Every time we do something that feels out of place, we are acting out of alignment with our Higher Selves. When we act out of our Lower Selves, our conscience gnaws at us. We always know the right thing to do in any situation, yet we often lack the courage to follow through.
It seems we are always living in the future. We are always trying to be someplace other than where we are, mentally. By doing so, we experience distress. We strive to make things happen in our daily lives. We try to control things and reach certain results. We get so caught up with the outcome in mind that we fail to enjoy the process.
Nothing is more fulfilling to me than reflecting back on my day to realize I truly lived in the moment for most of the day, not just in terms of what I did, but more importantly how I lived. I feel grateful when I’ve used my attention to do things that matter, because anything worth doing is worth doing well.
Here’s the thing: All we have is today, and within today, all we have is this moment. We can only ever be here, in this moment, and we learn to recognize that that’s all we need.
Nothing needs to be added to our present experience, period. There is no point in dwelling on our past or worrying about our future. The truth is, we will always be in the moment, regardless of whether we live in it or not.
It’s only when we live each moment to the fullest that we can truly live meaningful lives. No one can confidently say they will wake up tomorrow morning. It behooves us to keep ourselves light at any given time.
Mark Twain has said:
The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.
We are naturally spiritual beings, but we have forgotten what it’s like to live to our true Higher Selves. We need to remind ourselves that while we are living in the physical world, it’s not where we come from. While we are in transit, our karmic account balance always stays current (beyond this life) based on our past actions.
Being the best we can be in any given moment makes it easier for us to be happy and peaceful. Besides, it’s our natural state. We are peaceful souls by design. It’s what we inevitably come to after experiencing negative emotions.
We strive to live this way for ourselves, not necessarily for others. While we may inspire others by virtue of our actions, it’s us who we need to live with every day.
Here are some ideas for being our best in any moment.
In order to live in the moment (let alone make the best of it), we need to accept and internalize the truth that life is only truly ever lived in the present. This moment is all we have, so let’s make the most of it.
Being mindful helps us be aware of our state of mind at any given time. One of the ways we improve our self-awareness is by checking in with ourselves every hour; firstly, to ensure we are living in the here and now—rather than thinking about the past or future—and secondly, to be conscious of harboring any negative thoughts for others. The latter is usually a sign of things to come. We need to disallow our ego to get the better of us.
Epictetus reminds us:
First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.
We can always be at our best irrespective of how the world treats us. Our actions are not dependent on others. It’s always our choice and our integrity. We respect others not because they necessarily deserve it, but because we can only give what we have. When we can’t respect others, it’s because we don’t have self-respect to begin with.
Remember, we can only feel upset or regretful about the choices we make. No one can truly upset us or cause stress to us. They have no access to our mind. Only we do.
In order to be our best at any moment, we need to stop dwelling on the past and move on. We need to keep ourselves light mentally. We forgive others (in our hearts) so we can move on without letting it affect us.
One of the things we can do is get closure each day by reflecting on it. Think about how the day went for you. Think about the things that went well. What could you have done differently?
When we strive to live our best each day, we get closure on our day followed by a good night’s sleep. Then, we start off anew the next day.
It’s time to stop postponing our lives and start living each day to the fullest. It’s easy to get anxious about the future, given the uncertainty. But guess what: There is no point in worrying about something that isn’t here. Besides, how the future will be shaped is not always in our control, so why worry about it?!
Let’s focus on things we can change right now rather than think about what we can’t in the future. Let’s act with intention. Let’s make conscious choices about things rather than doing things haphazardly. Let’s remind ourselves to be proactive. To pause before making our choices. And to slow down. Let’s make decisions out of love, not fear.
We know better than to be caught up in the chaos of the external world. Let’s stop trying to make things happen with ourselves and others. Let things be. Become more flexible.
We must find our ways around challenges. Rather than tackling them head on, we find ways to circumvent or make them irrelevant.
Control is an illusion, albeit a persistent one. Let’s stop being dependent on outcomes we seek and focus on being our best in any moment. Let the process of doing things determine the outcome. In any case, that’s all we can do.
We must use our energy consciously at any given moment. That means avoiding dispensing unsolicited advice. Even when someone seeks our feedback, we do it judiciously.
Love others without expecting to be loved in return. We have no control over others loving us, but we can always choose to love others (unconditionally).
It’s best to say things to others only when we have something nice to say, else we may remain silent (which can speak volumes). Better to stay silent than say something that was better left unspoken (and later regretted). Again, that’s a choice we make.
When we try to be the best in every moment, it goes a long way towards being our best in terms of our character and the contributions we make in this world.