From Eckhart Tolle to Joe Dispenza, from a traditional eastern monk to an acclaimed neuroscientist, all claim spiritual benefits of being in ‘the eternal now’. Studies on human behaviour have suggested that our brains are not trained to be mindful of the present moment. In fact, our minds are oscillating between past and future (real and imaginary).
It is not a secret that the world is seeing mindfulness retreats, even MBSR, or Mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy. Mindfulness in the present moment leads to channelling and centering our energies, and increase our focus on the task at hand. This task can be as rudimentary as brushing our teeth, a task our subconscious mind is trained to do without requiring attention.
However, can we train our minds to be in the present moment always? Yes and No. I struggle to be in the present moment all the time. I am used to that chatter in my head, which is making plans, conclusions and judgements and a lot of self talk (I hope that’s normal!). Several times I have be mindful about the present moment. I like to practice it very regular tasks like having a glass of water or even taking a shower.
I am sure there are people like me whose minds have been trained to multitask for a long time. It is very uncomfortable to break the pattern. To let go of that dopamine fix.
On the other hands, there are monks (apparently enlightened) who claim to be in the present moment all the time, and they preach about that in TED talks and Google Talks. I cannot validate the veracity of their claims, but I am somewhat assured that our minds are malleable in nature and can be trained to be in the present moment.
Whatever little experiments I have done of being mindful of the present moment (I must confess I tend to practice it more when I am a bit anxious or my mind is all over the place), it has helped me regain focus and think better.
See if it works for you! A small hack: Put timely reminders on your phone to remind you of being mindful of the present moment. It’s worth a try!