Recall a few of the most beautiful experiences of your life. Maybe your wedding day or honeymoon. A memorable family vacation. The birth of a child or close relative. The day you graduated from high school or college. The day you landed your dream job or received a hard-earned promotion. Or simply an unforgettable night-out with quality friends. I bet they all had one thing in common: your undivided attention. Have you ever noticed that the happiest people tend to be the most mindful? They aren’t burdened by the past or anxious about the future. Wherever they go, there they are. . And they find pleasure in even the most mundane moments of life. What if we could program our minds to pay undivided attention to the present moment even in the absence of powerful, fleeting, stimuli from our environment?
Think of your attention as a limited energy source—like a WiFi Network. The power of your WiFi Network may be split between your phone, tablet, and computer—or those of your friends and family—based on energy output. A computer downloading updates may use up 80% of the WiFi while a phone in sleep mode may barely draw a charge.
What would a pie chart of your attention look like, at any given moment in time? How much of your attention is nurturing past hurts and failures? How much of it is anxiously fixated on uncertain future outcomes? And how much of it is fully focused on the people, sounds, smells, shapes, and textures of the present moment? The truth is every human being has high energy. People with “high-energy” are those whose energy is grounded in the present moment. People with “low-energy” are those whose energy is grounded in the past and future where anger, fear, and sadness barricade themselves.
Mindfulness a skill that can be developed. Every moment we redirect our wandering brain to the present moment is a victory for mindfulness. And a victory for a more high-definition, pain-processing, power-possessing, love-infused existence.
The greatest gift we can give others is our presence. It also just so happens to be the greatest gift we can give ourselves.