a simple reminder to enjoy the present moment
Estimated reading time: 3 mins
Visiting Blue Cliff Monastery, one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s mindful oases, has been one of my favorite experiences during my three years in the US.
Thich Nhat Hanh, often called Thay (Teacher), is a Vietnamese Zen Master who became known in the 1960s, when Martin Luther King nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Since then, Thay has been inspiring millions of people to lead a more compassionate and loving life. He authored over 40 books on mindfulness, compassion, and Buddhism and founded 9 monasteries all over the world.
I was lucky to stay three days at Blue Cliff Monastery. A beautiful community in the middle of Upstate New York’s wilderness.
Going there, which I would recommend to anyone, was remarkably refreshing.
I had the chance to practice true mindful living in a community filled with warm people. I loved that everyone smiled at me every time their eyes met my gaze.
I came out of there so calm, relaxed, and happy.
Blue Cliff also transformed my view of Buddhist Monks. Previously, I had imagined them to be serious, quiet people who wanted to keep to themselves and practice meditation all day.
Instead, what I found at Blue Cliff was happy people, eager to talk, play music, dance, spend time together and play. Oh, they are also amazing plant-based food chefs.
Of all these things, though, what stuck most with me was a simple, three words sentence:
“This is it”
I saw it written on a wall in the meditation hall, and with time, my mind started going back there, trying to truly understand it.
I now try to remind myself of that sentence every day as it helps me enjoy my experience on another level.
That’s how I see it.
“This is it”
This moment, this exact moment, whatever you find yourself doing. That is it. You have arrived. Enjoy!
Our minds constantly look forward to future events, telling us that after this or that happens, we will finally be happy. The truth is that there is only this moment. Now.
If you are not able to enjoy yourself now, you won’t be able to enjoy yourself in the future. But our minds are habit-forming machines and most of us are in the habit of looking forward to future events for happiness. How can we get out of this habit?
Simply get in the habit of reminding yourself:
This is it.
This is the right moment to allow yourself to enjoy.
One of Thay’s most famous quotes is “Present moment, wonderful moment”.
“This is it”, I think, has a similar meaning. But to me, it is much more powerful.
So many times, we are doing things that we’re supposed to enjoy in autopilot mode, passively.
Even when I am doing something that I truly like, my mind tends to think about the next thing I will do, or is craving for that other thing I wish I had.
Now, every time I am doing something that I enjoy, even slightly, I remind myself “This is it”. This is the moment you had been looking forward to, enjoy it damn it! Savor it.
It’s fairly easy to find those kinds of moments in our everyday life:
- Brushing my teeth while listening to chillhop music…This is it
- Taking a warm shower after a workout…This is it
- Lying in bed with my girlfriend…This is it
- Talking on the phone to my sister…This is it
- Sitting down, ready to enjoy a warm cooked meal…This is it
- Enjoying hot tea at home during a snowy day…This is it
I could go on for a while, but you get the gist.
For about a week, I committed myself to pay attention to all the small things in life that I could enjoy (if I pay attention) and wrote them down.
Once in a while I go back to that list, update it, and remind myself of certain activities that I haven’t been enjoying lately.
I even made a wallpaper reminder for my PC and my phone that constantly reminds me.
A simple sentence that, helps me to get back to the present moment and enjoy it to the fullest.
If you’d like to give it a try and download the wallpapers, you can find them here: