How Living in the Here & Now Is Truly Living

Keith KettenringChristian Living, The Uncommon Journey

After I wrote the previous post, I read a chapter from the NY Times Best Seller, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. It fit so well with what I’d written that I thought I’d share it with you.

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In his chapter on Focus, he wrote this and then told a story.

It is mind-bending to consider that in practical terms we only ever have now. We can’t control the future in a literal sense, just the now. Of course, we learn from the past and can imagine the future. Yet only in the here and now can we actually execute on the things that really matter. (p. 217)

Recently Anna and I met for lunch in the middle of a busy workday. Usually when we meet for lunch we’re so busy catching each other up on the events of the mornings or planning the activities for the evening that we forget to enjoy the act of having lunch together in the here and now. So this time, as the food arrived, Anna suggested an experiment: we should focus only on the moment. No rehashing our morning meetings, no talking about who would pick up the children from karate or what we’d cook for dinner that night. We should eat slowly and deliberately, fully focused on the present. I was totally game for it. 

As I slowly took my first bite something happened. I noticed my breathing. Then without conscious intent I found it slowing. Suddenly, time itself felt as if it was moving slower. Instead of feeling as if my body was in one place and my mind was in five other places, I felt as though both my mind and my body were fully there. 

The sensation stayed with me into the afternoon, where I noticed another change. Instead of being interrupted by distracting thoughts, I was able to give my full concentration to my work. Because I was calm and present on the tasks at hand, each one flowed naturally. Instead of my usual state of having my mental energies split and scattered across many competing subjects, my state was one of being focused on the subject that was most important in the present. Getting my work done not only became more effortless but actually gave me joy. In this case, what was good for the mind was also good for the soul. (pp. 218-219)

It is important that you learn to live in the here and now since that is where God is. To be where God is brings life and joy to you. Life and joy in you brings life and joy to others.

To live in the here and now is to live in your heart with a quiet mind. It is to enter the depths of the heart where God dwells. This does not happen automatically. It begins by regularly entering solitude – a place of quiet waiting for you. There in that quiet place you come to know God (Psalm 46.10).

Dr. K