I rush through each day, rush through my shower, rush through each meal, rush through work, rush through “me time.” My mind is always on what’s next, not what I’m currently doing. Even the things I do for relaxation–playing the cello, reading, painting–are done with the next task in mind. It’s rare when my mind is actually quiet, simply observing the here and now.
My dog Bob, in contrast, while often in a rush, is always in the moment. His mind is always on snuggling, chasing that toy or squirrel or bird, eating, even napping. And I dare say he is always happy.
I know I should slow down and enjoy each moment, paying attention to the task at hand. Yet what I know and what I practice are distinct. It’s funny that babies instinctively know how to be in the moment, yet at some point we outgrow mindfulness and start focusing on the future. If someone were to study this, I’m willing to bet there would be a correlation between age (and hence, lack of mindfulness) and unhappiness.
Perhaps there’s a point in life when this phenomenon begins to reverse. As the end of life nears, we begin to focus more on the present (and even the past), finally understanding that it’s all we have.
My intention is to slow down and pay more attention to the here and now. I think I’ll start practicing as soon as I finish the dishes….