Photo courtesy Benjavisa via iStock Photo
Sometimes we get caught up in what might happen next or what happened in the past. However, we really only have the present moment. Savoring your current experience, even when it may be mundane, can build a stronger sense of meaning in life. Continuing to practice shifting our perspective to the present can be a powerful way to focus on what matters most. Each present moment provides an opportunity to connect to a deeper sense of purpose.
In this five minute practice, we work on pausing and reflecting to bring ourselves back into the present moment and strengthening our sense of purpose. Listen to this guided practice from Daniela Labra Cardero.
Guided Practice: "This One Moment"
Led by Daniela Labra Cardero
This practice strengthens our capacity to feel a sense of meaning and purpose, and to bring that into the mundane routines of everyday life. We’ll do this by shifting our perspective. We don’t need to change what we’re doing. Instead, we’ll change our attitude and see things a little differently.
To begin, settle into an upright and relaxed posture. You can keep your eyes open or closed, whichever feels more natural.
Next, uplift the mind by reflecting on your motivation. You might think to yourself, “I am doing this practice so I can have healthy, fulfilling relationships with others, and so I can leave the world a better place than I found it.” Feel free to find a motivation that works for you, one that is meaningful and inspiring.
The main practice we’ll work on here involves two steps – pausing and reflecting. You can start by pausing for a few mindful breaths, as we just did. Next, reflect on your situation by noticing that life is fleeting and fragile. None of us really knows where life will lead, but we do know that we have this one day, this one moment, to bring meaning and purpose to our lives. Take a few moments to let this sink in.
It can help to reflect on how important this one moment is. It’s all we really have. We don’t know what the future will hold for us, so let go of the big life questions and ask yourself a simple one: “How do I want to live in this moment?” Notice what comes up as you ask this question. No need to worry about the past or future. Just reflect on what qualities you want to embody in this moment. As you reflect, see if you can stay open and curious about your experience.
Think of the things you’re going to do in the next 24 hours. If those were the only 24 hours you had, what qualities and values would you want to bring into your life and interactions? You might think to yourself, “When I go for a walk, I’ll do it with an attitude of kindness, so it will help me bring more kindness into the world.” Or “When I’m in that meeting. I’ll do my best to act with openness and integrity, and to support others in the best way that I can.”
Now you can slowly open your eyes if they’ve been closed, and rest for a few moments. Let go of the contemplation and allow for any thoughts and feelings that are present.
You can use this practice in daily life if you remember the two steps we practiced here: pause and reflect. When you find yourself feeling uninspired, try pausing for a few mindful breaths, then reflect on the importance of this one moment. Moments become minutes, then hours, then days, and eventually a lifetime. So every moment provides a new opportunity to connect with a deep sense of purpose and meaning. Before you carry on, take a moment to set a clear intention to give this a try throughout your day.
Awareness. Connection. Insight. Purpose. We consider these to be four ingredients of a healthy mind. You can train yourself to improve these skills, just like you can develop any habit. This audio practice is provided by Healthy Minds Innovations (HMI), an external, affiliated nonprofit dedicated to supporting the mission of the Center for Healthy Minds. Want more practices? Try the Healthy Minds Program App.