There’s a lot of buzz around being ‘in the moment’ now. From the translations of ancient Eastern scriptures, to the tagline of present-day guru yoga-mums and self-proclaimed enlightened Instagrammers.
But what does it even mean to be in the moment? What is the moment? If it’s right now, then how can we not be in it? And if we really aren’t in it, what can we do about it?
When we talk about ‘the moment’ we tend to think this moment. This tick of the clock.
No, this one… or this one? It’s like it’s this fleeting thing, that we blink and miss. You might be better following your breath or something, too keep you grounded and in your body. In the moment.
Then your mind wanders, you wonder what you’re having for dinner, and just like that you’ve lost the moment. Slipped through your fingers, like you’re trying to catch water. Maybe we could think of time not as this thing that flows like traffic, but in the way water does.
Maybe it would be better just to not think of the moment as being related to time?
It just is. The water just is. Even when it appears to flow and move on, when it becomes a river or a stream, does it ever really go anywhere? The water is just there. It’s just the water. Like the stripes on a barber’s pole, moving away and going nowhere.
Thinking that we can be ‘not in the moment’ is like being in a pool and saying you’re out of the water when it changes. When the water that was around you has flowed, when the clock hand has ticked, you’re somehow out of it.
We fail to see the consistency. The thing that just is and can’t even necessarily be observed thanks it its isness. There’s no perceivable back and forth, front or back, except what we would use to measure it (say a clock) and so we fabricate this idea of it. Then we rush around like mad thinking it controls something. As if the sun comes because it’s 6am.
Even the idea that the sun comes up is a little egocentric. We’re all just floating around, singing our praises that we aren’t crashing in to each other.
But hats off to us all for making it this far.
This isn’t to say clocks are evil or useless. If it weren’t for clocks how would I ever meet you at some prearranged time? You could argue we go back to using the sun, but that’s no different from using clocks: we’re still slicing the whole spiral in to chunks. Measuring and counting it in to them. Planning our day by them. Useful in practice, but not essential.
My advice for being in the moment, then, if you must insist on needing advice (and so second-hand admitting you’re not in it) is to see that you’re in it. You are it. There’s nothing else going on. Enlightenment, boom, you’re welcome. It’s that easy.
From that grand scheme of things perspective, it is easy. We’re all timeless, we just exist in this eternal sense of now, all the same consciousness, growing and heaving together in this way and that.
Yet when I’ve burned my pizza, or missed a dentist appointment, or I’m late for work, I care a lot more about my time-keeping. It’s hard to beat our sense of it; our idea of time pervades so much of what we do. Yet we ought not allow it too much reign in our lives. Not to the point it stresses and disrupts us unnecessarily.
I feel like by developing your relationship with time, just like with money or responsibility, we flow that little bit better. We hit up against less, because we have that little bit more of an insight in to how the game works – how it all ticks (or doesn’t).