The Tao Te Ching says:
The Tao leader
Lives fully in every moment.
Tao Te Ching, Chapter 14
Poets and artists have always known this lesson. The Tao moment is what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls "flow"—being fully present in the here and now.
Years ago, I learned this lesson in aikido. When we were training, my teacher, Sunny Skys Sensei used to remind students of a Japanese expression: "Tadaima: only now.
We cannot respond well on the mat unless we leave our concerns outside and concentrate on training. Similarly, at work or at home, we cannot respond well unless we are fully present. But being present isn't always easy when memories, worries, and obligations crowd our brains.
If you find your mind being crowded like this, try saying to yourself:
"I'm here now."
Then take a deep centering breath and be here now,
Living fully in this precious moment.
For more about flow, see Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2008). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience New York, NY: Harper Perennial.
An earlier version of this lesson appeared in Dreher, D. (1996). The Tao of Personal Leadership. New York, NY: HarperCollins.