Life can be found only in the present moment.
The past is gone, the future is not yet here,
and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment,
we cannot be in touch with life.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Many times, as humans, we question our existence. Who am I? Why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing? Is this [that I am experiencing] all there really is? We may also question if we are truly living our life fully or are we simply existing and going through the motions on auto-pilot. Living an inspired life while being present in the moment involves a conscious practice of mindful living.
What is mindful living?
Mindful living or mindfulness involves being aware of or bringing attention to this moment in time, deliberately and without judging the experience. Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (Tik · N’yat · Hawn) is a spiritual leader, author, poet and peace activist, who is respected throughout the world for his powerful teachings on mindfulness and peace.
Among his many important teachings is that in order to heighten one’s awareness, it is essential to be mindful of all that is experienced in each and every moment.
He teaches that incorporating enhanced awareness into our daily life will ultimately enrich our lives. He states, “Through mindfulness, we can learn to live happily in the present moment, which is the only way to truly develop peace, both in one’s self and in the world.”
The Plum Village.org website talks about mindfulness as, “the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment. It is the continuous practice of touching life deeply in every moment of daily life. To be mindful is to be truly alive, present and at one with those around you and with what you are doing. We bring our body and mind into harmony while we wash the dishes, drive the car or take our morning shower.”
Mindfulness helps us to become present
Mindfulness helps us to become really present, so we respond wisely to a challenge and experience it in each moment as it unfolds. This involves consciously becoming present and choosing to live in the present moment.
The Universe operates on Divine time whereas humans function on the linear aspect of time with clocks and calendars. With this mindset, everything is happening accordingly and is as it should be in each and every moment.
Subsequently, mindful living requires us to focus our energy right here, right now in this moment rather than dwelling in the past or focusing on the future. We must intentionally focus on living, be-ing and breathing in the moment. In addition, manifesting our heart’s desire and Spirit communication is easier when we are consciously living in the present.
Activities to Assist with Practicing Mindful Living
Aspects of the art of mindful living include walking meditation, sitting meditation, eating meditation, total relaxation, working meditation and stopping, smiling, and breathing mindfully. Practicing mindfulness while folding clothes, washing dishes, mowing the yard, pulling weeds or any other task enables us to consciously be in the moment.
Whatever we do as a daily practice, we can do mindfully. We can choose to experience simple, routine tasks as if for the first time, while savoring the sensations and absorbing the details of the task we are focusing on, such as brushing our teeth, getting dressed, listening and talking, eating and drinking as well as driving.
We can also go for a mindful walk and notice every detail we encounter, such as the trees, flowers, people, cars, insects, birds, clouds, smells and sounds, rather than pondering and creating to-do lists or revisiting the day’s events.
As part of a consistent practice, we can choose to focus our awareness on one particular item. For example, when outside, look at one leaf on a tree, one stone, or one flower. We may also focus on one piece of art or decoration within a room when we are indoors.
Intentional Exercises to Experience Inspired Living
Breath is life-force energy. We are alive and breathe naturally and autonomously. When we restrict our breathing, we diminish our life energy.
Deep breathing expands the lungs, which then send a direct message to our heart, which, in turn, starts beating slower. One exercise involves focusing our awareness on our breath – each inhalation and exhalation. Then, become the observer of the breath. Is the breath shallow or deep, slow or fast, smooth or rough, regular or irregular? Notice how we can breathe consciously and then shift the energy of how we feel and what we are experiencing.
Being in the Now – Focus Energy in the Present Moment
According to Nobel Prize-winning scientist Daniel Kahneman, we each experience 20,000 individual moments in a waking day. Each of these moment can last a few seconds.
When considering any strong memory, what we perceive and label to be positive or negative, we’ll notice that the imagery in our mind is actually defined by our recollection of a precise point in time. In some cases, a single encounter can change our life forever.
Simply Be – Being Present Exercise
This exercise encourages us to focus our energy on being present and in the NOW at this very moment. We become the observer and are aware of our surroundings, yet we allow ourselves to simply BE. Through the practice of silence and meditation, we can experience attaining peace and gaining clarity to the questions we are seeking guidance on.
Keeping Energy Grounded and Cleared
To live an intentional, mindful life, we must also consciously choose to ground, center and protect our energy regularly. Grounding keeps us present, in the moment and completes the energy circuit. Visualizing our legs as tree roots and staying hydrated assists with grounding. Centering is finding that calm spot deep inside us that is eternal being-ness and taking some conscious breaths.
The intention of visualizing a white light or a bubble surrounding us will protect our energy after grounding and centering. Each one of us is having our own human life experience, so becoming aware of our energy emission is essential.
Clear and Balance our Chakras
Within our physical body, we have an energetic body. These spinning wheels of light, known as chakras, act as energy transformers. Seven main chakras – Root/Base, Sacral, Solar Plexus, Heart, Throat, Third Eye and Crown – are within our energetic body.
Clearing and balancing our chakras clears the energetic clutter and revitalizes our energy. To practice good energetic hygiene, we ought to clear the energetic field, known as the aura, surrounding our physical body as well.
Mindful Eating – Food Exercise
By noticing what we eat and drink, we can cultivate more gratitude for the food we ingest. This gives us a sense of well-being and peace, so that we no longer need to use food to fix our problems.
The mindful eating exercises involves focusing on one piece of food as we imagine that we have never seen anything like it before. We can hold it in the palm of our hand and notice the size, color, form, weight, shape and texture. In addition to making observations, we may be guided to smell and touch it as well. After taking note visually, we can then gently place the food in our mouth as we slowly chew it and really taste the food before swallowing it.
A few more suggestions
In closing, these exercises are just a few suggestions to work with for us to lead a more conscious and mindful life. Please practice discernment and know that there are many other methods, tips, tools and exercises available to assist with living an inspired life. The practice of mindful living and mindfulness provides us with an opportunity to shift our life exponentially from one of existence to living life more fully.
Shelly Wilson is an author, intuitive medium and conscious creator who is passionate about helping people wake up to their greatness. She supports others as they navigate their own journey into consciousness to experience aliveness.