On one of the window sills, next to my office desk, sits a small plaque with the words “Be Here Now.” I placed it there as apersonal continual reminder to stay in the moment.  Being present is a challenge for me and I suspect I am not alone. Meditation can be a tool to help us learn how to be present or in the moment. 

Some of the benefits of meditation include the reduction of stress and improvement of the symptoms related to stress such as post-traumatic stress disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia, improved cognitive functioning that can reduce the likelihood of dementia, lower blood pressure, reducedanxiety and depression symptoms (UC Davis Health 2022). Also, practicing meditation has been found to improve relationships and reduce emotional deregulation (National Institute of Health, 2012). 

Meditation is a simple but difficult practice to cultivate.  Some of us may struggle with what is called monkey mind where our minds jump from thought to thought. Often our thoughts may take us to the past thinking that maybe we could have donesomething better or perhaps differently. The thought may contain some sense of regret. We may even ruminate over something that has already happen even though there is nothing that can be done about it. Sometimes we may follow our monkey mind into the future, thinking, even ruminating over things that have not happened and may never happen. Giving our attention to thoughts in the past and or to future removes us from the present moment.

There are numerous kinds of meditation practices. Here are a few suggestions on how to do a breath meditation. First find aplace free of a lot of distractions. Sit comfortably. Close your eyes. Intentionally focus on the present moment without judgment. When thoughts of the past or future or of judgment arise simply acknowledge them and let them pass like leaves floating on a river and come back to the present moment. Focusing on the breath can be one way to help bring us back to the moment. It might be helpful to silently verbalize the words “Breath in, Breathe out.” Try not to get frustrated if your mind keeps getting caught up in thoughts, everyone has the same struggle. Take small steps. Try meditating for five minutes or perhaps just for one minute.

The only moment we have is the one we experiencing right now.Fortunately, it is the only moment we need. Feel free to join me as I continue to try to “Be Here Now.”

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Paul Bokker Ph.D., LPC/S, NCC, BCC, NBC-HWC, BC-TMH