Living in the Present Moment

Are you living your life on automatic pilot instead of living in the present moment? Are you rushing from one thing to another? Are you going from A to B and missing the journey? Are you going through life on automatic pilot? More and more, we are living our lives on automatic pilot instead of living in the present moment.

On automatic pilot, our minds are in the “doing mode” and we can easily get entangled in our thoughts. We can get stuck in rumination with self-critical and negative thoughts, which can lead to mood changes resulting in depression, anxiety and or unhappiness.

In a car, we can sometimes drive for miles “on automatic pilot,” without being aware of what we are doing. In the same way, we are not really aware of our experience in the present moment, for much of our lives. Just as we “drive on automatic pilot” we tend to “live on automatic pilot” much of the time. On automatic pilot, we are more likely to have our “buttons pressed” by events and then respond in our habitual unhelpful ways to the event.

Living in the moment

How can we step out of automatic pilot?

By paying attention to things as they are in the present moment, by engaging all our senses and noticing what we are experiencing at this moment. We pay attention in a particular way: non-judgmentally and with kindness and curiosity. We can step out of automatic pilot. We can transform our experience by intentionally paying attention to it in particular ways. By becoming more aware of our thoughts, feelings, and body sensations, from moment to moment, we give ourselves the possibility of greater freedom and choice; we do not have to go respond in our habitual ways that may have caused problems in the past.

Bringing a gentle awareness to an experience changes it. The experience might become more interesting or brand new. And it shows us how unaware we are of so much that we do during a typical day. The mind has its own agenda. On automatic pilot, old habits of mind set the agenda and can take us places we might not choose to go to.

3 Living in the present moment Tips:

1. Learn to pause and appreciate nature
2. Learn to pause and take 3 slow deep breaths
3. Learn to engage your senses fully when drinking your cup of tea or coffee

Recommended video “It is always Now” by Sam Harris.