There is so much hype right now in the field of psychology about mindfulness and living in the moment. However, this form of transpersonal self-exploration has been around for hundreds of years and we are now beginning to explore it in mainstream western psychology.
How do we truly live in the moment? In a world that is pulling us in a thousand directions, placing high expectations on us, and pressuring us to maintain an image that is beyond living in the moment. Is this really the world doing this to us or is this us buying in? I am more individualistic in my point of view because it is more empowering to know you have the choice to change. People who are more systemic may be waiting for the world to change when really the world is a large group of individuals.
Ok I want to share my theory on how to live in the moment.
From a psychodynamic standpoint, we have two mechanisms in our psyche, the "thinker" and the "watcher". The watcher is a flowing stream of consciousness that is defines as our natural essence. The thinker is the mechanism that monitors what we are thinking. In my opinion, some people have an over-developed thinker and they are constantly monitoring or analyzing their thoughts. Constant self-monitoring may prevent someone from being in their true essence (living in the moment) because they are too caught up in their thoughts and less in their awareness or essence (gaps between your thoughts). Thoughts occur in the moment whereas analysis of thoughts occur afterwards. The watcher is always present and is never attached, it just sits back and observes the madness of the mind. This means that when you are watching you are in your true essence. The only mechanism that can be in the moment is the watcher because it is not reflecting on the past thought and it is always in the present moment.
How do I spend more time in the watcher?
We need to let go of the ridged beliefs we posses that ultimately lead us to feeling dissatisfied with life. When we have a thought enter our mind that we absolutely have no issues with, we just let it roll into time and space. We don't judge it, we don't try and change it, we just let it be. When we cannot let a thought be, it means we possess some belief that goes against our thought. Our thoughts are our beliefs in action. If you are finding yourself dissatisfied with your thoughts, you may want to take a look at your underlying beliefs. This will hopefully grant you more time in your essence and less in your pre-constructed notion of how your life should be.
How do I spend more time in the gaps between my thoughts?
Sit down, close your eyes, and relax for a bit by sinking right down into your breathing. After a minute or two, ask yourself a question: Does it take thinking to know that I exist?
See if you can sense the knowing-ness that You are, the ever-present am-ness that must be present even when everything else is happening. Let go of thought and move into being.
Now with eyes still closed and without trying to understand anything just rest as that knowing-ness, and let everything else be as it is and watch what unfolds.
Pretty crazy stuff!