How many times have you eaten a meal without really tasting it, or driven to work without noticing the journey? If, as Michele Rosenthal suggests, our subconscious mind runs 95% of our lives – wouldn’t it be great if we could be more aware of memory-making moments and not switch to automatic pilot so often? Living in the moment, the Zen Buddhist mantra, is something many of us aspire to achieve rather than constantly looking to the future and letting our lives pass us by in a whirl. As renowned spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle said; “Realise deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life.”
Is this possible to achieve? Isn’t it human nature to be always looking forward to the next high – especially this time of year, when the odd timid daffodil can’t really convince us that spring is on the way? According to Michele Rosenthal we can learn how to rewire our brains by using techniques like meditation. She suggests asking “What do I want?” throughout the day to help us to attune ourselves to our desires. It’s also good for our spiritual health too – mindfulness, or living in the moment is often credited as a method of finding happiness and preventing stress.
Despite the obvious benefits, can we really resist the temptation to plan ahead, and look into the future? Surely half the fun is in the anticipation – getting in shape for that snowboarding trip, or planning that capsule wardrobe for a big holiday? Jordan E Rosenfeld wrote in Spirituality Health that the human brain is especially evolved to anticipate. “When you’re looking forward to something, your brain releases feel-good hormones along your brain’s reward system, which helps to reinforce behaviours that are beneficial.” So not only are we biologically programmed to look forward to things but it also helps us keep focussed and out of trouble. It’s official, there’s no need to feel guilty for booking your next annual leave on the first day back into the office! Perhaps the trick is to try and do both – anticipate an event, but, when it comes, be mindful of the moment and make sure you fully experience it? So go on, book yourself a treat, check out our Lates in March and let us know how you get on!