This morning I was talking to my sister, Hannah, on FaceTime. She lives in Melbourne, Australia, and a little plan has evolved over our last few chats that involves us meeting up for a holiday! Every time we speak we both get a bit more excited about the prospect of meeting in Vietnam. We have got to the stage where we are looking to book our flights.
When I finished talking to her today my excitement continued. I feel quite exhilarated by the whole plan. But then it got me to thinking how does this fit in with mindfulness? Am I failing to live in the moment?
Mindfulness is all about being present right here and right now. So is there a contradiction?
I think not. In that moment when I am speaking to my sister I am recognising the emotion of happiness and excitement and enjoying that to the full. In the time after I have spoken to her I am still enjoying and focusing on what I am doing in the moment but also enjoying the positive feelings that remain.
The great feeling I got from the thought of meeting up with her and her family really helped me to have a great day. I was cheerful and this made me pleasant with everyone I came across at work. I worked really well and focussed on what I was doing, yet the good feeling remained.
So I think the answer is balance. Yes, be excited about the future but don’t obsess over it. Yes, enjoy planning but not to the extent that you dismiss the here and now. Do your planning when you can really enjoy focussing on it and not when the present really needs your attention. It is like most things in life, a bit of planning in moderation is great but don’t let it slip to a permanent state.
Mindfulness and meditation help us to train our brain so that we can recognise our feelings as they arise. Having enough awareness to recognise our feelings helps to keep us on top of things. We become well tuned and we can recognise when things are working well. If things start to go wrong then we can sort it out before it becomes a problem. Perfect.