Sometimes I have clients ask me if staying in the present moment means we won’t have any motivation to actually plan and accomplish anything. We will inevitably have thoughts of the past and future and there is nothing wrong with finding those thoughts enjoyable. Planning for a future is necessary unless you're a monk living in a cave. Having dates on the calendar, projects to complete and vacations to take is part of our life experience. Looking forward to things that we’re planning to do can be a source of happiness and enjoyment. If you’re going to take a vacation with your friends, it makes sense to put it on the calendar early and plan for it and derive whatever pleasure you can in the planning and looking forward to it. Where mindfulness comes in is in the moments in life where there is no reason to think about the future or the past, especially if it involves worry and regret.
Mindfulness practices help us check in with ourselves and ask ourselves how we feel in the present. What happens when these plans you were looking forward to don’t happen, your flight gets cancelled or your vacation completely derails? How does your mind react then? How quickly do you notice and how quickly do you recover? When you get angry and the toxicity of your anger leaks out into the world and affects others, how long does it take you to laugh at yourself and be restored? These are the functions of a mindfulness practice. My favorite app at the moment is Waking Up. It has a 28-day meditation instruction that has you commit to just 10 minutes per day. At the end of it you’ll have a good idea of what it means to have a meditation practice. And it’s free for the first month so try it out!
I write about human behavior, meditation, body awareness, and a variety of other things that pique my interest.