“Be in the moment” – no matter which part of the world we live in, all of us have heard this phrase at some point in our lives. If we are sad about leaving our school, we must fully immerse ourselves in that sadness. If we are happy about our kid graduating, we must let the happiness fill us entirely. That’s what is said and expected of us. That’s the message that is communicated to us via pop culture shows, books and social media platforms. 

And yet for some reason, we always find our heads anywhere except for in the present. There a good number of reasons for this. 

  • To go through life as smoothly as possible, some of us have had to grow a thick skin. Our experiences have pushed us to not register all that we feel, it’s a must to let certain things not register. Life has been far away from a bed of roses and what got us through the thick bush of thorns was our ability to not be present. Either we were completely disassociated with what was happening or subsumed in our own fantasy land. 
  • Happiness can be difficult to register sometimes. As humans, we are mostly walking on our toes – waiting for our salaries to come through or eagerly wanting to score an A or trying to make it through a university. We are always chasing something or the other, running on our toes. To be told that we can lay our feet flat on the ground, even for a few seconds can be hard to believe. To be told that we can live life in this very moment can sound more unrealistic than profound.
  • Our expectations are always at work, telling us how to feel for something that’s taking place externally. These expectations hinder our ability to actually be present in the moment. Instead of “I am feeling ..”, it becomes “I must feel..” There is a constant gap between what is happening and what one thinks is supposed to happen.
  • Finally, our emotions tend to move at a much slower pace as compared to an event. Has it ever happened that it is only after something has passed that you’ve realised how it made you feel? We might feel happy or sad or confused not at that very moment but in the night, while having a glass of wine or watching a television show. 

To make things better, maybe we should accommodate our limits as human beings when it comes to feeling. We should let the above factors be taken into consideration. Maybe we should not have such strong voices blaring at us all the time about how we should be. Maybe being in the present moment isn’t as easy as it is portrayed to be and most definitely, it cannot be the answer to everything we go through. So the next time someone asks you to be in the moment, do not take their words on the face value. Contemplate.