Moment to Moment

Mindfulness and mindfulness meditation have been around for a while now, with more and more practitioners finding value in living in the moment, not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. As one convert put it, “I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find out I didn’t show up for it. The mindfulness movement is growing, both in our personal lives as well as in the workplace.

Some wonder why mindfulness hasn’t caught fire more rapidly. I wondered too, before I read an interesting piece in the New York Times entitled, “We Aren’t Built to Live in the Moment.” The writers lay out a good case for why we don’t embrace mindfulness more enthusiastically, and it goes directly to what makes us human. Here’s part of what they say:

What best distinguishes our species is an ability that scientists are just beginning to appreciate: We contemplate the future. Our singular foresight created civilization and sustains society. It usually lifts our spirits, but it’s also the source of most depression and anxiety, whether we’re evaluating our own lives or worrying about the nation. Other animals have springtime rituals for educating the young, but only we subject them to “commencement” speeches grandly informing them that today is the first day of the rest of their lives.

A more apt name for our species would be Homo prospectus, because we thrive by considering our prospects. The power of prospection is what makes us wise. Looking into the future, consciously and unconsciously, is a central function of our large brain, as psychologists and neuroscientists have discovered — rather belatedly, because for the past century most researchers have assumed that we’re prisoners of the past and the present.

You can read this interesting article here.