Living in the Moment

Living in the Moment…
What does it really mean?
Does it mean to live it up, festivity and party every night?
Does it mean to live like there is no future and seek pleasure day after day as an hedonist?
Does it mean to spend all your livelihood for a trip to the Bahama resort at a whim?
Aren’t we living and breathing every moment? Aren’t we already living?
What exactly does it mean to live in the moment? It sounds so…cliché.

You may have your own thoughts on what it is. Below is what I understand about living in the moment.

Living in the moment means having awareness in the here and now. If you are unclear about what I mean by awareness, why don’t you read my previous post on awareness and zen first. Like I said before, awareness is inside of all us and therefore, we can all learn to live in the moment. Living in the moment can also be described as simply being, simply doing what we do in each moment, with awareness. Not letting our egotistic thoughts and emotions dominate us. Stop regretting about the past. Stop worrying about the future. This helps us to appreciate each moment, along with all the small things within each moment.

Sounds simple enough? Not so fast… Not so easy…

What happened is that we learn NOT to live in the moment as we are growing up. When we are kids, we can’t wait to become teenagers. When we are in high school, we can’t wait to get into college. When we are in college, we can’t wait to be working and making money. When we are finally in the corporate world, some of us want to go back to school and some of us get bored and can’t wait for retirement. When we are single, we want to find a girlfriend or boyfriend. When we are finally hooked up with someone, we want our single life back. By this point, we are all safe to say WTF. Additionally, from day 1 after birth, we are bombarded by advertising that conditions and always tells us this one more thing that we need to be happy and to keep up with the trend and the Jones.

If only I buy this LV bag, I’d be happy…
If only I afford this Lamborghini, I’d be happy…
If only I own a house, I’d be happy…

As it goes, we are constantly thinking about and longing for the next place we want to be, the next thing we want. We constantly chase these ideals that are thoughts in our heads instead of doing what matters.

On the other hand, we need to be cautious about our memory, as our past can become another form of ideal or baggage where we hold on to the happy times or stuck dwelling on the bad ones. Your past has contributed to what you are today, accept it and do what you can with what you have now.

Living in the moment is simply sitting if you are sitting. It is simply doing whatever you are doing. It does not involve thinking about the past. It does not involve thinking about the future. It only involves awareness and whatever that you are doing. As described above, our behaviors have been trained to do just the opposite, myself included, we need to practice in order to get better at it, just like everything else in life – practice makes perfect.

Meditation is a pronounced method to practice living in the moment and also awareness. Living in the moment and awareness go hand-in-hand. Moreover, I’d say awareness is a pre-requisite because it lets you see your thoughts as you start thinking about past and future. Now, it is not that you cannot learn to live in the moment if you don’t meditate. Meditation is a method that allows a faster pace of learning because you are only sitting during meditation instead of being in motion (i.e. It is quite hard to concentrate if your boss is talking to you). The stillness of just sitting makes it easier to practice awareness and notice your thoughts. As you sit, you maintain awareness and pay attention to your body, its tension, and the emotions and thoughts that appear in your mind. As you let the body relax and the thoughts come and go, you learn to simply sit and you come to understand better what it means to live in the moment.

Meditation is merely practicing awareness so that it becomes natural to you, so you are present in the moment everywhere you go, whatever you do.

Of course, there are other things we can do to practice living in the moment. In fact, things such as listening to music, playing the piano, dancing, drawing, riding motorcycle, playing a sport, etc., we are inherently able to do them as if we are living in the moment. As I listen to music, it’s easy for me to simply listen. As I used to fence in college, I simply fence. In those moments, the only things that exist are my opponent, myself, and our blades. There is no room for external thoughts. It is easy to be in the moment in the favorite activities. Now we must do so in the non-so-favorable ones.

You can practice living in the moment by applying this “simply doing” concept on other things. For example, when you are talking to someone, you listen and focus solely on the conversation partner, instead of thinking what to eat for lunch or which candidate you’d vote for president. Even if your thought starts to drift, your awareness will let you see that you are thinking about something else and then you can shift your focus back to your conversation partner. As for me right now, I am writing this post and its my only focus, which should allow me to write it to the best of my ability. In other words, an analogy can be drawn between “living in the moment” and “doing the best in what you are doing in the moment”.

Don’t mistaken “living in the moment” as in giving up thoughts, past memory, and plans for future. Living in the moment can provide a new sense of appreciation and enjoyment in everything we do everyday. If you learn to live in the moment, you learn also to find peace and joy in every moment, and thinking and worrying less about past and future.

And why else do we want to find peace and joy like said? Because then we can have a good time without chasing material goods and learn not to be dependent on external means to be happy. Kinda like knowing how to have a great time without being drunk.

As any topic in Zen is quite difficult to write about and my principles and philosophy center heavily about Zen, my writings may lack certain clarity. Please feel free to contact me if you have any question.

Originally posted 2008-02-05 00:38:36. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Agenda Mentality – Doing is Always a Mean to an End

Everything we have these days seem to be designed to be fast and easy for us to get somewhere, to have done something — always having a destination in the mind.

Everything we do had become a mean to an end.

When we do that, we have made the means almost meaningless. As such, when we reach the end, we will most certainly regret, or be in denial, because we have given up everything for this end… only that, this end… this moment you have hoped and wished and dreamed about is not much more special than all the other moments you have sacrificed, if it is more special at all.

That is why I said, “We are trying so hard to live now that we are not living.”

Everything is a mean to an end. For modern people, the end is a moving target. Then everything becomes a mean, meaning there is no end to their pursuit. They ignore this moment. They have little respect for
whatever they do now.

Living in the moment is just that. Not for sake of peace. Not for the sake of happiness. When you seek, you have not. But that is not what we teach. That is not what the society teach to next generation.

The idea of good behavior is no longer because of the good behavior itself but becase you can get something out of it. This agenda mindset, has seeped into most aspects of our daily life, and has led to the perversion of everything that we do. The rampant desire for an end has overwhelmed the quality of the means.

It is not wrong to have an end. Just that the means are always perverted (meaning, bad shit happens) when one is concern only about the end. Because we will do anything to get to the end. That’s how desires make us do bad things.

For example…

The virtue of frugality lies in its non-wastefulness, not because you will have lots of money and become millionaires.

The goal of relationship is the relationship itself, not because you NEED to network, or that you will become happy or you will get something out of the relationship.

The reason to create quality is for the quality itself.

One of the way I determine success now is, “Am I being sincere in the moment of doing whatever I am doing?” Sincere being the keyword. The more I can be sincere, the more “successful” I consider myself.

Originally posted 2009-03-29 22:33:23. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

A Time and Place for Adjustable Rate Mortgage

Adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) is a taboo term by now, while the mess in the subprime loan market continues to unfold.

ARM is another financial tool with a purpose for its existence. However, buyers abused it to buy a house they cannot afford, and banks abused it to get unsubstantiated numbers on their balance sheet. We can generalize that bad outcomes in human society is always the result of an abuse of certain power.

ARM is a good option for someone who wants to buy a house in short-term. It allows the buyer to keep more money in the pocket for the period of time with the initial interest rate, while he invests those money in other places for a higher return. There are also various types of ARM to “tweak” the amount of payment. The usual scenario is for the buyer to live in the house for however long before the interest rate reset and then sell it.

Essentially, the buyer must understand that by taking an ARM, he is speculating on an appreciating housing market. If he plans to live beyond the expiration of the initial interest rate, he’s betting on a reset to lower percentage for the interest rate. The ideal scenario is either selling the house before the reset at an appreciated price, or staying in the house with a reset to a lower percentage. It’s neither the case for the people with ARM, which brings us to the current situation.

I wonder if the ARM buyers in default or facing foreclosure thought and understood about ARM when they took the loan. I doubt it though. They were too busy marveling at the house that’s too big for them to afford. I also wonder if the banks made sure that buyers understand ARM. I doubt that too. They were too busy adding all the numbers on their quarterly reports.

But then, perhaps ARM will be a good option for me in the next few years?

Originally posted 2007-12-12 23:12:06. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Review What You Need to Do in this Economy – Good hidden in Bad Time, Bad hidden in Good Time

After witnessing much tumbling in the stock market for the past few months, the gain from last six weeks is probably making many people all warm and fuzzy.

I cannot help but feel ambivalent.

On one hand, it is nice to see the numbers going back up when I do my monthly tracking. It makes us feel like we are moving past the bottom of everything (probably not yet).

On the other hand, the problem of excess runs deep into every bones in the economy and financial system. That means to completely get rid of the ill in the system, because it is so large, must take its own time and pace.

Albeit nice to see a recovery now, if there appears to be a recovery so soon, it is most probable that the problem in the system is merely being swept under the rug for a few years — meaning a worse crash in a few years. Not a real recovery. A long bear market to shed the excess in system suddenly seems not so bad in place of a worse crash (implosion of the system) than what we have seen.

That is what I believed anyways.

As a result, I think it is really important to see how things work out this year and plan one’s investing strategy accordingly. If we do recover by the beginning of next year, a bigger crash seems imminent. And what about inflation? It almost seems like there is no place to put our money, but this only means the understanding of the market AND yourself the more important.

At this point in time, if a person truly value [long-term] financial security and personal finance, one must review carefully what is important, and therefore, what is enough in life to decide what to do and then the amount of % in cash, bond, and stock he wants to hold for the years down the road.

What do I really NEED?
What can I live on with? And without?
Does it really take a million?
Do I really need to be completely not working (AKA. retirement)? <-- 'Tis a bigger topic later. What is truly important? Happiness? Peace? Relentless excitement? What does it mean to be healthy? (medical cost) What does it mean to live? Last thing, I believe one must be careful to consider if he wants to fully risk obediently chasing after the ghost of 6-8% average gain in stock market. I thought of this when I kept reading people in their late 40s and 50s losing almost half their portfolio... if they truly had diversified, meaning not holding everything in equity, would they yet lose half their portfolio? I am thinking maybe 30% instead of half. I guess it could be the problem of some fund managers.

Originally posted 2009-04-19 22:27:45. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Pages: Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ... 87 88 89 Next

Subscribe using Email

Get notified of new posts by email.