"We've talked about taking an ordinary, familiar moment and finding new ways to appreciate it. To take that presence to another level, we try to string these moments together, so that we're not picking and choosing certain walks or dishwashing episodes to make special — we're elevating our awareness of every moment, at every moment.
"We're all familiar with the idea of being in the moment. It's not hard to see that if you're running a race, you won't be able to go back and change how fast you ran at Mile 2. Your only opportunity to succeed is in that moment. Whether you are at a work meeting or having dinner with friends, the conversations you have, the words you choose — you won't ever have another opportunity just like that one. In that moment you can't change the past, and you're deciding the future, so you might as well be where you are. Kalidasa, the great Sanskrit writer of the fifth century, wrote, 'Yesterday is but a dream. Tomorrow is only a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope.'
"We may all agree that living in the present makes sense, but the truth is that we're only willing to have selective presence. We're willing to be present at certain times — during a favorite show or a yoga class, or even during the mundane task we've chosen to elevate — but we still want to be distracted when we choose to be distracted. We spend time at work dreaming about going on a beach vacation, but then, on the beach, long awaited drink in hand, we're annoyed to find that we can't stop thinking about work. Monks learn that these two scenarios are connected. A desired distraction at work bleeds into unwanted distraction on vacation. Distraction at lunch bleeds into the afternoon. We are training our minds to be where we physically aren't. If you allow yourself to daydream, you will always be distracted.
"Being present is the only way to live a truly rich and full life."