At the time of writing, I am on holiday in a small English town right on the border to Wales. I combine socializing and friendship during weekend and evenings with days alone exploring the city and its surroundings, reading and meditating. The city is from the Middle Ages with many half-timbered houses in Tudor style.
Here is a large lush park that stretches along the River Severn, where rowers from the local boat club glide silently along the river. And just south of the town, the horizon is filled by miles of rolling hills that invite for long walks with the many sheep as the closest company.
In this pastoral idyll, I experience something magical. My sense of time gradually changes, and the present is enhanced while the past and the future slowly fade away and become increasingly unimportant. When, in my mind, I no longer ponder over things that have happened or being occupied by planning for the future, the present is growing in strength.
As I walk, it is noticeable how my steps slow down and the mind begins to absorb the present in a completely different way. The details suddenly become much richer, the colours more intense and the attention is drawn to things that I had hardly noticed in another mood.
Also, the people around me become more interesting, with more eye contacts, more nods and more short conversations with strangers I have never seen before and probably will never meet again, and all this happens in a state of mind of full attention combined with total inner peace and harmony.
The situation makes me reflect on how I and most other people usually live our lives. We are constantly in our mind somewhere else both in space and time. We analyse our past memories and create new fictional future memories in a noise of thoughts that we have very little control over.
Much of these thoughts revolve around things that we either desire or want to avoid. We are also caught in all the must-dos, where we often spend more time thinking about them and worrying about them than either doing them or deciding to abstain and thus also allowing our minds to drop the thoughts on them.
I am convinced that we would be both more efficient and happier by being more in the moment, doing what we decide to do without procrastination, prioritising harder among all the obligations, letting go of many of our desires and aversions to then be able to spend more time fully experiencing the moment right here and now.
Consider that the present is the only thing that exists. Everything else is only constructions in our minds.