A few days ago I was watching tv, answering text messages and chatting with the family whilst eating an icecream. The strange thing is that as I finished what should have been a really yummy treat I realised I hadn’t actually tasted or enjoyed what I was eating at all.
I had been so preoccupied with everything going on around me I hadn’t taken a few moments to enjoy what I was consuming at all. I barely remember eating my ice cream, (even though I’d consumed the calories) because even though I’d been physically in the room I’d not really been present.
The idea of being present is to be conscious of life as it happens and to cultivate mindfulness of who and where we are in the moment. The truth is that we can become so focused on our goals and the day to day tasks we are involved in that we can easily forget to enjoy our “now moments”. Life isn’t just about the destination, but also about the joy to be found in the journey.
Being present is an important way to enjoy life to the fullest because when we are mindful, we invariably enjoy our food, friends, family, work and anything we’re doing more.
What’s more if we practice not just being more mindful of our present surroundings but also become more mindful of God’s presence, then even the mundane things can be times of experiencing His supernatural presence in a tangible way. Try it next time you are driving or cooking and choose to remain fully present and mindful of God’s presence all around you. It takes practice, but when we slow down and think and focus on Him, even the mundane can become special.
Brother Lawrence who sought to stay aware of God’s presence continually said, “We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed….Lift up your heart to Him during your meals and in company; the least little remembrance will always be the most pleasing to Him. One need not cry out very loudly; He is nearer to us than we think.”
(Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God)
Here are some ways on “How To Be Present” and to enjoy the journey more.
1. Do tasks thoughtfully and deliberately: Make your actions deliberate, not rushed and random. It’s better for your health and will make you a calmer person to be around.
2. Do less: If you do less, you”ll complete what you are doing with more concentration and therefore more proficiently.
3. Put space between tasks: Instead of rushing from one task to the next, give yourself some time between tasks so you can catch your breath and gather your thoughts.
4. Spend at least 5 minutes each day doing nothing: Simply stop and rest. Don’t cram too much into one day. It just leads to stress.
5. Stop worrying about the future: Cast all your cares upon Jesus. Look to be engaged in life right now. We only get today once, so make sure you enjoy it while it lasts.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
6. When you’re talking to someone, be present: Slow down your racing thoughts, look at those who are speaking to you; put away the phone, other distractions and really listen.
7. Eat slowly and savor your food: Enjoy each bite. You’ll probably end up eating less, will compliment the cook more (which is always a good thing), and will digest your food better.
8. Live slowly and savor your life: Your life is a gift so enjoy it as much as you can. Just as you would savor your food by eating it more slowly, do everything this way; slow down and embrace each and every moment.
9. Listen and look around you at the sights and sounds. Imagine how you would behave if you were a tourist in an amazing foreign place. Practice being a tourist where you live; you might be amazed at what’s been right in front of you all along.
Prayer: Lord please help me to live in the present more and to not take today for granted. I want to live without regrets and be fully engaged, alert and enthusiastic in this present moment, because today is a gift. In Jesus name Amen.