On not living in the moment and why I recommend it

The collective wisdom of the moment seems to be that happiness, fulfillment, having some reason for getting up in the morning and or surviving to the end of yet another day is best achieved through mindfulness.

Mindfulness. There’s a word to hate. It’s ugly. It takes a perfectly harmless adjective and turns it into a semantically-loaded noun. People who do that to a word always make me wonder what their agenda is.

Mindfulness, Wikipedia tells me, is the:

“psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment”

The concept has been appropriated from Buddhism and bolted on to a western view of psychological health and well-being that, to me, seems to be overly focused on being “normal” which tends in practice to mean not doing things that other people find distressing. In this view of the world, depression, sorrow, doubt, worry, and anxiety are things that need to be *fixed” to restore mental health.

On this basis, most of the important moments of my life have occurred when my mental health has needed fixing.

So mindfulness has become a process, a self-help routine, to improve my mental health by focusing on the here and now and experiencing the moment.

I’m someone who spends a lot of time working on NOT experiencing the present moment. Most present moments are not good places to be. Some of them are literally unbearable, some are merely boring, some are truly wonderful.

In my experience, the truly wonderful ones are infrequent and I don’t need to follow a psychological process to make sure that I experience them.

My recommendation is, experience fully the moments that mean something to you. Skip the rest.

How do I skip the rest?

I do it by reading, by watching movies, by writing fiction, by using my imagination to experience moments that aren’t mine but which are still important to me.

I’m sometimes told I live too much in my head.

My response to that is:”where else is there to live?”

So, my advice is summed up in the picture below.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s