This. Here. Now.
In this essay Rev Mindy Bell reflects on being present in the moment. For some people this is a no-brainer; for others it's increasingly a struggle. How about yourself?
This. Here. Now. I find the challenge contained in the simple three-word phrase, “This. Here. Now.” helps me to be present in the moment. The simple certainty of each word makes me take notice and become more aware of myself and the world around me. The unusual punctuation of a full stop after every word makes me pause and consider each word on its own.
This. What is the task I am engaged in?
Here. Where am I?
Now. Am I present in this moment?
Mystics throughout the ages have encouraged people to pay attention; to pay attention to our thoughts, to pay attention to our actions, and to pay attention to the world. Paying attention is a commendable task, and yet challenging. I often find that my mind is not fully engaging with what is in front of me because I am overanalysing and taking refuge in the past or I’m racing ahead to make future plans. “This. Here. Now.” is an antidote to both of these preoccupations and helps me to pay attention.
I find that when I am present in the moment, I notice things I might otherwise overlook. I am overjoyed when paying attention helps me to glimpse the holy in the very ordinary. Things as simple as a smile shared, a connection made, and the beauty of the world appreciated are holy moments to be appreciated and savoured. Fortunately, being present in the moment doesn’t require engaging in esoteric religious rituals and is available to all of us at any time and in any place.
Paying attention is also a good goal when applied to the Divine. Christian mystic Simone Weil stated, “Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer.” I appreciate Simone’s characterization of prayer in this way because, while it doesn’t remove the challenge, it makes prayer understandable as an intentional focused attention to, or hanging out with, God.
This kind of paying attention doesn’t come to me naturally; I need to practice. I choose to practice this mindfulness with Bread & Belief; a Christian community where we gather to bake bread, study the scriptures and to pray. Some might think that our prayers are only those that are uttered with our lips, but at Bread & Belief we practice paying attention while we mix flour and knead dough; this attention allows us to pray with our bodies too. The prayers that arise out of our bread making gatherings come from both our words and our bodies.
If you too would like to practice “This. Here. Now.” with a supportive community you are most welcome to join us. To sign up go to https://breadandbelief.wordpress.com/. To join the Bread & Belief mailing list, or for more information, email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is my hope that, wherever we are, we pay enough attention to notice moments of joy, glory, beauty and the holy popping up in our everyday lives.