Looking through a prism of common knowledge it goes by default that savoring a moment in time is the recipe for enjoyment and fulfillment. And as a rule of thumb enjoying the moment translates into being focused, allowing yourself to enter into a state of mind that dictates full participation in what you do or experience.
Hence connecting with a moment in time is partially understood as detaching from the clutter which is present more often than not. Focusing on a given moment, we tend to find additional beauty in it, feel content for no apparent reason. It’s the element of focus that gives the huge satisfaction.
However, in neither set of cases does this require a yogi like focus or concentration. Enjoying the moment is merely a more stratified and robust way of explaining the concept of being content with what you already have.
How much do we actually enjoy the moment?
Enjoying the moment, if you would agree with me, currently exists as a purely intellectual concept. We advocate it, though lacking the real deal. As the dynamic of the common lifestyle changes, so does this concept of enjoying the moment.
If I’m asked why this post, I must say, in all honesty, that I started typing partially for myself. Never investing into developing of focus and trying to be in one moment at a time, I found myself, as the common phrase goes “easily distracted”.
What this means though is being unable to enjoy the moment even if you’ve waited for that particular one to happen. Not to mention everything in between. I hardly give a notice.
And as embarrassing as this may sound, knowing that I advocate personal growth and position myself as a self-improvement evangelist, the truth is that this is a general condition with most people. Striking really. We go planning for myriad of moments ahead, not being able to see the beauty in the one we are experiencing now. Thinking about it, it disrupts the whole idea of self-improvement. The stress must be put on being able to enjoy the moment and savor it completely.
Always thinking ahead distracts from enjoying the moment
Always preoccupying with what is about to come, we lose perception on what is already here. Looking down from a 20,000 ft. view this has definite merit in the way of being able to plan and improve, but sometimes that’s not enough.
Sometimes it’s just better to stop for a second, experience some clarity of mind and enjoy the moment. It changes the unilateral picture in which we see the world.
Now, I might spoil things for you by introducing you to a personal experience of mine, but bear with me for a moment.
Just days ago I went out with couple of friends of mine and was shocked to see that the first ten minutes were passing by and all we did was trying to connect to the Wi-Fi as to be able to post a status update. It suddenly clicked to me. We were as far from enjoying the moment as it can get.
And one of my friends, after all the checking in was done started planning about what should we do the next weekend. She was coming up with great ideas, road trip and something of the like, but the truth was that no matter how good the idea I somehow knew that it would still not be enough.
It occurred to me at this instance that without being able to enjoy the moment we can be really anywhere anytime and still not feel it. A rather sad conclusion, don’t you think? It’s all a pattern of thinking, a mindset if you will. Nothing is enough now simply because of the fact that there will always be something else to focus on.
And the thing is that nine out of ten people do the exact same thing. They concentrate on how things are going to be as opposed to how they are now.
You’ve probably seen it. Even if you throw a glance at Times Square at New Year’s Eve, you will see people filming the fireworks, watching it through a 3” screen. Some are tweeting about it. And out of the mass of people gathered there, it is really rare to find someone who is actually savoring the moment, enjoying it.
How to enjoy the moment and completely savor it?
It can be done in fact. And if you recognized yourself in some of the scenarios above, please feel free to blush. But truth is that we are all as guilty as the next guy when it comes to not enjoying the moment. This phenomenon is taking on at a rather global scale. Hence a change in mindset is needed.
There are few concepts, and after all techniques that may help us enjoy the moment and surrender to experiencing it completely. Some, I started doing and noticed the results right away. Mostly in the sense of finding things to be way more interesting and thought consuming once I pay more attention to them; more about that in the following passages.
Experiencing the “flow”
I’ve already talked about this one, but in an entirely different connotation. The “flow”, you see, is a concept that was developed by Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. In his work “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” he outlines his theory that people are happiest when they are in a state of flow – state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the given situation.
It is a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter.
In the interview on “Wired magazine“ Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi described flow as being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz.
He implies, and I noted the same things first hand, that activities including various compound movements and requiring somewhat of an increased attention are sure to increase one person’s capacity to experience flow, and that in succession invites more attention, focus and after all being able to enjoy the moment.
Activities that are known to increase one person’s capacity to experience flow are martial arts, yoga, meditation… Recently I’ve read some studies that suggest that even adrenaline oriented sports are likely to cause flow. I personally find recreational mountain biking to do the trick for me. Activities that also tend to favor the repetitive aspect of physical involvement are highly likely to cause flow as well. Think in the lines of running.
Yoga and meditation
These two deserve a separate category, if not even more attention. However, the time and effort that is required here is not even to be compared with the activities described in the previous section. The results are different by a huge margin too.
I recently started to get myself familiarized with the concept of meditating, and it is clear that the results take time but increase in volume as time passes by and you are more comfortable with the techniques.
Yoga on the other hand multiplies the effect since it’s not only the mind you are focusing on or breathing as a separate whole as well. It’s a compound experience where you give attention to the physical aspect of it too – something that always forces the focus even at the very beginning.
Using your senses more
As dull as this may sound it still holds some sense so bear with me. The effects are really both small as well as huge.
How come? Well, using your senses more as to experience the things around you indicate a tremendous change in mindset. You start to focus on the beauty and complexity of things surrounding you – a jewel all by itself.
The results are far by a long-shot when compared with trying to experience the flow or concepts like yoga and meditation, but since they indicate a change in mindset they are as promising as well. It has its own benefits at a number of levels.
So try and use your senses more as to pay attention on the things around you. It’s quite easy; all you have to do is not take that many things for granted. Before you drink your coffee, try and smell it or feel the hot temperature it is oozing through the cup. Sometimes even close your eyes and try to put the stress on feeling with touch.
And I know that this might sound like flowery prose and I might be mistaken by Miyagi, but it’s a simple concept really, just give it a try.
Excessive physical activity
Try swimming and tell me whether or not you focus more on the moment. And this is really the point. The more you learn how to detach from the clutter of thinking about tomorrow, the more you learn how to enjoy the moment.
If you look for activities that provoke this, you cannot go wrong with intense cardio, wherever you find it.
Also try team sports, since your attention will be definitely required in combination with demanding physical activity.
In future stay away from articles like this one
My intent was to share what I’ve learned, but statistically speaking whenever you give additional attention to analytically dissecting the moment you enjoy and try to describe it or even describe the stages and elements that lead to it; it loses overall potential for enjoyment.
The other key for you to enjoy every moment is to not focus directly on the concept of it.
Activities that cherish additional focus
Try and captivate yourself by the course of one activity and surrender completely. Go to life performances, regardless whether we are talking about theatre, opera, recitals, stand-up comedies. Those are intended to capture your attention, and usually quite successful at it.
Also, reading a book or listening to some music can be very engaging if you decide to.
Not to mention spending time with your significant other.
Forget multitasking for a second
Don’t let the music go in the background while you are working or doing couple of other things simultaneously. Try and enjoy things separately for a while as to have a picture of what is like.
This being said, turn off the cell or any notifications about work if you are not that much dependent on it. In western countries this is the number one reason for losing focus and not paying attention.
As you see there are many proven techniques, of course spiced with some of my personal experience I hope you will find valuable, that give you the practice and among other things knowledge on how to enjoy the moment.
We are getting more distracted by the day and the list doesn’t seem to come to an end. Planning the next enjoyable moment often times we forget to go through the one we are at now and this only leads to potential for fulfillment not being used in its entirety. There is a whole lot more to be enjoyed between the lines; we just have to learn how.
Think about it, how often do you allow yourself to enjoy the moment?
Image credit: By Lisa568.