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Mindfulness: An Ancient Understanding Desperately Needed Today

By Cory Moloff, JCC Health & Wellness Staff Member

In the western world, society places a great deal of importance on what you accomplish and achieve. Our history books are filled with glorified tales of what revered heroes have done with their lives. In these books, you would never read about a person who sat and did nothing for days at a time.  The truth is, we can actually learn a lot from doing nothing.

As a society with so many commitments, time constraints, plans, and setbacks we place a lot of emphasis on the future. We don’t really get the chance to slow down and realize what a great day it is when we’re rushing to get to work, or racing around with events and errands. When we do get that much needed downtime, we can’t fully enjoy it because we’re too busy being stressed out about something that happened in the past or a hypothetical situation in the future. Very rarely, if ever, are we fully aware in the present moment.

The present moment is the only thing we really have. The future is the present waiting to happen and the past is the present that already has happened. You can only live and act in the present. We can get anxious when thinking about the future because we can’t deal with a situation that hasn’t happened yet. We can become upset when thinking about mistakes we’ve made in the past, but in doing so we miss the beauty that’s been right in front of us the whole time!

We can consciously decide what to do with our present moment. We might not be able to control external circumstances or what others do, but we can control our reactions. I am not saying that by living in the present you will feel amazing all the time and never experience a bad emotion ever again.  I will say that you can choose to only experience those emotions in the moment they happen. You don’t have to hold on to them. This will bring a deep, inner sense of peace and calm.

To learn more about mindfulness, come try my Intro to Meditation class on Tuesdays at 8pm, beginning Tuesday, August 1.

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