About a year ago when I started working for a private practice I saw a picture on the wall that said:
If we are living in the past we are living in depression
If we are living in the future we are living in anxiety
If we are living in the present we are living at peace
Of course this is a popular piece of wisdom from Lao Tzu. And how beautifully simple is this message. When I read this it was an amazing reminder for me to stay present.
Often I strive to stay present and yet the key word here is ‘try’. Why do we have to try so hard to stay present?
Well one answer may be that our subconscious mind is constantly playing tapes that keep reminding us of our past, and based on our past warning us of mistakes we might make in our future. The key in this last sentence is ‘subconscious’. It’s not like we call upon our subconscious consciously to keep us enslaved to our past and future. It happens without us even thinking.
Being present, on the other hand, does require us to engage our conscious mind. It requires us to stop listening to the tapes and create new lived experience in the moment. Wow, now that takes effort.
Guess what. Mindfulness is so important because that is where life is actually living. It is where we are actually living. How amazing to find tips and tools to use to connect with this living.
I’m always trying to find new tools to do just this. I use ritual, poems, coloring, collaging, singing, writing, journaling, and meditating to come to the present intentionally. Sometimes I’m good at it, and other times I can’t get my subconscious to be quiet. It’s a journey, I wonder if at any point it will start to become second nature. My understanding of our mind tells me probably not, but well practice certainly can’t hurt.
So I say let’s practice. I invite you to practice the art of mindfulness and give yourself the gift of peace in the present moment. Sing, dance, write, breathe….live!