Living in the moment has been a catchphrase in the West for well over a decade now. There are hundreds of books about being present. Meditation and mindfulness have entered our schools and corporations. This is all good, but how easily can we achieve that?
People have a lot of trouble settling into the present moment. It seems the mind is always scheming to get us out of it. Sometimes we can get fleeting glimpses of what it’s like, usually during extraordinary circumstances, or maybe during meditation. But during our regular everyday lives, our minds are racing around the past, the future, worries, plans, and gyrating emotions… basically everything except the present moment.
One life hack to make some headway on this is to approach everything with curiosity. A child does that naturally, but adults base their perspective on past experiences and conditioning. Our identification with our own personal history clouds our lens and distorts how the world shows up for us. Unless it’s a brand-new experience, we approach everything with a pre-conceived notion and a supposed knowing. Once we say, “I already know,” we are closed off to seeing something new.
To experience life anew, and to be fully present, we can cultivate curiosity. Even in the most mundane situations like sitting in traffic on the freeway or standing in the subway, we can be curious. No two moments of life are ever identical, and if we open our eyes to the unfoldment, we see just how magical each second of creation is. With curiosity, our awareness expands, and our minds and hearts open up. It breaks up the barriers that separate us, and the dogma that binds us.
Life is full of surprises if we open up to it. That means turning expectations into curiosity. To one who is living in presence, being bored with life is incomprehensible. They are full of wonder, and marveling at the stream of unfoldment. Their awareness is sharp, and they are able to perceive subtle flows. We can cultivate that level of perception too, but it begins with turning over a new leaf. No longer will we be satisfied with preconceptions and expectations. We want to see the new as it emerges, fresh. Reality is a world of infinite possibilities and potential.
When we show up with an assuming mind, that is a self-assertion into this moment, which takes away presence. Egoic assertions are a denial of our true self which is simply pure awareness. Curiosity is a way to short-circuit the ego and tap into that awareness.
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