Pay attention or listen up! We all know the meaning: focus on the present. Parents will get down to a child’s eye level and say, “Now focus on what I’m telling you.” The musician’s full attention is on the notes he’s playing, and the basketball coach is instantly aware of all player positions for maximum offense and defense. Living in the present stimulates life instead of wasting time on the past or the future. This ability to live and focus in the present can be cultivated, and how it’s accomplished has quite a bit to do with health.
However, learning to live in the moment is more than just filling the mind with something useful. The process of going from frustration and confusion to harmony and satisfaction is life changing. This life-changing process starts with a yearning for a mindset that is higher and richer and can be stimulated through prayer. This is what washes away those dark moments created by what can be a jumble of past experiences and future possibilities.
It is dealing with dark moments that can seem so confusing. How do you climb out of the pit of despair or overcome a sense of “stalling out?”
I experienced this confusing sense of the past, present, and future when my career seemed to be on hold. After reaching the pinnacle in my profession and being honored by the President of the United States, I found myself unemployed. I was praying and focusing on the qualities of humility and gratitude to know the next step in my profession, but no matter how hard I prayed, I felt a sense of darkness tied to the worry of “what if?”
After a few months of praying with no results, I began to reach out to find a moment by moment purpose to life. One day I was reading and I came across an article by Mary Baker Eddy, health researcher and advocate for living in the present, who wrote,” A great amount of time is consumed in talking nothing, doing nothing, and indecision as to what one should do. If one would be successful in the future, let him make the most of the present.” Taking this idea to heart, I volunteered at a local high school to tutor a student who needed some support. There were many groups that needed consulting help and gradually, the dark storm clouds of failure began to clear. Now I found myself enjoying being helpful and serving others. Living each moment just looking for ways to bless others, I was able to develop a healthier mental and physical outlook on life.
During times of change when a new focus is taking place, life can be messy. But these times can be turning points. I’ve found – not just in quiet times but during active prayer – an increased receptivity to a divine influence. This reminder in Psalms is so helpful: “Be still, and know that I am God.” Expressing God’s qualities, the parent helps the child focus on divine qualities of joy and being carefree, the musician immerses in music that many feel is a divine expression, the coach and players express divine coordination and rhythm, and I was led to divinely inspired employment of serving others. I found that it’s important to never marginalize the power of prayer. It led me out of an unhealthy time in my life.
Looking back on this time in my life, I can see that this was a time of renewal. Purging self-centered thoughts and gaining harmony, joy, and selflessness – all health-giving qualities – I found a higher life purpose by living in the moment.
photo © GLOW IMAGES Model used for illustrative purposes
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