I have a question for you. When was the last time you felt joy doing something? Or savoring something delicious? It’s probably not that hard to recall a few since those feelings of pleasure are so memorable.
Now, can you point what do these have in common? —besides being moments of joy?
That might be a bit more difficult, and the reason why is because, for most of us —us included—, the act of being present doesn’t even register on our radar. We tend to attribute the joy of the moment to whatever we are doing or consuming, but we rarely are aware that we are being, well, extra aware.
The mind gets confused since we are constantly overwhelmed with thoughts, emotions, memories, perceptions, sensations; Which all take bandwidth in our consciousness, thus crippling our ability to be in the moment.
In its constant pursuit of optimization, the mind then proceeds to associate joy with an object or thing. Thus, setting us for the continuous search of that thing that we believed made us happy.
The aroma of plants, the texture of desserts, the warmth of a hug, all the things that bring joy and happiness to your life require us to be present and fully engage with them. And this is especially true for athletes and artists. For them, the world completely vanishes when focused on the moment; It’s just them and the craft. And those moments are pure bliss.
This behavior is not new. For decades, we have known that athletes enter this mental state they call “being in the zone” —heard of it?. It’s known to be why some have achieved incredible feats in their sports or create masterpieces of art.
Now, I am not saying that you were in the zone last night when you enjoyed that cake —maybe you were?— but being in that state is just an enhanced version of being present.
What we want to say is that being present, focused, and aware of where you are, who you are with, and what you are doing might help you find more joy in your everyday. I know that for some of us, life has gotten dull, mundane, and unenjoyable. Yet, we are so lucky to be alive, healthy, and enjoying many privileges that others don’t have.
Lost Time Travelers
We are not here, in the now. Instead, we are time travelers, lost in the past or the future, constantly ruminating about past regrets or yearning for the desired outcome; Looking for a mythical “Object of Happiness.” But alas, this object does not exist in the past or the future. It is not lost or somewhere we are yet to be. It’s in the now, here with you. It has always been with you and will always be with you. It is your present, and you have to be aware of it to enjoy it.
Being consciously present has been the most reliable source of joy and happiness in our lives and has done wonders in our relationship and mental health. As a couple, we have agreed to enjoy the moments we share and help each other whenever we are not aware and present.
We hope that this encourages you to be more present with your loved ones and with yourself. Of course, exercising awareness will not be easy or change your life overnight, but it will undoubtedly help you be in your best capacity to do something about it and savor every day as it comes.
Stay safe; stay well.
Cover photo by RODRIGO GONZALEZ on Unsplash