How hard is it to live in the moment? How hard is it to be present? Do you want to know? I'll tell you.
It's pretty damn hard. I spend most of my time and my brainpower making plans for the future and inventing outcomes. I did a workshop with my acting students yesterday wherein we practiced being in the moment, taking the time to take things in, listening.
That's the key word: Listening. Ha. How often do I catch myself hearing a friend talk to me about his or her life while my mind jumps back and forth from what they are saying and what I'm going to to say in response. It must be incredibly difficult to be a therapist. To sit and listen for an hour while doing nothing more than ask "the right" questions (and, contrary to popular belief, if your therapist is talking to you more than asking you questions and repeating back to you what he or she is hearing, something's wrong). Do they have classes that require them to practice listening? I suppose we could all use a semester or two in one of those classes, if they do, in fact, exist.
Listening requires us to take things in, or being able to listen, I should say. I cannot react to or properly respond to the words of my friends, or even the goings on around me if I cannot take the time to absorb it all. I guess that means sitting still a lot. Clearing my mind (which is TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE...I think). My favorite word of advice from meditation practitioners is that the hardest part of meditation is not clearing your mind, but being gentle with yourself when you find it difficult to think of nothing. This says to me that the act of properly taking things in, properly listening is an endeavor that I must be able to forgive myself for failing (does it feel like I'm dancing awkwardly around my words? 'cause it totally feels that way).
Thus, living in the moment demands brave caution. Right? I account for my current state of being. Without forgetting what's behind, I walk away from the past, and without anticipating an outcome, I move forward from the present into the future.
Hi. It's been a while. I got caught up in a lot of living. Then I got caught up in learning how to live without. Now I'm back, taking stock of what I've lost and what I've gained. Count me in, please. Count me present in this particular moment.