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The art of being present

Opinion & Analysis
Goals are invaluable and it is advisable for everyone to have a set of goals and pursue them.

MOST of us are never fully present in the now because subconsciously, we believe that the next moment is more important than the present.

With this thinking, you miss experiencing your whole life, which is never not “now”.

Goals are invaluable and it is advisable for everyone to have a set of goals and pursue them.

Our goals help us better navigate life as we pursue our purpose.

By their nature, goals tend to be set in the future.

Memories on the other hand are our recollection of past events.

We often reminisce about our experiences, fondly remembering some and unfortunately regretting others.

A wise man plans for his future while simultaneously reflecting on experiences and learning from them.

As we make our plans, it is imperative that we avoid neglecting the present.

Constantly living in the future can create worry and anxiety.

Likewise, ruminating on past experiences and events can brood regret, shame, guilt or dissatisfaction.

We will forever live our life in the present, therefore, as we plan for the future, we should enjoy the richness and beauty of the present.

“The more you live in the present moment, the more the fear of death disappears,” said German-born spiritual teacher and self-help author Eckhart Tolle.

When we practise mindfulness, we become aware of our internal state as well as our surroundings.

This helps us to manage stress, cope better with serious illness and reduce anxiety and depression.

To assist you in accomplishing mindfulness, I recommend adopting the following habits:


It is unfortunate how underrated meditation is.

Meditation is a practice that involves focusing or clearing your mind using a combination of mental and physical techniques.

A simple technique is mindful breathing whereby you focus on your breath, that is the process of inhaling and exhaling.

In a quiet and comfortable space, inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds and exhale for eight seconds (or longer if you can).

Repeat these actions for a few minutes.

As you do this exercise, avoid using your phone or any other distractions. If you feel your thoughts drifting, gently guide them back and focus on the exercise.

Embrace impermanence

Everyone and everything is subject to change. We should practise mindfulness through cultivating gratitude for the present moment.

Pay attention to the present, be self-aware and focus on changing what is in your sphere of influence.

Oftentimes after incurring a great loss, like the passing on of a loved one, we regret not spending time with them or telling them we loved and appreciated them greatly.

Call a loved one today, be it a significant other, a mother, father, family member or a friend. Let them know you value and appreciate them.

Learn to let go

No matter how often we think about it, we cannot change the past.

If you have any past regrets, forgive yourself and let them go. If you also hold grudges, forgive and let those go too.

“Resentment is an extremely bitter diet and eventually poisonous. I have no desire to make my own toxins,” said Welsh politician who was Leader of the opposition and leader of the Labour Party from 1983 to 1992, Neil Kinnock.

Do not be attached to people or things. Embrace what is around you, make new memories and embrace new encounters.

Practise acceptance

Acknowledging things as they are frees you from constantly trying to manipulate the world around you.

Where you cannot control the passing of time, you can control how you spend it.

Spend more time directing your energy inwards and seeking peace.

Embrace uncertainty as an opportunity for growth. You are going to get many things wrong in life, what matters is what you do next.

Finally, in the words of the Dalai Lama, “There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow. Today is the right day to believe, love, do and mostly live.”

Do not let the uncertainty of the future or regrets from the past hinder you from enjoying life today.

  • Rutendo Kureya is a medical student at Saint Petersburg State Paediatric Medical University, Russia. She is passionate about issues concerning the state and welfare of fellow Zimbabweans. She can be reached at [email protected]Mobile: +7 996 274 98 66 Facebook: Rutendo Kureya. She writes here in her personal capacity.

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