The mind relies on what it can process now

Published 9:10 am Friday, April 30, 2010

You have just arrived home from work, your stomach is in need of food, and you have yet to enjoy the remainder of warm daylight. Everything you were looking forward to today appears to have come and gone. Yet, maybe you have overlooked your bearings and can, in fact, put a halt to all things slipping away by recognizing the present moment; now.

You have allowed yourself to sink into a comfortable routine and believe that you can complete all tasks with one quick, scattered motion, but if you are working on bits and pieces of all these things at once, then what will be completed, and when?

After many of these instances, I have come to believe that every moment counts and feel that it can extend and continue the life we claim to be so short. Living in the present moment provides clarity in an ever-constant routine. Focusing on the present moment takes practice, patience and peace of mind, even at times when plans are interrupted or abundant. In times of interruption or much demand, we must focus not on what has become disrupted, but on what is being demanded, now.

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As a member of the girls’ high school varsity soccer team, I was placed in this unplanned circumstance — a section final soccer shootout. The game was tied and had led to this shootout, which also led to a tie of goals shot, and I was the last kicker. The chance to make it to the state tournament for the second year in a row, in part, lay in my shot.

Up to that moment my team and I had enjoyed discovering where the joys of the game lay, but when it came to that second in time at which I was forced to act as an individual, a new outlook was demanded. Standing at the white painted penalty-shot line, accompanied by an alert goalie facing me and an anxious crowd in the stands, I had to focus on exactly what was needed to score this goal. I could not allow any external distractions and there was no time to ask for, or trust in any other thought but my own. I quickly made my best decision and took the shot. In a moment’s time I had taken action and scored the goal, sending us to the state tournament.

We may not always recognize or necessarily find reason in the events mysteriously placed before us, but the practice of the mind focusing on one particular object or task at one particular moment may provide a new outlook, sparking new opportunity. The power of the mind at present cannot change things for us that have already past or are going to happen in the future.

The power of the present mind relies on what it can process now. If it is lost in future or past thoughts, then what is it useful for now? Where does this very moment go?

Every moment of decision and action contains an experience to be remembered, but we must act now in order to create a memorable experience.

With this outlook I have learned not to dwell entirely on past problems or worry about what is going to happen in the near future. I have instead focused my thoughts on the observation of objects at hand and events occurring now in order to make the best decision. This, in turn, has also provided me with a new, less stressed enthusiasm for everyday things such as a routine day of school, or sports or performing arts practice. I believe that every day is filled with new moments for new experience.

So the next time you are racing through a hectic schedule or your plans have been disrupted, remember to stop and focus on what the very moment demands and allow the rest to come in due time. If we act accordingly, our thoughts may no longer be as scattered and lost, but in control and memorable.

Mariah Maras is a senior at Albert Lea High School. She is a member of Paths to Peace of Freeborn County.