I want to be present in my life, not dwelling on the past, not focusing on the future, but being fully alive in the present moment. It’s actually a contemplative discipline called mindfulness.
Mindfulness meditation is unique in that it is not directed toward getting us to be different from how we already are. Instead, it helps us become aware of what is already true moment by moment. We could say that it teaches us how to be unconditionally present; that is, it helps us be present with whatever is happening, no matter what it is.
When I am fully in the present moment, all my spiritual, emotional and physical strength is available to me to help me cope with whatever is going on in my life. I am fully engaged in my present, able to navigate whatever rough waters have come my way.
Mindfulness is “the intentional, accepting and non-judgmental focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment.” (Psychology Today) The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published the results of a ground-breaking study that found that meditation appears to provide as much relief from some anxiety and depression symptoms as antidepressants.
But back to my personal experience, I can attest to the fact that practicing mindfulness definitely minimizes the guilt of the past and the anxiety for the future. I no longer hold on to the anger and regret that marked my past. I no longer give much thought to the future, at least in being anxious and fearful of what the future might hold. In reality, the present is all I can handle, and doing that works for me.