Have you seen the film Kung Fu Panda? At one point in the film the wise turtle Master Oogway, says to the Panda, “There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.”
I think that this saying beautifully underlines the importance of today. It is indeed very important to be present in the present. It is quite funny actually that we are not given any surety of how long we will live, no one can tell us the number of days, weeks, months or years that we have, but we spend most of our time either worrying about our future or our past. Either we engage in the question of what will happen or torment ourselves about what we did, completely forgetting that we can’t do anything about ‘what will be’ and ‘what has been’.
What we can and should do is live our life in the moment; enjoy this present that God has given us. Worrying brings in its wake stress, hampering our output, productivity and efficiency whereas concentrating on the present moment takes away the superficial and helps us focus on things that are important. Being aware of the present moment is called mindfulness. It is equivalent to achieving a meditative state of awareness where a person is most aware of him/herself. This has wonderful benefits both physical and mental. Here are a few that should help you decide to follow mindfulness and improve your life:
- Mindfulness helps relieve stress, improving your productivity
- Mindfulness can help you improve academically by helping you concentrate better
- It fights memory loss
- It reduces blood pressure
- It has been known to take care of gastrointestinal problems and chronic pains
- It helps you sleep better
- Mindfulness helps fight anxiety
- It helps fight depression
- It has been known to decrease the risk of heart diseases
- Mindfulness can help you regulate your emotions
Besides these health benefits, when you learn to look within and become aware of the moment you gradually become a better person. Mindfulness helps improve your listening skills and teaches you to be compassionate and kind to others.
Realising the moment or living in the moment makes you aware of your own potential. When this happens and you undertake a task, you are automatically able to give it more and perform better.
To be aware of the present moment is to bring all your scattered thoughts together in one place. Here are a few techniques to help you get started:
Breathe: Stand or sit in a relaxed position and simply breathe. Focus on inhalation and exhalation. Though your thoughts will begin to wander, let them be and return to experiencing your breath. Gradually you will realise the calming effect that this simple exercise has on you.
Observe: We see a lot of things around us but hardly observe anything at all. Select anything, such as a flower or an insect or maybe your pet, and watch it keenly for a couple of minutes. You don’t have to take notes about what you see or record how you feel. You have only to observe it as if you have seen it for the first time.
Listen: Select a new piece of music, put on your headphones and close your eyes. Allow yourself to become one with the rhythm and the melody. Don’t try to label it in a genre or rack your brain to figure out who might the composer be.Stop and take notice of things around you. Learn to appreciate the beauty with which you are surrounded.Readers, if you have questions send a mail to Aanandika Sood and she will certainly have a response for you.