Several weeks ago, I came across a phrase that seemed sort of ordinary at first. Lately it’s been growing on me—and in a good way.
The three-word phrase is pretty simple: be here now.
As used in the context of the meeting I was attending, it meant that to truly listen to someone else, you have to turn off the mental chatter that often fills our heads and focus exclusively on the person you’re listening to. Listening for words and inflections, observing their posture and gestures, but always doing just one thing: intently listening. (Not that anyone reading this ever lets the chatter drown out another’s voice, but just in case…)
As most of us know, shutting out the chatter isn’t as easy as it seems. At any given time, there can be lots of stuff going on in our lives that begs for our attention. Whether it’s concern about work, finances, partners, the children, health, a busy schedule, (the list goes on), all these things can keep us from being “fully present in the moment,” a phrase I’ve never really liked enough to make it work for me.
But be here now has a different ring to it.
No matter how much my mind wanders, or which thoughts are clamoring for attention, “be here now” brings it right back to, well, the here and now and the place I’m being asked to be.
But the idea has uses beyond listening to others. I had an example of be here now a few days ago when a big deadline loomed. Although I was making progress, I found myself going through a series of distracting “what-ifs” on a variety of subjects, some of which were relevant but most of which were rabbit trails to nowhere.
At some point I just stopped and reminded myself to be here now. The mental clamor stopped, the computer screen became clear and my mind stopped wandering. Be here now.
The phrase is also a reminder to appreciate a moment of beauty, to laugh, to thank someone for their help, or to offer a compliment. As fall approaches, I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunities to enjoy the changing colors and crisp morning air, provided that we be here now.
Give it a try.