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Being in the moment

Updated on October 7, 2010

To Be or Not To Be? Being in the moment

We are often told that ‘being in the moment’ is the way to be. There are endless books and Yoga magazines touting their own version of this premise, even the Style section of the Sunday Times has been known to espouse it. However, Susan Greenfield, the neuroscientist, gives the extreme example of teenagers constantly playing violent computer games, their brains don’t learn time and space frames of reference, so they are trapped in the moment and lack empathy.

So we need a balance. It’s important to be present in exchanges with friends, family, colleagues; important to be present in the tasks undertaken in our daily lives; and that we can pause long enough to notice the beauty of our natural surroundings at this glorious time of year. But as adults, plans have to be made for the future - from the mundane - such as what we’re going to eat tonight, to how we’re going to deal with a particular problem or grand design for the future. And in order to make mature, wise decisions, we need to reflect on the past and learn from it. The trouble is that the plans for the future and reflecting on the past can become a maelstrom of worry and busy-ness.

When we were very little we all knew how to be present and in the moment but as adults the ‘maelstrom’ can take over. By practising yoga we are reminding ourselves how to ‘be’. So I’m not beating myself up about not being in the ‘now’ all of the time. Nothing would get done; I would be a terrible yoga teacher; and in any case ‘the moment’ isn’t always pleasant. I’m just aiming to pause in the transitions from one job to another (reflecting and planning), rather than hurtling from one to another. What about you?


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