Mindfulness & Awareness

How To Live Moment to Moment

How many times have people said to you, "Live in the moment"? Dr. Ian Ellis Jones explains how mindful living is more than that.

Photo © flickr.com/retiredinwasaga

It is said, quite rightly in my view, that one cannot actually live in the moment. The reason is fairly simple. The so-called "moment" is so brief, so ephemeral, that no sooner has it arrived, it's gone. It's the past. One cannot live in the moment because the moment, although ever-present, is always changing ... into the next moment ... and the next ... and the next! Consciousness is nothing more than awareness from one moment to the next.

Some people criticise mindfulness on the ground that it asserts that one must live in the moment or the now. Not so. Mindfulness is concerned with being present, and living with awareness, from moment to moment, that is, from one moment to the next. Existentially, it is not possible to live in the moment but it is possible to live, and be fully aware, from one moment to the next. That is the important thing.

Mindful living is all from moment to moment ... being aware step by step, breath by breath, thought by thought, feeling by feeling, memory by memory, sensation by sensation, and so forth. Such is the flow of life, for what is life but the ongoing moment-to-moment livingness of living things and beings living out their livingness from one moment to the next.

So, don't try to live in the moment or in the now, well-intentioned though such advice might be. Live, with choiceless awareness and bare attention, from one moment to the next ... and be fully present while you do so.


Dr. Ian Ellis Jones—a meditation specialist, trainer, executive coach and counsellor, and scholar in psychology, philosophy and theology—teaches mindfulness and mindfulness meditation. For more information, visit his blog.