How to Truly Live in the Moment: 5 Spiritual Techniques

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Being able to live in the moment is one of the most important skills we can build to live a joyful life.

It’s especially important right now, when uncertainty is at an all-time high. We don’t know when the pandemic will subside or when life will get back to normal. As a result, it’s all too easy to future-trip and feel anxious about the unknown.

Early in my sobriety, one of the mottos I learned in my recovery group was “One day at a time.” This is a motto that continues to resonate with me and guide my life. In this post, I talk about what it means to me to live in the moment and take life one day at a time.

Letting yourself live in the moment is a relief

When I was first getting sober, “One day at a time” was my mantra. It gave me solace because the idea of never picking up alcohol or drugs again felt overwhelming. I didn’t know how I was going to stay clean and sober. That’s why the concept of staying in the day was such a relief.

Tweet: We can make ‘One day at a time’ our mantra for life — because our presence is our power. @gabbybernstein #spiritjunkie #maycausemiracles

Remembering to take things one day at a time helped me center into the fact that I didn’t have to think about how I was going to handle a friend’s party the next week, or a big function five months away, or the idea of not having a drink at my wedding one day.

All I had to do was keep it in the day. Today was my only concern.

I loved that time. There was so much innocence and peace then because I was able to keep it in the day, focusing on every small, individual action right down to down to brushing my teeth. I stayed in the right now.

It was a really liberating feeling.

When life gets good, we forget to take it one day at a time

After a while of living in the day and being present, I realized that things had gotten pretty good. I got some recovery under my belt and “one day at a time” went right out the window!

Instead of staying in the day, I started future tripping. I was living a month at a time, a year at a time or a project at a time.

Gabby Bernstein in the woods | How to truly live in the momentMany of us can relate to this feeling. We move so fast or get so caught up in our plans and goals that we can’t dwell in the day, much less the moment. Sometimes it seems like the only way we slow down is when tragedy strikes or we hit some kind of bottom.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Living in the moment can be a way of life

Taking things one day at a time doesn’t have to be reserved for when we’re recovering — whether from addiction, loss, trauma or anything else.

We can make “One day at a time” our mantra for life. Because the truth is, our presence is our power. And no matter how magnificent life can be, we still have an ego. The ego is always looking to assert itself; it’s always trying to take us out of the present moment by future tripping or obsessing over the past.

5 ways to live in the moment every day

Let’s all commit to taking things one day at a time, starting right now. Here are some simple practices you can use each day to center into the present.

1. Visualize your day

I honor how I want to feel | The Universe Has Your Back card deck by Gabby BernsteinHere’s one way you can begin: Tomorrow morning, start your day with a vision of how you want the day to unfold. Picture yourself getting on the subway or in your car or on the bus, a smile on your face. Imagine walking into work ready to have a gracious experience and completing your tasks with ease. Imagine greeting your family or friends in the evening.

How do you want to feel? Allow yourself to cultivate the feelings you desire. Dwell in them, knowing it’s safe to feel good.

Hold this vision in the morning and remind yourself to stay in the day throughout the day.

And if a day is too much for you, just keep it in the moment. That can be really profound.

2. Surrender your plans to your inner guide

This is a beautiful practice if you find yourself future tripping or worrying about things that are out of your control. It comes from my book May Cause Miracles.

Begin the day with a surrender prayer. Offer up your plans to the care of your inner guide and state your willingness to listen. Get comfortable in your meditation space and place your palms facing upward — a symbol that you’re willing to receive guidance.

Take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale through your mouth. When you’re ready, read the following passage and then sit for one minute of stillness:

Today I surrender my plans, my will and my fears to the care of my inner guide. I accept that there is a greater plan for me than what my small mind may have had in store. Today I welcome the voice of love to come forward and guide me, teach me, and lead me to a happier state of mind so I can bring more light to the world.

3. Ask for guidance with an affirmation

This is another tip from May Cause Miracles. Use the following affirmation:

Inner guide, I welcome you to show me where to go, what to do and what to say.

State this affirmation throughout the day. Make it your mantra. When you reaffirm your desire to receive guidance and then pay attention, you will be amazed by what comes through!

4. Get grounded anywhere, anytime with a mantra

This is a simple Kundalini practice that you can literally use anywhere, anytime. I love the mantra, which is “Peace begins with me.” You can use this whenever you feel like you’ve been taken out of a peaceful, calm place. Watch below for my guidance:

5. Release judgment all day long

When we say a prayer, we allow our consciousness to receive intuitive guidance | Judgment Detox | Gabby BernsteinAnother powerful affirmation that will help you live in the moment comes from my book Judgment Detox. This is one of the prayers in Step 3:

Today I will judge nothing that occurs.

These seven words are profound. When you say this prayer, you consciously choose to realign your thoughts with love and let the voice of your inner guide lead the way. The more you make this choice, the less you will judge. If judgment, resentment or attack thoughts take you out of the present, repeat this prayer and feel the relief it brings.

You can even set an alarm to go off on your phone throughout the day, labeling it with this prayer. Each time your phone buzzes, recite the prayer silently or out loud and trust that spirit will intervene to restore your thoughts back to love.

Ground yourself in a daily practice with May Cause Miracles

May Cause Miracles by Gabrielle BernsteinIn my book May Cause Miracles, I guide you through a six-week program of adding up subtle shifts for radical change and unlimited happiness!

Each day contains different exercises to help you release fear and invite in spiritual guidance. Exercises like:

  • Empowering affirmations and prayers
  • Guided meditations to ground your intentions
  • Morning and evening reflections to honor your feelings and celebrate your miracles
  • Journaling exercises to let inspiration flow

Check out May Cause Miracles here!

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  1. Dear Gaby, after asking the Universe last Sunday to show me what I needed to see or know, my boyfriend, out of the blue, broke up with me. And allthough he was 20 years younger and had a drugaddiction, he was the sweetest, loving man I have ever met. We had such a deep connection in our music, books, everything was hunky dory . He told me he couldn’t see a future together, he wasnt ready to settle, not now, not in a couple of years. He wanted to be free. That came as a shock. I am so heartbroken. So now, I am scared stiff to surrender to this higher plan of the Universe. (which one? I lost the man I love) and can’t get back to love. The Universe brought me in this state of pain, now, so how can I rely on the Universe? Or is this wrong thinking? I am so sad and scared.

    1. I’m sorry to hear about your break-up, Danielle. Sending you love and compassion during this time. Please know that your willingness to practice spiritual surrender did not cause this break-up. I understand where this is coming from, as we often talk about how we manifest our experiences based on our thoughts and feelings, but this rule does not always apply. Sometimes, Danielle, we are presented with lessons that we did not “attract,” but they are intended for us, anyway, to truly learn the meaning of love and forgiveness on a soul level. If it is challenging you for you to have faith right now, I’d like to share a quote with you by the spiritual teacher, Harold Kushner:
      The God I believe in does not send us the problem; the God I believe in sends us the strength to cope with the problem. May you be blessed with the strength to cope with this break-up and may you be guided to all of the support that you need. Here are some additional resources:

      1. Thank you so much for the reply! A couple days later now I realise I haven’t been truly honest to myself. His drugaddiction made me woried sick actually, in what state I would find him this time again. I was scared to say anything because I would lose him. I would lose these warm tender days when he wasn’t doped out. Now I realize I never set MY boundaries. And that is the story of my life. Now I see a lesson you don’t take always comes back at you till you learn it. I am sad and thankful. Thanks for the support, Gaby and team, you truly are angels.

  2. “Today, I will judge nothing that occurs”. Real difficult to do. I work at not judging. I didn’t realize I often I did this. Thank you for guiding me & bringing me into a more positive light towards my life & others. I am purchasing your 2 books, judgement detox & may cause miracles.

    1. You’re welcome, Patricia. So glad this practice resonates with you. It sounds like you’re doing great work. I hope Judgment Detox and May Cause Miracles serve you. xoxo

  3. Interesting how I needed to hear/read something like that. Well… it resonates well with a song that is ‘playing’ in my head (today) – “Feel this moment” 😉

  4. Gabby’s work is so inspirational to be in touch with my spirituality. She truly gives me guidance in being my best self.

    Thank you

  5. Very cool…such fabulous advice..I did all this while driving for Uber and it was amazing. Living the in moment of pure joy…not driving anymore and this is a great reminder for of asking g a d setting an I tention…how fast we forget..I will now do that while home..blessings.

  6. The “Take one day at a time” has always been my moto for life. Suffering from anxiety and depression and some other chronic illnesses, i never know what the next day holds for me… So learning mindfulness and affirmations has helped me through each day. Thank you for knowing i am doing the right thing everyday.

  7. Thank you! Under all this uncertainty and stress, I have learned to stop and breathe a little more! 🙂 You are a blessing!

  8. Hey!
    Thank you for a very rewarding email.
    I have read 2 of your books now and a third is on the way. The book tip that you gave in this email.
    I am so grateful for these books that have helped me a lot. You are an amazing person and very talented.

  9. Thank you for this, Gabby. The unknown is my kryptonite. I’ve spent over 40 years worrying about the future, whether it be the next week or the next 20 years. I’m a planner and like to be prepared, which is impossible when you can’t predict the future. I live in so much fear and anxiety that I rarely enjoy the present moment. The mental exhaustion has taken a great toll on me. It’s such a challenge to change decades of negative thought patterns. I know it takes practice and I have some good days, but they are fleeting. The tips you provide are so helpful and I have to come back to them every time I’m in that icky headspace. Thank you for what you do and know that your work touches so many of us.

  10. Thanks I needed this with having no work, no income and moving onto my 5th month of being inside due to what is going on. I have tried to do the deep breath work but the anxiety builds up and you become a bit of a crazy person. So thanks again needed this.

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