Helping women reconnect with their body and achieve well-being

The Medicine of The Present Moment

Jun 18, 2023 | Mindfulness | 0 comments

Do you feel distracted?

In the last five years, I have been engaged in rigorous training in clinical herbalism. The training required all my attention, but I often found my brain wandering while listening to a lecture or reading an article to the point that I thought I had ADHD.

I started to observe my mind while doing other activities; meditating, driving, listening to a podcast or a book, walking, etc. I found that my mind is in constant motion and lacks a pause button.

What happens in your brain when your mind wanders?

When your mind wanders, the default mode network is activated. The default mode network is a network of brain regions that connect different areas of the brain that tend to work together and that is focused on: 

  • Your ability to reason about the beliefs and mental states of others, including empathy and compassion.
  • Sense of self as a separate being from others.
  • Your mental time travel capsule that remembers the past and projects into the future.
  • Your capacity to daydream.
  • Plays a role in creativity.

At its core, the default mode network processes the most abstract process distinct from our body’s sensation in the presence. 

Where do you go when you ruminate?

When I get lost in my brain, I visit three countries:

  • The past
  • The future
  • Dreamland 

“There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday, and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do, and mostly live.”

-Dalai Lama

The past

Do you know the feeling of looking back at a past event and saying to yourself, “I should have….”. Whatever you think you should have said or done, there is no turning the wheel back. 

“Regret is a form of punishment itself.”

~ Neuman Ali Khan

Looking at past experiences with a growth mindset and compassion can serve your unfolding journey. Beating yourself up for the past doesn’t change the past or benefit the present.

Another way to gaze into the past is with nostalgia. Nostalgia is emotional longing, a state of mind of being separated from reality out of reach. There is an inherent feeling of frustration in nostalgia, of wishes that can never be fulfilled. This makes us vulnerable to leaders or gurus that promise to bring back the past with all its glory.

The Future

Fear and hope are the most common feelings associated with imagining the future. 

Mark Twain famously said:

“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”


Did you ever look into an upcoming event with dread to find that it wasn’t that bad? It happens to me every time I visit the dentist’s office. 

Hope can be beneficial if it motivates you to take action to achieve your goals. But if hope keeps you unsatisfied with your life at the moment, then hope is hollow. It creates a hole in your heart that you might try to satisfy by addiction to TV, social media, shopping, or substances like drugs and alcohol.


When I visit dreamland, the chasm between the present moment and my state of mind is vast. Dreamland is so out of reach that there is no motivation to move forward and try to reach the promised land. It is so far-fetched that it’s depressing. 

Why is it so hard for us to be in the present moment?

Part of why it is so hard for us to be in the present moment is because the brain’s default mode is ruminating. Which means less energy exertion. For us to be in the present moment requires effort. It is a muscle that needs to be strengthened through training. 

We also tend to avoid the present moment because it is physically and mentally painful. If you have ever tried to meditate, you know that once you “sink” into the present moment, you start to feel uncomfortable in your body. Small sensations that you never noticed before are amplified, becoming very distracting. 

The medicine of the present moment

Living in the present moment is beneficial because it:

  • increase happiness, contentment, and quality of life.
  • Increase sensations of pleasure.
  • Reduce negative moods and emotions.
  • Improve weight management.
  • Improve mental clarity.
  • Boost immune function.
  • Enhance the ability to empathize with others.
  • Increase concentration.
  • Decrease anxiety.
  • Enhance emotional management.
  • Increase resilience to stress.

How to call upon the medicine of the present moment?



Breathing is a very unique activity that the body is engaged in. On the one hand, we can not live without breathing, so breathing is an activity that the body does for us without needing to be conscious of it. On the other hand, we can control and manipulate our breathing. 

Breathing meditation can help calm a racing mind and reduce anxiety by helping you ground your monkey chatter into the body.


productivity sign

You are usually engaged in more than one activity at a time. Listening to the radio while driving, watching TV while eating, and scrolling on social media while standing in line in the supermarket are routine things we do without questioning ourselves. 

Research suggests that multitasking distracts us, making focusing, regulating our emotions, and remembering challenging.

If you are engaged in a repetitive, mindless activity such as commuting to work or weeding, listening to an inspiring podcast, or book is beneficial, but reducing the load on your brain by lowering distraction can reduce stress. 

Mindful movement

E-motions are energy that moves through your body and is released by movement. Mindful movement can help 

  • get in touch with your emotions and release them
  •  connect to breathing
  • root you in your body 
  • allow you to be present at the moment with your body’s sensations. 



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Love, Lior

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Disclaimer: This document is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. You can view my full disclaimer here.

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