8 Steps To Being In The Moment

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Step 1. Accept that you cannot control the future (it hasn't happened yet) nor can you change the past (it's over and done with)

Step 2. Take care that everything you do, as you're doing it, you're doing it for the best reason and with full and complete attention to it. Don't half-ass it. Don't take it for granted. Whatever you do, focus your mind as you do it. Even if it's stupid. Even if it's something you do a billion times. Each time is significant and unique.

Step 3. Practice open-mindedness. When you encounter any information (opinions, facts, etc) that differs from your own, let it exist. For every problem, thought, idea or dream, there are an infinite number of things that can follow it. Your way is not the only way. Nor is their way the only way. Be open to the moment, and pay attention to it.

Step 4. Remember that inaction is still an action. When you want something, when you say to yourself, "I'm going to do X.", you're going to have that very human thought in your head that tries to rationalize X for you. "Oh you can't do X, because...." And sometimes this thought wins, so that you don't do X. The problem comes when you evaluate this later and say, "I didn't do X! I did nothing!". No, you did something. You chose NOT to do X.

Step 5. Live with the consequences. Everything you do and think has a consequence. If you spill a drink, if you belch, if you get head, if you eat...there are always consequences. Fear of consequence often prevents your intended action, and starts a domino effect of things that feel out of your control, but refer back to your earlier steps, and you'll see that you're the one who started this particular path. It's internal, not external. Whatever you do, you're going to have to live with the consequences. Not fear impending ones (the future) nor dwell on old ones (the past)....just the ones in front of you (the now)

Step 6. Retain control from moment to moment. Life isn't a connect-the-dots-puzzle. Things don't just happen sporadically, periodically, with periods of lulls in between. All things are happening. All things are happening now. It's not dot-------dot, it's one constant stream. It's a constant flow of action, consequence and action (note: not reaction) that you can jump into as easily as a river. It's not a raging floodwater, you've got the complete ability like any good fish, to move up and down stream at will. All you need to do is not over think your fish-nature, and just BE the fish in the river. BE the man, moving seamlessly, regularly, skillfully, comfortably, through ALL moments, not just the outcroppings of a particular type of moment

You're not living from night to night are you? You're not only "you" when you hit the scene, are you? Truly?

You are you always, just as the moment is always there to be lived in.

Step 7. Don't theorize, be-orize. As you go through each moment, encountering and managing it, enjoying and learning from it, it's very easy to pile up all the theory and abstract in your head. (Because that's what you're learning). But...avoid filling your head with so much theory that you forget two essential things:

a) It's not a contest to see who knows the most theory. b) All theories must be tested and either kept for personalized refinement or discarded as personally impractical.

Regarding (a), there's no prize for knowing all the theory. No award is given out, you don't unlock any XBox achievements, you don't even get cake. Theories are not Pokemon. You do not need to catch them all.

Regarding (b), remember that for every theory to put into your head, you've done so with the intention of one day using it (the tool-in-the-toolbox theory). That was your intention, right? You were totally planning on using Random Theory About Game/Pickup #66429-c at some point, right?

So what can you do if you've got some pretty useless tools in your mental toolbox, ones that you've never even used? Forget them. If you've go no intention of applying that knowledge, free up those brain cells.

Theory, ideas, beliefs, maxims, all should be tested through application before you commit any validity to them. Remember as a child when you were told the stove is hot? What did you do next? You touched the stove. You had to. You weren't going to take someone else's word for it then, and you're not going to now. You're your own man, and a man makes up his own mind through study and pursuit.

Discard the theories that don't work for you. The trouble with discarding anything is that all too often people use that as a chance to pass judgment. "I'm not using that, it's stupid/broken/dumb/beneath me" Be open-minded! You're not coming from a place of higher authority, you're just forgetting things. If you want to pass some kind of statement about something you discard try, "This idea isn't going to work for me, because of X". Provided that "X" is a rational and realistic statement, you'll have no trouble or guilt in letting things go.

After freeing up headspace, what can it be used for? (There's always a rush after you clean to fill up the empty space, isn't there?) I propose this: Fill it with memories of the adventures you've created when you applied what did work for you.

Refine your theories, hone your skills, even if your toolbox has 4 things in it, they work for you, and there's no shame in that.

Be the man. Be active. Be natural. Be comfortable. Be happy. Be whatever emotion is appropriate. Be excited. Be energized. Be motivated. Be powerful. Be dominant.

Do not be a theory. Be yourself. Be yourself applying theory in your own personal way.

Be victorious.

Step 8. Appropriate (fill in the blank). Essentially, the other 7 steps have geared you towards living, being and doing things as other things happen. It's no longer a matter of reaction (since reaction works on the idea of something already happening in the past, and you're just now getting to it), but rather simultaneous action. You do something as an infinite number of things occur at the same time.

Don't think it's simultaneous? Here are some examples.

1. You're at the club, chatting up some nice lady. You're mentioning how you'll bend her over. In your head, you're picturing this. What do you think she's doing as you talk about it?

2. You're in a crowded elevator. The little box of people is fairly silent. You hear other people breathing.

3. While I sit here and write this, my dog is chasing an ice cube across the carpet.

Things don't wait for you. Nothing waits for you. As you do (or don't do) things, life still goes on. The rate of that going-on is entirely out of your control (yet, as a human, you'll try to control it), so at best, all you can control is yourself.

No event, even if it personally affects you is as fresh, impactful or pivotal as any event you're going through now. If you've lived through wars and distasters, they might be bad and personally scaring, but they're in the past. You lived through them. The moment now, if the event was occurring now, is more impactful.

This is not to say the event(s) in the past had no impact that isn't felt today. Of course they do. (Remember, consequences) But since we cannot live in either the future nor the past, only the events occurring now have greatest magnitude. Because you're going through them currently. You're fully immersed in the experience. Nothing could be more "now".

In all this talk of "how do I get into the moment?", we've not yet mentioned how you STAY in the moment. What anchors you there? What keeps you grounded in the present?

Appropriate action and emotion.

If I tell you a joke, when would it be best to laugh? Immediately after. If you waited an hour, and then randomly laughed while you were doing something else, that would be odd. Odd, but appropriate.

Whatever you feel, whatever emotion you feel best suits the moment, needs to be determined by the appropriate "in the moment" filter.

What is that filter? This question -- How does this current situation make me feel? And is this feeling true to me and my connections to the present?

So, if I tell you a joke, and sixty minutes later you laugh, that's appropriate. Not in the social context. But to YOU.

This filter is going to ram you headfirst into a lot of awkward juxtaposition. You may feel things completely out of left field at times. (You might spontaneously cry during a movie, you might feel happy when dinner is served) You're not going insane. You're experienced the breadth of human emotions. Powerful stuff.

Please understand this is not carte blanche for you to act inappropriate. Laughing during a funeral or getting angry at Starbucks isn't going to cut it. You cannot place your ego, arrogance or sense of superiority here. Appropriate emotion, appropriate action has RELEVANCE to the current situation. It is, at the core, an expression of your truest self. So, if you find yourself acting poorly, causing fights and stirring up trouble, I suspect your problem isn't living in the moment. Maybe you just need hugs.

Appropriate action expresses your self. Want to convey manliness? Alpha-ness? Compassion? You can find actions, natural actions, to do so. (Chances are they're all the same action).

If you feel something, don't deny it. Cowards deny it. They fear how others will view their actions and emotions. Recall Rule #1 gentlemen, it will save you. Always.

If you feel compelled to do something, do it. Again, see Rule #1 if you find yourself overthinking the response.

Of course, the above statement assumes the action you're taking is appropriate and you're doing so for the best reason. Don't cause trouble and then run behind the shield of Rule #1. Remember, consequences.

Be well. Do a good thing today.

Now....go have an adventure.

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