the news that he had bone cancer and, even worse, the cancer was also now in his brain.

Wow, that was such bad news, and I really felt sorry for my dear, long-time friend. Aside from all that bad news, I was very happy to find, after talking to him for a while, that his thinking was in excellent shape. He told me about a trip that he just got back from. In spite of his physical shape and health problems, he said he had a wonderful get away to Europe. As we talked about some trips we had taken together in the past, I was amazed that Jerry remembered so many details of our trips, many that I have a hard time recalling myself. He really impressed me!

When most of us were young, we might have thought life was an easy ride, and we figured we would live to 100 and have plenty of time to do all the things we want to do. We might also have hoped that maybe, by the time we’d reach old age, they will have invented a medicine or procedure to extend our lives by many, many more years and maybe even close to forever (I’ll hold on to that far out dream!) But even if we could live forever, we still have to deal with our older our brains and bodies not working near as well as in our younger years.

Since we most likely won’t live to be a 100 or more, we need to wrap our minds around living in the Right-Now Moment. It is true that we can’t continuously live in the present if we want to plan a big, fun getaway trip, since that takes future thinking. However, I certainly have found that as I think about going to Europe or Japan or any new place, it lifts my spirits.

Traveling to new places and seeing new things excites my mind and, I believe, it makes me healthier. It could even push off the day that I check out of life by many more years. I sure hope so!

Fully Present Wakefulness

August 2, 2019 by  
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So, what can we do to make our lives happy and contented as we age, like when you are over 55, 65 or, like me, at 75? So much of our lives depend on our thinking and it can be a bit of a challenge to put and keep the positive thoughts our minds.

I came across an interview I did years ago with the world-famous skier Stein Eriksen. He had so much passion in his life even up to shortly before he died. In the interview, I asked Stein if he had as much passion in the process of becoming a world champion as he did when he won the gold medal. And he said he absolutely did, that he both enjoyed and was totally passionate about his workouts, and his many, many practice runs down the snowy slops of Norway and Utah. He built in his mind what he was going to do each day and he almost always did it, even in his mid to late 80’s.

That passion and determination most always starts with our brain and what we are thinking. I read a cute comment recently: “Don’t believe everything you think.” It is so easy, especially as you age and know that your time on this planet earth is so much shorter than when you were 25 or 30 or even 50 or 60, to let go of that passion. Our “self-talk” can really lead us down the wrong path.

So, one big thing, or big THINK, we need to do as we get closer to the end, is to be very mindful of the little negative self-talk that goes on in our brains. Then we need to work on changing that little voice in our head to do some major positive self-talk. If you meditate even for just 10 or 12 minutes a day this can help with changing your negative self-talk to positive self-talk.

Quoting from Pema Chödrön’s book Living Beautifully, “The key practice to support us in this mindfulness is being fully present right here, right now. Meditation is one form of mindfulness, but mindfulness is called by many names: attentiveness, nowness, and presence are just a few. Essentially, mindfulness means wakefulness–fully present wakefulness. Chogyam Trungpa called it ‘paying attention to all the details of your life.’”

As we get older, it’s even more important to live in the right now moment and, of course, that takes a lot of positive self-talk. Pema also wrote that, “The specific details of our lives will, of course, differ, but for all of us, wakefulness concerns everything from how we make dinner to how we speak to one another to how we take care of our clothes, our floors, our forks and spoons. Just as with the other aspects of this commitment, we’re either present when putting on our sweater or tying our shoes or brushing our teeth, or we’re not. We’re either awake, asleep, conscious, or distracted. Chogyam Trangpa emphasized mindfulness and paying attention to the details of our lives as ways to develop appreciation for ourselves and our world, ways to free ourselves from suffering.”

Additionally, Pema wrote, “You build inner strength through embracing the totality of your experience, both the delightful parts and the difficult parts. Embracing the totality of your experience is one definition of having loving kindness for yourself.”

This type of thinking and action certainly has made me more productive and keeps my mind busy. That along with setting a schedule and coming up with some new goals that fit my age and stage has been quite wonderful. At first it seemed quite silly for me to pay total attention to getting dress or taking a shower, but I have found it to be a good, and important, experience.

Making the Next Year Last Twice as Long

April 8, 2016 by  
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Is it just me or does it seem like every year time speeds up?  Today, April 8th, is my 72nd birthday. It seems like my 71st birthday was only about 3 or 4 months ago! So now what do most of us do on our birthday? Yep, we celebrate.  But do we actually rejoice that we are getting older and closer to the end of our life?  Or maybe we are celebrating that we survived one more year?

The question really is, though, is there a way to slow down the passage of time?  Before I get to my ideas on that, I must tell you that one year ago I said to my wife without thinking it through, “Ya know honey, I don’t think I want to have any more birthdays,” and she quickly and wisely said, “Oh babe, I really think you do want at least a few more!” Duh. What was I thinking?

I guess when we are celebrating our birthdays what we really are doing, or at least what we should be doing, is some thoughtful reviewing of what we’ve spent our time on and what we’ve accomplished in the past 12 months. It should be rather like what we do around New Year’s eve.  And then after our reviewing we should take time to do some planning and goal setting for the next 12 months.

As far as what I think will work to slow down the passage of time, I have noticed that when I work at becoming totally aware of the present moment, in the ‘right now’, it does seem to slow down the clock a bit.  This last year I kind of moved away from taking notice and enjoying the ‘right now’ moments and spent too much time thinking about what I am going to do in the future.  True we all need to take time to plan and set goals but after we’ve done that we really need to concentrate our efforts to do more of living, enjoying and rejoicing in the moment. And that is what I plan on doing a lot of now before the big 73 rolls around.  Yep I’m going to slow Father time down.  Let’s all try to do that and see if it will make the next 12 months more rewarding and satisfying and, just maybe, those 12 months will seem to take twice as long to travel though. Let’s all slow the next 8760 hours down by living in the great ‘right now’.