Contemplation and reflection are the substance of the past. Curiosity and wonder pursue the future. However, the present itself, everything in the middle, is often lost on people. To live in the moment could change lives for the better. So why do we lose ourselves in worry and fear of the future or regret of the past? There are advantages, of course, to looking ahead; therein can be found hope. Looking behind, as well, can aid in providing closure and healing. When either is focused upon obsessively, however, it swiftly becomes dangerous to our health, both mentally and emotionally.
So many of us spend too much time reflecting either forward or backward, and it is quite difficult to avoid doing so. To reshape these thought patterns requires true mindfulness. What few people realize is the vast power of the subconscious mind in the formation of our perceptions and judgments. This portion of the brain is responsible for memory and experience storage and accesses the decision-making information more quickly than the conscious mind. Gut decisions are based on the subconscious.
Despite the influence of the subconscious, people still retain the ability to decide upon conscious choices. People process preferences, answer questions, gather information, and communicate, all of which involves processing information daily to make decisions. The mind is perpetually stimulated by the outer world which supplies all manner of sensory details that includes sounds, sights, and a plenitude of uncontrollable factors.
The mind, quite simply, does not like to be still. It prefers to be engaged through the constant absorption of the stimuli surrounding it. Due to this nature, it can be challenging to simply sit in stillness and reflect, just thinking. When people choose to actively focus on the present, they direct both the conscious and subconscious minds back toward present opportunities, people surrounding, and reality in general. However, this generally involves an active decision on the part of people: to focus on the present moment takes effort.
Savoring is a great way to start an active means of thinking. This involves shutting off the constant state of stress many people live in. To combat the mental anxiety borne of focusing on what the future holds and desiring to comprehend the unknown, purely savor the moment while it is happening.