Meditation is a tremendous way to exercise your mind and body in a fun and challenging way. The longer you practice meditation, the better you’ll feel about your ability to live your life in the moment. This has great potential to increase your confidence and self-esteem. Mindfulness practice can be a great daily de-stressor, so that you can live with presence of mind and enjoy every moment. It doesn’t matter whether you are a businessperson with a busy life and an ambitious career or if you’re a young adult that needs help with self-discipline. The path to a meaningful life begins in the present moment.
First, you need to realize the fact that you can only focus on one thing at a time. Since we were young children we were taught to believe that we can fill our minds with many tasks and do multiple things at once. That may be true in some situations, but in order to practice real mindfulness we have to slow down and focus on one thing at a time. By slowing down your mental process during meditation, you’ll notice that your breathing is happening on it’s own, with or without your conscious attention. When you concentrate on deep breathing, you’ll notice the rhythm of your body’s inhalation and exhalation process.
After we learn how to focus on our breathing, the next step in becoming more present is to let go of your thoughts. The present moment is always available to you, and your breath is the ongoing action that keeps you anchored to the present. Simply notice your thoughts and feelings as they come and go without clinging to them. Sometimes, you may feel like you are pulled away from the present moment because the thoughts inside your mind are chaotic and running out-of-control. The Aikido approach to calm an active mind is to let the thoughts come and go just like the waves rolling in and out on the beach.
Once you put these basics of meditation to practice, make an effort in your life to discover activities that you love doing. It’s easy to be in the moment when you’re doing something you enjoy. When you are able to be yourself in the present moment, you become more and more optimistic and goal-oriented. A goal gives you a sense of purpose in life, and life becomes meaningful if you have a sense of purpose. Life may knock you down from time to time, but if you put your mind to it you can achieve anything.
The only way you can live your life in the present moment is to enjoy it. You can try to force yourself all you want, but it won’t work that way. For example, when you practice a new skill that you are unfamiliar with in your Aikido training, you don’t want to try to force your muscles to throw the person. If someone attacks you, you want to move in an effective way that maximizes your counterattack… minimum effort, maximum effect.
If you are calm and enjoying yourself, it will be much easier for you to be in the present moment and learn something. The best way to grow is to step out into the unknown and see what we can do once we get there. When we get lost in our thoughts about the past and the future, the mind can be so self-critical that we forget about the good things happening in our lives. Instead we should remember that the present moment is a bottomless treasure that can always teach us new ways to deal with the problems that we face in our lives.