Several buddhist/meditation books recommend me to practice "Mindfulness" or living in the present moment alone.

I am a married man with a 4 yr old son and wife.I am currently working in one of the top 10 IT company in the world.

On any given time I will have a "list of things to do" which are important and which are pending from my side.

So if I ignore my tasks and "live only in the present moment" it will greatly harm me and my family's life. Also how am I supposed to be at peace when all the pending items keep reminding me that they are not yet completed even if I try to calm myself for couple of minutes.

Does this mean that people with lot of responsibilities should refrain from practicing "mindfulness" ?

4 Answers 4


Mindfulness or living in the present moment is not the same as not having goals or responsibilities. Instead it is about doing everything you do with full attention and without judgement.

For example, an active and not very mindful person would drive a car, look at his watch to see what time it is, and nervously think about everything he still has to do today, all three at the same time. A mindful person would drive the car with full attention. When other thoughts pop-up he would accept it and let them just pass by without giving them too much attention. Only when he has arrived at his destination would he actively think about his next activity.

This means that you still can have goals, it's just that you are not (in your mind) busy trying to achieve multiple goals at the same time. Additionally, being mindful also means that you accept whatever happens without judgement. If you accidentally hit another car while driving, you (try to) don't get angry or upset, but instead accept and deal with the consequences of the accident.


From my perspective mindfulness it isn't as easy as just deciding to be mindful much in the same way as meditation isn't as easy as just calming the mind. There is something very tangible that doesn't want to be mindful. Something that likes the chaos and chatter of an unguarded mind. There is some part of us i think that wants to be distracted, to not be here with whatever this is.

For instance my life is probably quite similar to OP's life in some ways. I have a 4 your old daughter. I hold down a job in an IT company that can sometimes be stressful and maybe even overwhelming. I lead a busy life. I do try to practice mindfulness in the everyday as I believe it is a powerful practice. It's a practice I also find difficult. Here is just some areas I have tried (and often failed) to apply a bit more mindfulness

  1. When walking from place to place I try not to habitually put headphones in. As fascinating as the latest podcast is - it isn't the here and now.

  2. When waiting for a train I try not to flick idly through the free paper. Just stand on the platform and if I'm thinking then fine. And if I'm not thinking of anything then even better

  3. When coming how late from work and no-one is around the temptation is almost overwhelming to put the TV on and slump in front of it. I really try (and often fail) to just eat and know that I am eating.

Everyday mindfulness is a fascinating thing. It fascinates me how often I run away from what is actually happening and why I habitually do it.

That said this answer is borne purely out of my own experience. It perfectly possible that everyone else finds mindfulness stunningly easy. I suspect not though - my difficulties might be on the edge of a spectrum but I'm sure I'm not unique.

Good luck with the practice should you decide to take it up.


Activities and other people in life demand attention and energy. One may not always be present during periods of exertion. Yet, one will always be in the present whether or not they are conscious of that fact. "Time is an illusion" was an especially favorite phrase I picked up from Eckhart Tolle's book, The Power Of Now. Clock time is very important and is what we measure our progression against. This should not be mistaken to be real, however. All that has been, is, and will ever be is Now.

Reference: Tolle, Eckhart (2004) The Power Of Now. New World Library; 1ST edition.


I like the book of Sister Chan Kong, "Learning true love" (I've only the german version "Aus Liebe zu allen Wesen"). It is a biographical report about her time in Vietnam and the war-time, when she got in contact with the buddhistic dhamma and buddhistic practice (in contact with the vietnamese monk, the venerable Thich Nhat Hanh). It is, I think, a most impressing example how one can be mindful and still in action for peace, compassion, mutual understanding, de-escalation and social work.

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