Staying Present – A Discontinous Course

by Melody Jean

The Plight of Staying Present - It's No Easy Feat Contemporary SeekerStaying present. Have you every really tried to do this? That is, live in the present moment?

It’s no easy feat.

The Wanderer

My mind wants to travel 5 minutes, a day, two weeks, three months, a year down the road when all I want to do is enjoy my cup of java piping-hot, in my hands, right at the moment.

Our brain is an elusive wanderer of sorts, with a mind of it’s own at times.

A Discontinuous Present

I’m told that spiritual learning is often discontinuous. That is, either we learned an aspect, or are learning, and in turn, we drop it for a time, pick it back up, take it a little further at a future point – only to discontinue again and then pick it back up at a later time, and so on.

Perhaps the struggle with “staying in the present” is one example of this discontinuous spiritual process. We can’t realistically stay in one lesson all of the time because we need to remain a part of our apparent world too. So I wonder.

The Present Lesson

My current lesson, “staying present,” came about in a happenstance fashion. I was speaking with someone new, and intriguing who mentioned it to me. It’s something that I’ve always heard the clichés about, and on some level thought that I was already doing.

Yet, now as I consciously place effort to partake in this very task I realize that I was not doing it. Or at least not doing it well enough.

The Real Task Unfolds

I find it impossible to stay present continuously. In fact when practicality seeps in, it’s actually quite impossible.

–> The Crux of It

If we’re continually present we wouldn’t effectively plan future vacations, develop work projects that need to come to fruition at a later date, plan ahead for dinner, and much else in this vein. Or could we?

Perhaps “planning” initiatives too can become something of the moment if we intend to do it, and focus on the planning process. We’re then actually in the moment, planning for the future — right?

–> Avoiding Diversion

It’s challenging to maintain our focus on the present task and keep our brains from diverting. It takes effort to avoid allowing our minds to travel down the road of thinking about future happenings or worrisome situations ahead.

If we focus on the future too often, or in too much detail, we lose track of what’s before us. The experience and joy of those around us at the given time slips right from our hands.

In part, perhaps this is what it means to be discontinuous. While we might not be able to do something all of the time, because we’re human, we can do it much of the time. Most certainly, too, we can do it when it’s appropriate. Further we can remember how to do so.

–> He Knows This

I presume that the person to whom I was speaking with, about this, understands these elements in alignment with “the lesson.” It’s why he’s further along. Yet, the real task just lit-up for me at that precise moment.

–> The irony?

I stayed in the moment with him and received a message that I needed.

A Simple Start

How to decipher when and how to stay present? It’s a challenge. Yet, we can start simple. In fact I have.

Every day when I eat my dark chocolate bar I do so in the moment. Every little piece I savor slowly. The texture, it’s bitter sweet flavor and just the sheer enjoyment of the activity. I love dark chocolate and I’ve come to love those moments. In fact, I now look forward to it daily.

–> Win Big in the Bear of Life

Life is often a bear and can seem burdensome. Yet, I find that it only becomes this way when we allow it to. If we enjoy our present interactions and situations while simultaneously working to quiet nagging thoughts regarding future plans or responsibilities, we win big.

It’s mind over matter. A matter worth tending too. So I vow to continue this lesson in it’s discontinuous state. After all, there’s no time like the present.

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