St Benedict, an Italian monk of the early sixth century and founder of the Benedictine order, had a powerful approach to staying in the present. The word novice comes from medieval Latin, and it means to be a beginner, a person who is new to an activity. St Benedict instructed novices to take a special vow- a vow of fidelity to the moment.
This vow was designed to help support men and women who were embarking on a spiritual journey. St Benedict’s formula is just as relevant and useful as ever. Fidelity to the moment is a deliberate, concentrated attention on what is immediately before you. Focus your full attention on each action, each thought, each feeling, and each sensation. Pay attention to the particularity of the here and now, even in mundane things. For example if you are washing dishes, notice how the soap swirls over the plate. Let go of the modern tendency to do multiple things at once and instead focus on one thing at a time. Try to view dish washing- or any other routine task- as a worthy activity, an end in itself. Notice how quickly you leave the present moment to replay the past or worry about the future. The past is gone, and the future is yet to be. All that exists is now.
To ensure that their focus is never far from the holy now, Benedictine monks return to the church to sing their prayers seven times daily. Similarly, Muslims are called to prayer by the muezzin at special times throughout the day. This is to ensure that one’s focus of energy is never far from the contentment of inner life. Pause throughout your day to notice the fullness of the moment, then carry this fullness back in your wordly activities.
Contentment- a way to true happiness- by Robert A. Johnson & Jerry M. Ruhl