As a Buddhist (or an aspiring one), I read a lot about just sitting in the moment and enjoying the action, however small, that you're participating in. If you're eating, thoroughly enjoy every bite. If you're cooking, focus simply on the action of chopping the vegetables. If you're waiting at the bus stop or sitting in traffic, take pleasure in the fact there's literally nothing else to do at the moment, rather than hoping for the bus to come quickly or the traffic to speed up. While I truly wish that I felt the ability to have this inner calm and contentment with every moment, my brain has trouble with it in practice. First off, I get bored. I want something else to actually do. Secondly, if I try to overpower this urge, my brain takes over and my thoughts race. As I sat eating my sandwich and playing Words With Friends, my brain got the idea for this blog and I started writing it in my head. Even doing two things at once didn't slow down my brain's desire to take on another task.
It's very difficult, in our go-go-go world with everything at our fingertips and every task due yesterday, to just simply sit, or eat, or listen to music, or watch the snow fall, or any other solitary and quiet task. And yet, how many times do you get somewhere and not remember the drive, or look back over your very busy day and not even be able to specifically say what you were doing that made it so busy? Ever find yourself part way through a phone conversation with a friend and realize you have no idea what the conversation is about because you've been checking email or sports scores? Embarrassingly I know I have - which is not fair at all to the friend. And I can't tell the number of times I've said "wow it's already xyz month? Where has the year gone?!". If I wanted to be truthful with myself, I'd have to acknowledge that I don't know where it went because I wasn't really paying attention.
So I'm making a goal to try to fight my urge to quadruple-task every single moment, and force myself to slow down. I'm a realist, so I don't expect to savor every single bite of food or relish sitting in traffic. But I want to make a concerted effort to focus a little more on the moment. This isn't a prescription for "do whatever you want, you only live once" type of living in the moment, but rather an aim to take notice of when I desperately cling to doing five things at once because I can't imagine just sitting with myself and eating a bagel.
What one thing can you do to enjoy your moments a little more? Start small. Maybe it's playing the cell phone game when out to dinner with friends (you know, the one where you put your phones in the middle of the table and the first one to check theirs picks up the tab). Maybe it's not checking your email every time you come to a red light. Start to take a little notice of all of the times you double or triple book your attention, and pick one thing to work on. Hopefully after a while it becomes less work, and more enjoyable. When that happens, perhaps you can pick another habit and build on from there.
As always I'd love to hear your thoughts and what habits you think you could to work on.