Sunday, January 2, 2011

Living in the Moment - Being Present

I have been pondering my next whine for a couple of weeks now, and then this morning the fates aligned and there it was. I had been giving thought as to why many people seem to be clueless. Not dumb clueless, but more like unaware. Simple things such as being aware of what is happening around you, or noticing how your behavior affects others. Basic things like intuition, observation or even conversation.  These things seem lost these days. And what I mean by lost is that, I do not think many individuals would list awareness, intuition, observation and conversation on their list of life skills.
(Which is sad really.)  Why is that?  Because people do not live in the moment. People are not present.

What causes people to not live in the moment and to not be present?  Well....
When one is constantly checking their email. When one is texting during dinner, or constantly answering their cell phone whenever or wherever they are. If one spends 6-8 hours playing online games, or is on Facebook for hours. Or is connected and plugged into Twitter all day everyday.
How can one be aware? All one is aware of is the constant clamoring of electronic technology for your attention. If you are paying attention to that techo-clamoring then you are not "living in the moment". And "being present" is really one of the things that life is all about. (Yeah, really.)

Don't get me wrong I think technology is useful, but it is addicting. And if you are addicted (and most of us are) then one obsesses and forgets how simple and quiet life can be.  One can even discover time they never knew they had.

Which brings me to an article in today's San Jose Mercury News about teachers at Shoreline High School (in Seattle) who challenged their high school students to go without social networking for a week. No texting, No Facebook, no cell phones! You need to read the article. The results were interesting.  (A great idea by the way, and not one student went through withdrawals.)

The high school students found that they had a difficult time conversing on a regular house phone. Why? Because in their words " It's emotion, not just little lines" (of text).  Some of them discovered time to do things like help around the house with chores, or rediscovered things they liked to do again like walking their dog or shooting hoops.  Parents enjoyed actual conversations with their children. (This is what I'm taking about!)  It is the little things. Devoting your time to pursue something when you are focused on only one thing (and not constantly plugged in) makes for quality of life.

Being present and living in the moment allows for self reflection and observation. It allows for personal contact with others and it slows down time. (Ok, it slows down the perception of time) that in a way makes day to day living less stressful and makes interaction with others and the world more personal and satisfying.

If you are in need of a new year's resolution - give yourself time to "be in the present".
Resist the urge to answer your cell phone when you are in line at the grocery store.
Stop texting on the dinner table or while at the movies. And for pete's sake quit talking on your cell phone while driving. I want you to enjoy the moment. I want you to practice "being present" (but don't call me because I'll be busy posting on Facebook).


  1. Dear Whiner,

    My wife, "She"-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed, is sexually stimulated by simultaneously texting and making love. It's the best sex we've had in over 40 years of marriage, but I'm afraid "She" isn't living in the moment.

    What do you suggest?

    Padre Cohen

  2. Dear Padre -
    You are a very lucky man. Embrace it.
    And read those text messages - it bet they are pretty steamy!