Experience the present and find the key to contentment

‘Being present’ is a constant theme in many Eastern philosophies, and with good reason. Have you ever noticed that unhappiness actually arises from your memory of past experiences, or from the imaginings about your as-yet-undetermined future?

If we can manage to stop – to pinpoint our awareness on fully experiencing this exact moment in time – we’re more than likely to find that there is no unhappiness, just as there is no happiness: we simply are.

From this point of view we can see how all our perceptions about life are due to the perspective imposed by the mind. If we can change the perspective of the mind we must therefore be able to change the emotions and beliefs we have about our life.

One effective way to do this is by focusing on our breath. Breathing is happening every second of our life; it carries us from our past and into our future. And though we rarely pay attention to it, we wouldn’t be here and alive if we weren’t breathing, so most importantly it is about our present.

Focusing our attention on watching the breath is a simple tool that helps us to live in the present rather than concerning ourselves with events from the past or those that may or may not come to pass.

Here’s a simple practice to try: begin to witness your breath throughout the day. Every time you are about to begin a new task, take a couple of minutes, even just 30 seconds, to watch the breath. When you arrive in the office, as you grab a coffee, before you get on the train to go home, when you’re standing on the doorstep before you push the door open.

Stop, focus on your breath, and then go ahead with that next action. Try it and see what happens.

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