‘We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.’ ~Bill Watterson
We all go through our lives almost on autopilot, our minds generally elsewhere, occupied with other thoughts as we float through the real world like ghosts.
We sit at a computer, have a coffee, eat a snack, use the bathroom, wash our hands, drive home … and barely notice anything about any of those activities.
This is called “being occupied”, and we do it all the time.
Instead, I suggest we practice occupying the current moment. Inhabit it, by really being in it, fully experiencing all our senses in everyday ordinary actions.
Whatever you’re doing right this moment is not an insignificant thing to be rushed through to get to the next thing. What you’re reading, where you’re sitting, the urination you’re going to do soon … these are not minor things.
They are everything.
As you wash a dish, instead of having your mind elsewhere, instead of rushing through it, give that task a little space. Be there, with that task. Feel how your body feels standing in front of the sink. See the water, the dish, the food residue you’re washing off. See the light in the kitchen, hear the sounds of the refrigerator and the passing cars outside, notice the spilled drops of coffee on the counter.
As you pee, don’t just think of it as something you’ve done thousands of times, to be taken for granted. Feel the sensation like it’s the first time. Be a child who has never noticed what the bubbles of pee look like in a toilet before. It’s a thing of wonder, a thing to behold with the same weight as we behold all of life, and sex, and death.
Imagine you have a month to live — what would each moment be worth to you then? Each bite would be one of your last. Each sip of coffee, each sunsoaked morning trip to the kitchen, each step on the grass, each conversation with the people you know and take for granted.
These are limited, and so valuable. They are precious and contain wonders.
Well, you might have more than a month to live (who knows for sure?), but your moments are still extremely limited. These are still valuable experiences, not to be taken for granted.
Practice this. Every action you take today, no matter how little … give it weight. Put some space around it. Start it intentionally, with the intention to be mindful, to inhabit that action fully, to notice with all your senses the entire moment. When the action is done, don’t just rush to the next one, but take half a second to appreciate what you just experienced. Then move to the next with equal weight and space.
If you don’t start treating this next action like it’s just as important as what’s coming later, you might never.
‘… stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.’ ~Leo Tolstoy