Valuing the Present Moment
Valuing the Present Moment
“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time–past and future–the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
On any given day, how many times would you say you check your Facebook newsfeed? How about twitter? The 24-hour news cycle?
How many photos do you take and share? How many times do you find yourself thinking, “Would that make a good status update?” And how many hours would you say you spend staring at a screen, responding to texts or playing games, not at all present or involved in what is happening around you?
It is the curse of our generation. All this connectivity has us, ironically, disconnecting. Which is a shame really, because there is so much going on in the world around us to interact with and enjoy.
We have somehow gotten it into our heads that we have to document every moment. That if we don’t take a picture and share it online, it never happened. But what would it look like if you committed yourself to at least one day every week, or a few hours every day, where you gave yourself permission to step back from that world? To go on a hike and leave the camera behind. To turn your phone off as you visit with friends. To only check your e-mails twice a day – trusting that most people are perfectly capable of waiting a few hours, or even an entire day, before hearing back from you.
Gasp. The terror!
All of these technological advancements have greatly benefited us in so many ways, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t without their drawbacks. We have become so focused on our “selfies”, that we have started to forget the power of true human connection. Of actually enjoying the now, without concern for the past or future.
So I would love to issue a challenge to all of you. Why not rid yourself of that way of thinking, at least for a little while? Give yourself permission to disconnect from your screens and to reconnect with the world you live in. Take your kids to the beach without technological distractions. Sit down and have a conversation with an old friend; the kind where you maintain eye contact and don’t check your phones every 10 minutes, fearful that you may have missed something. Resist the urge to document every moment and instead – simply live those moments. Love them. Laugh through them.
And remember what it is like to truly live in the present.
There is value in embracing those moments for what they are and should be; opportunities to be better versions of ourselves. And to genuinely connect with those around us.
Does that mean denouncing your technology and social networks completely? No. If you can live your life completely disconnected from those distractions, then all power to you – that’s amazing! But for most of us, these advancements do serve a purpose and are able to benefit us in a lot of ways. Still, there should be balance in everything we do. And there is plenty to be gained from consciously reconnecting with the present on a semi-regular basis.
So come up with a plan to disconnect, be it 10 minutes or full days, and then allow yourself to experience the world around you in the now. Uninterrupted. Unencumbered. And undeterred.
I promise, those phone calls and texts will still be waiting for you the next time you power up your screens. But the moments you may have missed (your new baby staring into your eyes perhaps?) if you never put them down? Well, those can’t ever be reproduced.