The Power of Now
Posted on March 18th, 2018

Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge 

Eckhart Tolle’ s spiritually awaking book The Power of Now highlights the  importance of living in the present moment.  Ironically people avoid the present moment most of the time and dwelling in the depressive thoughts of the past or anxiety related thoughts connected with the future. A person who does not live in the present moment becomes a victim of time. Many psychological ailments are associated with missing the present moment.

In this famous book Eckhart states: “Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”

.The art of mindfulness is based on living in the present moment. Mindfulness can be considered as a universal human ability embodied to foster clear thinking and open-heartedness (Trousselard et al., 2014).  The practice of mindfulness involves moment to moment awareness of in the present moment. It is paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment in a nonjudgmental and nonreactive way. Some 2600 years ago the Buddha said to his decuples; ” Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment and live wisely and earnestly.

The awareness of present moment experience is vital. It is ongoing monitoring of present-moment experience with an orientation of acceptance. This process helps to reduce mind wandering and facilitate emotion regulation. Mind wandering and mindfulness are often described as divergent mental states with opposing effects on cognitive performance and mental health and spontaneous mind wandering is typically associated with self-reflective states that contribute to negative processing of the past, worrying/fantasizing about the future, and disruption of primary task performance.  (Vago & Zeidan,  2016).  Mind-wandering correlates with unhappiness and with activation in a network of brain areas associated with self-referential processing. Mindfulness is an antidote for mind wandering. In mindfulness people monitor their present-moment experience with a lens of acceptance (Brewer et al., 2011).

The research has found that long-term mindfulness meditation practice promotes executive functioning and the ability to sustain attention. Mindful awareness is frequently described as a focus on present sensory input without cognitive elaboration or emotional reactivity, and is associated with improved task performance and decreased stress-related symptomology( Vago & Zeidan,  2016). According to Zeidan  et al (2010 ) mindfulness training significantly improved visuo-spatial processing, working memory, and executive functioning. In addition mindfulness reduces multiple negative dimensions of psychological stress (Goyal et al.,2014). Long-term practice of mindfulness leads to emotional stability by promoting acceptance of emotional states and enhanced present-moment awareness (Taylor et al.,2011).

Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge 

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