Appreciate Each Moment

03/24/2015 10:48 am ET | Updated May 24, 2015
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"Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life." -- Eckhart Tolle

One of the ultimate objectives of attaining inner peace is learning to live happily in the present moment. Keep in mind that life is a continuous succession of present moments. Most of us spend a great deal of our present moments regretting the past, worrying about the future, which creates restlessness with the here and now. A whole lot of precious time is wasted.

To a large degree, the measure of our peace of mind is determined by how much we are able to live in the present moment. Every time we think should have, could have, or would have -- we are diminishing the creative power of our present moment as well as the joy of each and subsequent moments. Irrespective of what happened yesterday or last year and what may or may not happen tomorrow, the present moment is all you have.

On the other hand, we also postpone our gratification, our stated priorities and our happiness, often convincing ourselves that "someday" will be better than today. Many people live as if life were a dress rehearsal for some later date. It is not, in fact, no one has a guarantee that we will be here tomorrow. Now is the only time we have and the only time that we have any control over.

Being grateful for the ordinary things and events in our daily lives contributes in a profound and practical way to our well-being and happiness. If we rush through our day's activities without paying attention to what we're doing or feeling thankful for what's in front of us, we are going through our events without really experiencing them. This state of mindlessness is a way of being numb or cut off from the present moment.

You've probably had the experience of driving along a highway only to suddenly realize you have no memory or awareness of the previous 15 minutes. Maybe you even missed your exit. You just zoned out; you were somewhere else mentally. We are so lost in our thoughts that we are not aware of our present experience. As a result, life passes us by without an impact. Develop the habit of noticing new aspects of whatever situation you are in. This process creates engagement with the present moment and releases a cascade of other benefits. Paying attention to each new experience puts us emphatically in the here and now.

For one thing, when our attention is in the present moment, we push fear from our minds. Fear is the concern over events that might happen in the future, such as, we won't have enough money, our children will get into trouble or we will get old and die!

To combat fear, the best strategy is to learn to revert our attention back to the present. This should bring you to a higher level of enjoyment of your daily life. Making the conscious effort to enjoy each moment will make your inner quest that much easier. Cultivating a disposition of awareness in every moment of our daily lives helps us to experience life with greater mindfulness in each passing moment. No two moments are alike. Everything changes, so we do not want to take any unique moment for granted nor do we want to deny its creative power. Cherishing this moment opens the way to appreciating increased blessings throughout our lives.