The Moment

A reflection of awareness, mindfulness, and being present in the now.

There are those who looks to their past and sees humor.
And there are those who looks to their past and sees regret.

Felix TayLife Coach, #ThriveTogether Community Builder


Long ago I wished to leave
‘The house where I was born;’
Long ago I used to grieve,
My home seemed so forlorn.
In other years, its silent rooms
Were filled with haunting fears;
Now, their very memory comes
O’ercharged with tender tears …

Charlotte BrontëEnglish Novelist

Have you ever regretted anything in your life? An act that brought about pain that you wish you haven’t done. Or the regret that you did not manage to summon enough courage to stop something bad from happening?

Regret is the evil twin of the good emotion one feels when they are proud of something that has gone right. A double-edge sword, regret has its power to strengthen someone or destroy them.

Regret could help one to re-evaluate past challenges and mistakes to pursue corrective measures. But left unchecked, regret could potentially open the trap door leading one down the bottomless pit of rumination and triggering stress that may damage one’s mind and body.

Could the antidote to regret be one’s ability to live in the moment? To accept that they have done their best, and THAT in itself is good enough?

The Moment

This moment. A concept so simple, yet difficult to describe.

This moment is not the hour, the minute, or the one-tenth of a millisecond. That would have been a measurement used to describe something standard so that every human being could grasp the concept of standard time. There is no limit in which one could break a minute into little parts.

What this moment is, however, is that “exact point” in which one experiences life. It is not the future that is to come, or the past that has passed. Those are named “the future” and “the past”, not “the moment”.

So, how often do you pay attention to what is happening "at the moment"?

Getting into the Experience

Find a comfortable place to sit and take a deep breath. Are you feeling relaxed enough right now? Would your current environment support you to examine your personal experience from within? If not, you might want to either save this article for further reading or take a few minutes off your busy schedule to experience this.

Whenever you are ready, we shall proceed to the next thought.

“How do you feel?”

A very important question, but also a difficult question to ask and to be asked. How do you truly feel? Are you having a good experience in life? Or contrary to that, you’re having the worst time of your life?

Granted, many people have had their ups and downs in life. But the pandemic seems to have affected everyone on a global scale that sometimes it is easier to assume that everyone has their fair share of terrible situations happening to them. But the essence is this – How do you FEEL?

Is it wrong for someone to feel grateful or happy when they have experienced the departure of a loved one? Are we obligated to carry the burden and the sadness when something (in which the society deems as being bad) happens to us? Or when the stars are not aligned and somehow, some things did not happen the way we expect it to?

Many people believe it is their moral obligation to carry on the burden and the sadness when something bad happens, because it is bad. But how much can we benefit from transitioning from one experience to another experience?

The Transition

Some children started out hating the idea of having to finish their greens before they are allowed to leave the dinner table. Fast forward decades later, you see the grown-up version of the child eating so many types of vegetables that you sometimes wonder if they have turned herbivore.

Do you remember that trigger point? That transition from hating something to suddenly having that SHIFTED your thoughts. Like how coffee used to be bitter and disgusting to one’s delicate tongue at 7 to first trying that life-changing cup of coffee at 25 that sealed the deal?

Or that someone we have loved so deeply, that only upon the person’s passing that we would start to miss all the good side of them. When in fact, during the time the person was still alive, their “other side” has always been there.

Letting Others Decide Your Future

For some, they hold on to an assumption that “I can only be happy when (something external) happens (to me)”. They believe that life is a set of equations, that they would be satisfied when a few criteria are met. A little bit of box-ticking if you may.

If one were to delegate one’s own happiness to the external world, how often and likely would one have the pleasure to experience happiness? When one relies on sets of conditions, for A to happen so that B can happen, what are the chances these sets of conditions are not met?

How would you feel if you allow your work performance to be determined by external forces such as the economy, another coworker’s departure, or even the weather?

You might laugh at the weather example, but very often we would hear people sighing and complaining about the muggy summer in Tokyo, or the squalls that hit the Malaysian soil on many evenings in a year. That one’s sense of happiness could be “taken away” by the grey clouds. But it does, to many people.

Are we allowing the external forces to determine our own experiences, or are we paying attention to the moment and allow ourselves to hit that “transition point” to enjoy that rainy day? Just go out and dance in the rain, kick up some mud and remember our childhood days with our siblings?

Between Intellectual Knowledge and Embracing Experiences

You may have heard of or understand the meaning of oft-used words such as MINDFULNESS and AWARENESS. However, in recent times, these words have been thrown around loosely to the point that it has lost its essence.

Comprehending the meaning of a particular word is the engagement of the intellectual faculty of one’s being, it does not mean one is practicing what they intellectually understand.

So, back to the question – How often do you pay attention to what is happening at the moment? In the “now”, if we may.

How invested and engaged are you with the moment?

Remember the Video Games?

When was the last time you felt truly engaged and paid attention to what is happening at the moment? Were there external “forces” around that caused you to pay attention?

Was it the well-designed game that pulled your family and friends into this imaginary cartoon world, allowing you to hurl turtle shells at an opponent just-in-time so you could surpass them seconds earlier at the finish line? Or that therapeutic music you listened to that made you just put down your mobile phone and allow your whole self to be present at that moment? Or even just when you’re doing what you do best and you immerse your whole self into it that you just lose track of time?

There is a name for it: the FLOW, or the ZONE.

Being in The Zone

When athletes get into the flow or the zone, they sort of get “transported” into this space whereby their focus increases, and their body becomes fully involved in the activity. An artist being fully engaged in their painting that they enjoy every stroke of the brush while time just goes smoothly.

Have you ever been in the flow or the zone?

If being in the flow allows you to perform at optimum level, what mistakes would you make? How much more creative could you get? How much less critical of yourself that your brain could be when you are in the flow?

The Other Tip of the Scale

Have you ever walked around and wondered why the daily grind is so grim and mundane? Are you slowly finding everything you eat starting to feel bland as a cardboard, and the initial eye-catching interior design you have spent thousands of dollars on suddenly feels uninspiring to you?

The human body is a wonderful creation with an in-built mechanism to help us cope with the need for excessive data processing in our mind.

We call it hedonic adaptation.

Without hedonic adaptation, you might find yourself having to worry about driving down the same road everyday to the office. You would be preoccupied with every bend, every curve, every intersection to turn. It would be like doing the same thing everyday and not having the luxury of letting your body go on “autopilot mode”. Imagine how tired you would be.

But that much-praised mechanism is also what makes us transition from that person who was once excited about that new shiny car in the garage to the person who left the car in the garage to collect dust because the initial euphoria has left.

Are we allowing the external forces to determine our own experiences, or are we paying attention to the moment and allow ourselves to hit that “transition point” to enjoy that rainy day? Just go out and dance in the rain, kick up some mud and remember our childhood days with our siblings?

The Evolution of Question

What if the best antidote to losing that child-like awe is to consistently live in the moment?

As Robert Sutton famously said, using “Vuja de” to unlock one’s creativity and innovation. And when that happens, one would soon find so many interesting things around them. The gentleness of the breeze, or that beautiful aroma of a neighbor’s cooking, or possibly even rediscovering the neighborhood eatery that serves the best curry puff in town.

When that transition happens in one’s mind, one would no longer need to seek to break out of the once-mundane life in search for something bigger and brighter. And that is when one’s eyes are opened to the world in front of them that has been taken for granted, and the proverbial tinted lens shatter to once again reveal the beauty life has to offer.

Now, the question has evolved from “What is next? to “What now?”.

“You mean the past and the future don’t matter?”

If you have concluded that your past and your future do not matter – you have missed the entire point of the article. When one lives in the past, they would most likely find regrets. But the past has passed, and we cannot make any changes to it. We can only learn from it to make better informed choices now and the future. But when one moves too far ahead into the timeline and try living in the future, they are bound to find stress.

The past is what gave you experience to live in the moment that paves way to your future. But the “now” is the defining moment that determines your future.

“Are you having a terrible experience in life because life is terrible? Or are you having a terrible life because you are not paying attention to the moment?”

In a Nutshell

“To err is human. To forgive is divine.”

Acknowledging and embracing the fact that human beings have flaws is important. One should learn to forgive oneself for not being the best at everything, because it is impossible.

Circling back to the initial example of the two people reflecting on the past. Having a sense of humor is very important in helping one to cope with challenges and setbacks in life. But the biggest takeaway here is this:

“If you can make a choice with the current available knowledge, that is YOUR BEST you could give at that point in your life. As long as you do YOUR BEST, it matters and it is good enough.”

This moment is inevitable.

Felix TayLife Coach, #ThriveTogether Community Builder

Be a nowist, not (just) a futurist!

Salleh#ThriveTogether Community Member

Felix Tay

Felix is committed to helping Trainers and Coaches make 10K per month and beyond. A Life Coach and Mentor himself, Felix understands the challenges faced by the community. Harnessing his expertise in developing community marketing, he shares his nuggets of wisdom to motivated individuals with strong desire to bring about positive changes in their lives.

Pioneering the #ThriveTogether community, Felix encourages the community to grow through committing to weekly sharing and discussion with members. And the biggest secret to success lies in one's ability to consistently ask better questions.

Felix enjoys working with committed and open-minded individuals navigate their journey to effectively spread their gifts and make an impact the world, with the success in one's effort being reflected in their income.

Connect with Felix to learn how to do effective yet courteous community marketing without resorting to spamming, and how to #ThriveTogether with other like-minded individuals!

Living in the moment: A reflection of awareness, mindfulness, and being present in the now.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Michelle Lim

Michelle Lim

Creative Consultant, JCE Japan Creative Enterprise