The GiftSep 27, 2023
As cliché as it may seem, I still remember the a-ha moment when my 13-year-old self read this for the first time, probably on a mug at the local Hallmark store:
Yesterday is history,
Tomorrow is a mystery,
Today is a gift,
That’s why they call it the present.
Of course! It made perfect sense.
As a young person, I never thought much about the value of living in the moment. I’m certain I’m not the only one who discovered later in life what Eastern traditions have taught for centuries: that the present moment is our most precious asset.
When we’re caught up in worrying about an imagined future, or stuck in regrets or nostalgia for the past, we miss out on the only place where life actually happens – the here and now.
Fortunately, Western culture is coming around. The mainstreaming of mindfulness means that more of us recognize the importance of focusing on the present moment.
Yet, anyone who has ever tried it knows that taming a restless mind can be tough!
There exists a wealth of brilliant teachings and effective techniques for cultivating mindfulness. Still, like any practice, it takes dedication and effort.
This is why it’s so important to acknowledge the benefits of mindfulness and how it enriches our lives.
What happens when you genuinely pay attention to the sensations of your body, the rhythm of your breath, and the awareness of what’s happening around and within you - and here’s the crucial part - without judgement or reaction?
You may experience a subtle shift, a heightened sensitivity that enables you to perceive your mental state and current circumstances more acutely, even those that are challenging or painful.
Perhaps you feel more connected to yourself and others. Maybe your attention becomes sharper, less susceptible to distractions.
You might tap into feelings of appreciation, gratitude, and contentment for your life, or glimpse the extraordinary nature of being alive on planet earth at this very moment.
In the most expanded sense, establishing ourselves in the present moment attunes us to the wonder and preciousness of our time here. It opens us to the richness of what each moment offers.
In all of these ways, the gifts of mindfulness enable us to feel more fully alive. It’s a courageous and rewarding way to live.