I am about to write a guide now for meditation, something which I said yesterday everybody can do at any time! Sounds funny, right? But as I am convinced that thoughtlessness is not the right aim and that meditation is not something you do to achieve the nearly impossible either, there might be some people wondering how to actually get to ‘being completely in the moment’.
Again, thoughtlessness is in my belief not possible, so there is no point in trying to get there. What you need to do in order to be completely in the moment however is to blend out the noise of your surroundings. You have to reduce the amount of input that you accept and process in your mind in that very moment. Narrow it down to only one action, whatever you are doing in that moment. The only thoughts that you have will be related to that activity. You won’t even be aware of those thoughts because they don’t disturb, they blend in directly with what you are doing, boosting your concentration, creativity and your well-being!
Do you have difficulties with that? I am not surprised because it is the opposite what most people are doing in today’s busy life. They are multitasking all the time! Taking in information from different channels and for different issues is important, the ability to process all of this input at the same time is highly valued and the more active your brain can be in different areas at the same time, the better you are. The reality is however that it takes the possibility from you to be completely in the present moment! If you feel you need some practice in that, here is an exercise which I have successfully used in workshops and seminars all over the world:
Take, pen and paper as well as an alarm clock and set the alarm on three minutes from the present moment. Now note down every thought in keywords that comes in your mind on that paper. Don’t reflect about how many that should be and don’t make full sentences, just note the main cue with which you will probably remember the thought later on. Stop when the three minutes are over.
Looking at your list, you will probably find that you have quite a lot of thoughts! A lot of them will also seem fully unimportant and your list may look like this: partner, children, nice weekend, tomato ketchup stains, work, need dishwasher soap, project still pending!, so much laundry to do, shopping, neighbour’s cat, money, ouch – a mosquito! …
Now cross out everything that is not important and keep only ten topics to think about. Repeat the game and concentrate only on these – don’t allow your mind to stray anywhere else. Did it work out? Now cross out five more and concentrate on the remaining five. Repeat it until you have only one topic left to think about! Then you are fully in the moment, aware of exactly this one topic.
Of course you will most probably do this exercise while sitting in a peaceful environment, something that I said is not necessary for meditation. Once you have practiced in this way however to prohibit distracting thoughts while doing nothing else, you can practice doing the same thing while you are cooking, while you are taking a walk or while you are talking to a friend. Don’t let your mind think of the dishwasher soap while you are reading a book. And don’t think of that book while you are shopping for that soap! Make sure that when you read, you are reading with awareness in that moment – the book will be much more enjoyable! And while you are shopping, be aware of what you are buying – it will save you another trip because of forgetting something and you won’t experience it as an annoying duty anymore! It will be enjoyable because it fully occupies your mind in that moment!
Try, you will notice that it works very well. This way of meditation makes the passing time more valuable, you will experience the moment and will find out how deep you can go into one activity, whatever it may be!