The Time is Now
When listening to a Jon Kabat Zinn short guided mediation recently he started by saying to his audience that ‘the time is now’ rather than quoting a traditional clock time. I have heard this phrase before but the timing of his message resonated more strongly with me this time. I find you may hear things at multiple times in life and when it’s the right moment for you you’re more likely to take it on board.
We’d recently had a trip to emergency with our toddler Ethan who had a bad bout of croup. Whilst nothing serious long term, in that moment seeing him with a mask on getting some adrenaline to help open the airways was a real perspective check and a reminder to appreciate each moment we have with our loved ones. I explored this in a post a couple of years ago sharing another piece of Jon’s Wisdom, ‘We only have moments to live.’.
On this theme, I had the privilege to attend an evening with Buddhist Monk ‘Lamar Tender’ late last year. Here he shared how he makes a conscious effort to wake up every morning smiling, grateful for being alive, acknowledging those who have passed away across the globe the night before. I reflected, every time we see a natural wonder like a sunrise or sunset how can we be there in that very moment and take in the natural spendour?
I’m currently reading ‘The Miracle of Mindfulness’ by Thich Nhat Hanh (which I highly recommend) where he shares lots of wisdom including a fable with the teaching that ‘the most important person is the one with you right now.’
With our immediate family overseas, I pondered what does this mean for missing people you’re not with? Whilst this is a natural feeling with those you love, I think making a real effort to be present with those we are with in each moment can help us enjoy more of life. This can be face to face or virtually. Whether it be the local shop keeper, the postman, a colleague, a dear family member on skype, the person you’re with in that moment is the most important as they’re there with you now. We never know what the future holds and they deserve our focused attention.
You may be able to think of people who have gravitas and a mindful presence, when you’re with them you feel like they’re really there with you in the moment, respecting you as a person and not distracted by other thoughts of the past or future.
I find this hard when you’re in the company of friends with a toddler around as they need your focused attention and it’s hard to split this. I’ve learnt it’s wise to make some time to have quality focused one on one attention time as well as group interactions.
So how can we embrace Jon’s ‘the time is now’ message? Here are a handful of tips I try and utilise to live in the present:
- Feel your bare feet on the earth, I find this helps ground me and be in the moment as well as strengthening the feet!
- Tune into your breath acknowledging the rise and fall of your belly, I find this one of the best ways to get back into the present moment.
- Watch a young child’s interaction with the world. Observing Ethan’s natural mindfulness in the moment helps me appreciate nature, whether that be really looking at the trees or listening to the birds. Petra King talks about this being our first nature before second nature habits kick in.
- Use guided meditations to help with anchoring – A couple of my current favorites: Andrew Johnson – Power Nap (30 minutes) Jon Kabat Zinn spoken by Shane Wilson – Mountain Meditation (16 minutes).
- Practice deep listening with the person you’re with – Being attentive with your listening and not planning what you’re going to say next can help you really listen to the meaning behind the words and connect at a deeper level.
Thanks for your attention reading this, you may ask now, what time is it? The time is now…..