The heart of every true spiritual practice is to be present. To be present is to focus your attention right here on this moment and on what you are doing right now. Because this moment is the only moment there ever is, the only moment you will ever have. It is your life. If you are not fully aware of and present in this moment - you miss life. This is the fundamental truth.
Why is it so important to be in the moment? The past does not exist. If you don’t believe it just look around and see if you can find it. There may be results of the past around you but the past itself is not there because there is only the now. Ever. The same applies to the future. See if you can find the future right now. You won’t. Nobody ever has. If the future is here it is the now. Always. The past and future can only be summoned in your mind. A non-reality. Because what is real is only ever here and now. That is why the past can never really hurt you, except if you bring it back into your mind. The same applies to the future. How often have you been scared of a future event and it never came to pass? The only thing that was real was your fear, your suffering, because it was in the now. Unnecessary suffering. How much less suffering would there be without an imaginary future or rehashed past?
If you do not pay full attention to the now but focus on the thoughts in your head, you have lost connection with life, to what is, to reality. To focus on the thoughts in your head is mostly a waste of time. Our mind produces thoughts incessantly. This is what it does. Just like our ears hear or our eyes see. We can choose what we look at or listen to but most people seem to have lost the capacity to control the thinking mind. Just like we seem to have no control over our own heart beating.
If you were to realize that your are not your thoughts but that you just believe you are, your life would change. You would see that the constant commentary in your head is not reality but a by-product of your mind. Something of little or no importance. If you were to learn to use your thinking capacity only when really needed - your life would change. The decisions you’d make in life would have a different quality. The way you handled situations would have a different quality.
Your life would have a different quality - it would be better.