Being Present

Being Present

Blog Post 38 - Photo 1


Around a month ago, several of my friends celebrated Ash Wednesday and introduced me to Lent. According to them, you can either give up something or choose to do something for forty days. While I probably should have chosen to give up dining hall cookies, I decided that I was going to meditate for ten minutes every day. I had not had any previous experience with meditation, so I set a short time frame that seemed doable. Although I failed miserably and only made it through three days of Lent, I tried something new that involved a bit of spiritual reflection.

I chose meditation as my designated activity because I have been intending to read the book, The Power of Now, since last semester. The book, which was on Oprah’s recommendation list, emphasizes the significance of being present in the moment and conscientiously avoiding worrying about the past or future. While browsing through information about the book, I can across a 10-minute guided meditation video on the author’s YouTube Channel, saving it in my “watch later” playlist until Lent.

Having very little knowledge and past experience with meditation, I did a little ‘googling.’ Mindful meditation is where you focus on one thing, like your breathing. This type of meditation focuses your mind strongly on one point and brings your attention back whenever your attention wanders. For me, this exercise seems to strengthen my ability to concentrate by ‘teaching’ my brain to maintain focus. In today’s constantly connected, information-laden world, where there exist a myriad of distractions, being present is becoming increasingly difficult. I am guilty of constantly multitasking, particularly when my phone is around, which I assume can’t be good for my brain as it strains to process a million things at the same time.

It makes sense that willfully focusing on a single task, namely the one in front of me, would boost productivity and improve performance, but more importantly, it would also reduce an immense amount of mental stress.

Although I have only just begun reading the book, the author focuses on “being,” which I think could potentially be an important leadership and teamwork trait. As a reporter and layout editor for my school newspaper, I quickly learned that, when collaborating with others, being present is the difference between hearing and listening and, in the face of constant, down-to-the-wire deadlines it can mean working effectively versus losing valuable time due to distractions. I am planning to give meditation another try, with high expectations that honing my concentration skills will ensure success on my next attempt at Lent.


Image from:

Comments are closed.