How to Improve Any Moment

By Leo Babauta

The title of this article is a bit misleading, because every moment is already perfect and doesn’t need to be improved. But our experience of the moment can be fraught with difficulty, and we have the power to create a new experience in each moment.

The problems we face stem from our narrative about the moment: we are constantly interpreting things in a certain way, so that we don’t even notice that we have this interpretation or narrative.

For example:

In any moment, we have a narrative about that moment. A story, an interpretation, an evaluation. And that story will determine our experience.

Here’s the powerful thing we can practice:

  1. We can drop the story and just experience the moment, exactly as it is; and
  2. We can create a more powerful story.

Let’s take each of those in turn.

Experiencing the Moment As Is

Right now, take a look around – you are surrounded by air, light, sound, objects, life. This is the moment, just as it is.

Now, you’ll immediately begin to interpret all of that, and create a narrative about it: it’s messy, that person is irritating, you haven’t done certain things, etc.

But what would it be like to just drop that story and see the moment just as it is, without interpretation?

See it with beginner’s mind. With the eyes of a child seeing a cloud or tasting an orange for the first time. As if it were a completely new experience.

You can practice this by going for a walk – on the walk, see if you can experience it afresh, without a narrative or evaluations. Just see the moment. Just experience the world directly, without a layer of interpretation. Bring curiosity to all of it.

The effect of this is to drop the story that creates struggle and suffering. It gives a directness to your experience.

Create a New, Powerful Story

It’s hard to go through life with no story – but there are ones we can bring into the our experience that are helpful, even powerful.

Once we’ve dropped our old story, and just experienced life directly, here are some interpretations that I’ve found to be powerful:

You might have other stories that help you – stories of empowerment, of love, of generosity. After dropping old stories and experiencing the moment directly, try these stories on and see how they affect your experience.

With this kind of practice, you can create a beautiful experience of any moment.