The Art of Happiness – Thoughts on Being Present

Being Present in the now

Some beautiful quotes on being present – I enjoyed reading these and being reminded that being present is a fundamental practice in all wisdom teachings and cultures !

“Practicing presence . . . punctures the fantasy that somehow life will begin when the kids’ soccer season is over or when I lose ten pounds or when I get over this cold or even when I take that meditation course and learn how to be more present! Practicing presence is bringing ourselves to the recognition that life is happening right now – and it is inviting us to wake up and notice.” – Abby Seixas in Finding the Deep River Within

“Be here now. Be someplace else later. Is that so complicated?” – David Bader


“Let’s go somewhere fun and not really experience it”. – caption in a New Yorker cartoon


“Between now and now there is only now.” – Grover Gaunt III


With practice, you can affirm the truth of this sacred instruction:

“Be still and know that I am God.

Be still and know that I am.

Be still and know that I.

Be still and know.

Be still.



“It would be very good if we would wake up before we die”. – Hindu Saying


“Nothing happens next. This is it.” – Gahan Wilson


“There is nothing better for you than to rejoice in every deed done in harmony with the moment”. – Ecclesiastes 3:21


“All you need is deep within you waiting to unfold and reveal itself. All you have to do is be still and take time to seek for what is within, and you will surely find it.” – Eileen Caddy


“What would it be like if you lived each day, each breath, as a work of art in progress? Imagine that you are a masterpiece unfolding, every second of every day, a work of art taking form with every breath.” – Thomas Crum


“The present moment is where life can be found, and if you don’t arrive there, you miss your appointment with life. You don’t have to run anymore. Breathing in, we say, “I have arrived.” Breathing out, we say, “I am home.” ” – Thich Nhat Hanh


“When we let go of our battles and open our hearts to things as they are, then we come to rest in the present moment. This is the beginning and end of spiritual practice. “- Jack Kornfield


“How much of your life do you spend looking forward to being somewhere else?” – Mathew Flickstein (Journey to the Center)


“The essence of our experience is change. Change is incessant. Moment by moment life flows by and it is never the same. Perpetual alternation is the essence of the perceptual universe. A thought springs up in your head and half a second later, it is gone. In comes another one, and that is gone too. A sound strikes your ears, and then silence. Open your eyes and the world pours in , blink and it is gone too. People come into your life and they leave again. Friends go, relatives, die. Your fortunes go up, and they go down. Sometimes you win and just as often you lose. It is incessant: change, change, change.” – Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, Mindfulness in Plain English


“The more and more you listen, the more and more you will hear. The more you hear, the more and more deeply you will understand.” – Khyentse Rinpoche


“When you walk across the fields with your mind pure and holy, then from all the stones, and all growing things, and all animals, the sparks of their souls come out and cling to you, and then they are purified and become a holy fire in you.” – Hasidic Teaching


“The mystery, the essence of all life is not separate from the silent openness of simple listening.” – Toni Packer


“Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you are going to do now and do it.” – William Durant


“We collect data, things, people, ideas “profound experiences,” never penetrating any of them … But there are other times. There are times when we stop. We sit still. We lose ourselves in a pile of leaves or its memory. We listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper.” – James Carroll


“I have an existential map. It has “You are here” written all over it.” – Steven Wright


“To a mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.” – Chang Tzu


“If you miss the here, you are also likely to miss the there.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn


“Live now. Procrastinate later”. – Karen Salmansohn


“Normally, we do not so much look at things as overlook them.” – Alan Watts


“All negativity is caused by denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future and not enough presence. Presence is the reality that dissolves the illusion of the past and the future.” – Eckhart Tolle

“In order to be utterly happy the only thing necessary is to refrain from comparing this moment with other moments in the past, which I often did not fully enjoy because I was comparing them with other moments of the future.” – Andre Gide


“I was regretting the past and fearing the future. Suddenly God was speaking. “My name is ‘I am.’”I waited God continued.“When you live in the past, with its mistakes and regrets, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not ‘I was.’“When you live in the future, with its problems and fears, it is hard. I am not there. My name is not ‘I will be.’“When you live in this moment, it is not hard. I am here. My name is ‘I Am.” ” – Helen Mallicoat


“Without judgment, thoughts are less sticky. You can relax and notice how they float through the clear blue sky of your natural mind . . . Meditation is about making the shift from identifying with the changing clouds to resting in the spacious sky out of which they come and into which they fade away again. The sky is pure Being, the experience of Now . . . In those precious moments of Now, your whole self becomes a big, generous Thank You.” – Joan Borysenko (Inner Peace for Busy Women)


“If you’re at the sink washing the cup, wash the cup. Don’t worry about everything else . . . . we forget to appreciate the simplest moments of the day, the sublime in the ordinary.” – Julia Roberts


“Spirituality isn’t about ritual, or affirmations, or dogma, or belief, or feelings. Spirituality is about paying attention.” – Rabbi Rami Shapiro


“Learning to live in the moment is sort of like getting behind the wheel of a car for the first time, All of a sudden, you’re in charge of where the vehicle will take you. As you become more proficient in living in the moment, you’ll be able to decide, moment to moment, what your experience of life will be.”- Richard Carlson


“The miracle comes quietly into the mind that stops an instant and is still.” – Author Unknown


“There are so many daily aggravations – traffic jams, waiting in line, poor service in a store or restaurant – any one of which can disconnect us from the present moment in a black cloud of frustration or rage . . . but is it the external experiences that do it to us, or the way we react?”


“We get caught in the belief that this is not quite it.”– Dasaath


“There is never time in the future in which we will work out our salvation. The challenge is in the moment; the time is always now.” –  James Baldwin


“It is not about letting go of anything. It is about letting everything be”. – Josh Baran


“As long as you are trying to be something other than what you actually are, your mind wears itself out.”– J. Krishnamurti


“Bliss, the sages tell us, is not a thing to be acquired, conquered, or possessed by outer means; rather, it is an ongoing experience to relax into.” – Laurence G. Boldt


“If you expect your life to be up and down, your mind will be much more peaceful.” – Lama Yeshe


“We are what we practice. If we become angry a lot, then essentially we are practicing anger. And we become quite good at it. Conversely, if we practice being joyful, then a joyful person is what we become. We are what we practice. Each of us must consciously decide who and what we want to be – or the circumstances of our life will choose for us.” – Avram Davis


“After a few years of meditation practice, we can even learn how to occasionally ignore ourselves. And what relief that can be! “– Wes Nisker


“One great thing about growing old is that nothing is going to lead to anything. Everything is of the moment. ” – Joseph Campbell


“This tendency for the mind to roam here and there and away from the moment is simply what minds do. But there is also an assumption implicit in the pull towards the past or future and away from the present that some other time must be more important than this moment. This underlying belief that the grass is always greener on the other side of here and now effectively blocks presence.” – Abby Seixas in Finding the Deep River Within


“When I am anxious it is because I am living in the future.  When I am depressed it is because I am living in the past.” – Author Unknown


“When you stop comparing what is right here and now with what you wish were, you can begin to enjoy what is.” – Cheri Huber


“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry Thoreau


“We do not see the world as it is. We see it as we are.” – Anais Nin


“It is easy to capture a bandit in the mountains; it is difficult to catch the thief in the mind.” – Wang Yangming


“Well, let’s stop arguing – we’re both here now.” –  Egg to chicken in New Yorker cartoon


“Presence teaches that what you do today is important, because you are trading a day of your life for it. “– Dan Millman


“We complicate moments. Hardly anything happens without the mind spinning it up into an elaborate production. It’s the elaboration that makes life more difficult than it needs to be.”– Sylvia Boorstein


“The whole world is you. Yet you keep thinking there is something else.” – Hsueh-Feng


“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”– Max Planck


“Most of the thoughts that rob one of serenity have to do with being upset about the past and feeling anxious about the future. When you master the ability to live totally in the present and you are able to be calm about that present, you will have mastered serenity. One needs to plan ahead. This is one definition of a wise person. Do so serenely in the present.” – Rabbi Zelig Pliskin