“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called. – A.A. Milne, The House on Pooh Corner
The older you become, the faster the days and years seem to pass by. It is certainly a common opinion, or even just a plain fact. I think we could all agree that it seems like just yesterday we were trading Pokémon cards on the bus ride to school or rushing home to take care of our Furbies. We get busier, we have more things to do, more things to focus on and less focus to give. You could blame it on information overload, the numerous hours we have to work per week, or all of the social obligations we have to fulfill.
Our minds have become so overwhelmed, so busy, and so distracted.
Although it certainly appears that time somehow starts to speed up, believe it or not, it actually doesn’t. It was only more recently that I began to realize what made it seem like time was passing by faster the older I got. I came across an article about “being present” and how rare it was for us to actually be present in so many instances in our lives. We tend to go into autopilot mode so often throughout our day, because we may take the same way to work every day, we could practically do it with our eyes closed. We brush our teeth every morning without even thinking about what we are doing because it is like second nature, a task so simple that we are not paying any attention to even the movements that this act requires. After being intrigued by this being more “present” thing, I began looking up books to read so that I could get a better understanding of how I could become more present in my own life. To my surprise, the book I chose, Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness by Diana Winston and Susan Smalley, was almost entirely about meditation and mindfulness. I had heard of meditation, but what was mindfulness? And how could this one act that only takes anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes a day be the answer to what I felt was a pretty big problem consuming my life?
“Mindfulness is all about being in the present, in the here and now.”
I found that being present and mindful was the only way to actually enjoy something, to notice what is happening, to fully remember that moment and the sensations it brings. You can actually train yourself to become more aware and conscious of what is going on around you and how it affects you.
In this day and age meditation happens to be more important than ever.
I never thought much about meditation growing up. You hear about it, you might have even tried it once and then never returned to it because the five minutes you dedicated to trying it out did nothing for you. But the incredible amount of benefits that come from setting aside a small amount of time each day, or just each week, is so immense that you could quite easily be considered silly to not meditate. And the nice thing about meditation is that there are no rules, no guidelines. It differs for everyone when it comes to how long you meditate for, whether you sit in a chair or on the floor, or even lay down while doing so.
Meditation is not as easy as I thought it would be. When you have never practiced it before, you think it sounds like such an easy act. It takes some patience and practice to fully understand it, to the point where you may finally begin to see results, but don’t be discouraged. When your mind wanders, don’t assume you are “bad” at meditation, this is normal. Just bring your mind back, quiet it, and continue. It is a great journey that creates a peace of mind while adding many benefits. Through my personal experience, staying as aware of sensations as you can be my best advice. But as I have said, there are no rules, so, relax.
Why wouldn’t someone set aside a few minutes a day to improve their happiness, their stress levels, their memory, and even their sleep quality?
We must create sacred time for ourselves. With everything going on in the world, a moment of silence to regroup now and then would only make sense.
We have to take care of ourselves before taking care of everything and everyone else around us, because if we are not healthy and happy, physically and emotionally, of what use are we really?