It doesn’t happen often but when it does, it can change your view, influence your mindset and ultimately change your life. I’m talking about the power of a phrase, just a few words that rest with you. You can’t shake them off, they just sit right and make sense.
I recall watching a video on YouTube of Jon Kabat Zinn talking about the present moment and the phrase he expressed went something like this…
“Now is usually good, and if it’s not good, it’s usually enough.”
That was it! I imagine that for most people it would seem a pretty inconspicuous and unimportant statement. But for me, it was significant. As I reflected on it I realised that right now was normally much better than good…right now was normally GREAT!
I am healthy. I have loving relationships and I’m cared for. I am wealthy enough to not have to worry about food, clothing or shelter and have many luxuries that the majority of the world would envy. I live in a peaceful and ordered society. I am safe and do not feel under threat. I could go on. In the past, I wasted so much time and energy thinking about what I don’t have and what isn’t quite right, longing for things to be better or different.
Through mindfulness (and believe me, I am no guru or expert meditator), I have become better at regularly bringing my attention to the present moment and recognising how beautiful it is. I still get frustrated and upset, anxious and worried but generally, these spells don’t last as long or feel as strong. Contentment was a topic I avoided because it felt as slippery as an eel but I was focusing my attention on things rather than on moments and specifically this moment. Now, contentment feels like it can be discovered via just a gentle nudge of my attention towards the present moment and drinking in all of the details that are so easily missed.