“There is only one time
that is important –
NOW! It is the most
important time because
it is the only time that we
have any power upon.”
As humans we tend to spend a lot of time in the past or the future.
In other words,we are absent from our every day life.
We spend much time thinking about what was and what could have been.
The mind is a noisy place.
We often get lost in thoughts of a remembered past or an anticipated
Whether reminiscing or regretting what has happened, or planning or worrying about what might happen, the past and the future steal our attention away from the present.
We become mentally absent,living on autopilot, forgetting to experience what’s happening right here and now.
And we spend much time projecting into the future and wondering about what may happen.
This way of thinking is indeed a great way to make much of your life a lot more miserable and limited than necessary.
The key to solving this problem is of course to live as much as you can
in the only moment that you ever really live in and control.
This magical moment right now.
The moment that is all there ever was and – probably– will be.
There are more advantages to being in the present moment besides being able to decrease mindmade suffering.
Some of those advantages
•Clarity. When you are living in the present moment, you have a much better focus and things flow naturally out of you.
This is very useful in conversations, at work, while writing or while playing your favourite game on the tennis court.
•Calmness. You feel centred and anchored into the present moment, relaxed in whatever you do you do,and find it more easy to savour this magical moment of your life in calm contemplation.
Since you are not projecting into a possible future or reflecting on previous experiences, there is very little fear holding you back to enjoying your life in the present moment.
If you make it a habit,peace will reign for most part of your life as transient inconveniences are soon swept away from the present moment into your forgotten past in a moment.
•Positivity. Since there is little fear in this present moment, there are few negative emotions when you are in the present.
Instead you move around on the
positive part of the emotional scale.
Now, that sounds nice and useful.
But how can you step away from the thought loops that whirl back and forth through your memories and fantasies?
How do you actually return to the present moment?
More on that later towards the end of this post.
But let’s first look at some challenges of living in the present moment.
You will slip back into involuntarily thinking about the future/ past when you don’t practice to savour the present moment.
But the more time and effort you spend
connecting with the moment, the easier it gets reconnecting with it every time you are dragged into worrying about the past or the future.
And you will find yourself staying there longer with practice.
I have written quite a bit about being present and how it can help you.
Today I’d like to list some of my favourite
benefits of being present.
Many of them relate to or blend into one another.
Now, being present is quite hard to keep up without practising transcendal meditation as well.
In my case,I adopted Buddhist meditation twenty odd years ago,and it has served me well in the practice of savouring the present moment.
As a beginner,you slip back into not being present many times over in the initial stages. And that’s OK.
Don’t beat yourself up for it.
Just accept that you are not present and you’ll feel better and more relaxed for being honest to yourself.
Then it will be easier to slip back into
the present moment again.
Just like with anything else that we pursue in life, going for perfection often just leads to anxiety and beating yourself up.
Going for consistency and improving your consistency gradually – slipping back into old habits less and less – is more useful.
Also, being present isn’t a magic pill that will solve all your problems or “fix you” into an extraordinary happy human being.
But like regular exercise, it can be helpful in several ways such as following:
• Improved social skills.
This may be one of the first things you discover when you start experimenting with being present.
It was for me.
If you have the problem that you get nervous/shy and “don’t know what to say” in a conversation then presence is one solution.
When you are present your head is no longer filled with past scenarios (“what did she mean when she said that?”) or future scenarios (“what will they think if say this?”).
You let go off self- consciousness.
You are just here. That’s all that matters. No anxiety about your being present or being who you are.
All your attention is focused outward towards the person(s) you are interacting with.
You just let things flow out of you.
And in a way of a helpful tip, assuming positive rapport is a way to tap into your presence in conversations.
Assuming rapport means that you pretend that you are meeting one of your best friends,even when that person is a stranger.
Then you start the interaction in that frame of mind instead of the nervous one.
When you’re with your best friends you are probably not thinking ahead that much.
You are just enjoying the interaction, the present moment and all of you just let things flow naturally.
Presence can also help you with listening.
It helps you to decrease the bad habit of thinking about the future and what you should say next while trying to listen. If you are present and really there while listening then that will also come through in your body language, which gives the person talking a vibe and feeling that
you are really listening to what s/he has to say.
Being present also improves your focus and allows you to better tune out possible interruptions or distractions in your surroundings.
I have especially found this one helpful in improving my writing skills,cultivating the spontaneity of my thought-flow and coherence.
If you write or do some other creative work you may have found that your best work flows out of you when you are not thinking that much.
You just write, paint, or act in a play.
You enter a state where things just come to you.
Then later you can come back and edit your work.
This one is similar to the first reason.
Writing is for instance similar to a conversation.
When you are present in a conversation or while writing things it’s often best to not think to far ahead or you start to get self-conscious and second- guessing yourself.
You create mental blocks that stop your creativity from flowing unhindered.
• You appreciate your world more.
One of big advantages of becoming more present in your everyday life is that you decrease the amount of analysing and labelling you do to the things/people in your surroundings.
You don’t judge as much.
This might sound strange but in the moments when you are present the ordinary world becomes more interesting and wonderful.
Colours can seem brighter.
You see more aliveness in trees, nature and in people.
You see the wonder of all your man-made gadgets and stuff.
Things that most often seem common, routine and boring become fascinating and something you can appreciate.
It’s like you are observing your world with more clarity and curiousness.
Like a little kid again,discovering things while they still feel fresh.
Before they have just become walking, talking and growing labels with years of associations and thoughts attached.
Before you actually use this tip though – if you Just think about it in your mind – it may not make that much sense.
• Stress release.
When you are present there is a certain stillness and centeredness inside and around you.
You calm down.
If you are feeling stressed during your normal day then one of my favourite ways to let that go is to take belly breaths and just focus on them for a minute or two.
This pretty much always calms me down.
The breathing with belly seems to calm one down in a physical way.
And by focusing just on the in and out-breaths you connect to the present
moment instead of the past or future scenarios that are making you feel stressed.
•Less worrying and overthinking.
If you are a chronic overthinker that goes round and round in circles in your mind before you ever get anything done then being present is a great release from that. Imprisoning habit that mostly leads to procrastination and delays decision making.
I’m not saying that you won’t slip back into overthinking.
But being present just for a while can help you.
It can allow you to stop worrying about what may happen and just take some action to get started.
It helps you to actually see what happens.
If you’re an overthinker you may find 3 Good Reasons to Stop Thinking So Much, And How to Do It helpful.
This is perhaps the best benefit.
Being present removes the labels you put on people and things– temporarily – and opens you up to see and experience things without your preconceived
I think this is a big part in how being
present helps you in conversations and with your creativity.
You are open to new things as you are
without many of your barriers within your mind.
Things can flow easier through you without all that stuff in the way.
You make things easy on yourself in way.
And you often get better results at the same time.
As you are present you may feel a playfulness arise.
This makes it easier to just do things,especially when you are in company of other people .
When you see things from a playful point of view things become less of a struggle created from within.
You let go of that heavy,overthinking frame of mind.
Everything won’t become super easy to do.
But many things become more enjoyable and easier to do.
They become lighter. Less of a burden.
Kids are often more present and playful.
You can return to that playfulness by connecting with the present.
There are quite a number of ways to return to the present.
You can try a bunch of them out and see
which one(s) that works best for you.
My. favourites at the moment are:
•Focus on your breath.(This one comes from Buddhist meditation practice).
I mentioned this one above as belly-breaths.
You can find a quick guide to belly breathing in my other articles.
•Focus on what’s right in front of you.
Or around you. Or on you. Use your senses. Just look at what’s right in front of you right now.
•Listen to the sounds around you. Feel the fabric of your clothes rustling and focus on how they feel. You can for instance use the heat of the sun or rain or wind and how it feels on your skin to connect with the present.
•Pick up the vibe from present people.
If you know someone that is more present than most people then you can pick his/her vibe of presence (just like you can pick up positivity or enthusiasm from people).
If you don’t know someone like that I recommend listening to/ watching cds/dvds by Eckhart Tolle like ‘Stillness
Speaks’ or ‘The Flowering of Consciousness’.
His books work too. But cds/dvds are better than books for picking up someone’s vibe since the biggest part of communication is voice tonality and body language.
It’s hard to stay present because when you aren’t present, you’re not there
to notice your absence.
But with practice you can awaken to the richness of the present moment and
appreciate your role in it.
Thinking about being present is not a method of being present, so turn off your analytical mind and turn on your observing mind.
Focus on your body, which is always in the present no matter where your mind is.
Or your breath, or your senses, or your surroundings.
Anything that can anchor you in the current moment.
•Through positive acceptance.
In other words,don’t resist the present; embrace it.
As each moment reveals itself to you,
greet it with unhurried appreciation.
Surrender to whatever the moment brings, and be open to the present as it opens into the future.
Love what is, and what is becoming in this present moment of your life.
Inhabit the present more fully by sensing the immediacy of whatever present experience there is, free of yesterday’s regrets and tomorrow’s expectations.
Get out of the there-and-then of
thinking and into the here-and-now of
Welcome each new moment, and dance with it to the rhythm of your present life.
Stop worrying about what others will think of you at this present moment.
See every new moment as an opportunity to embrace your passions, to live in alignment with your values, to fill the present with what matters.
Some people focus on the present, but in the wrong way.
They place too much weight on what
they’re doing today.
But this is future-focus in disguise:by valuing today merely for its perceived
impact on tomorrow.
The results are worry, fear,anxiety
It also makes them focus on only those
aspects of the present that are useful for the future, to the neglect of everything else.
Being present is not overweighting certain aspects of what’s happening now, but connecting more fully with all of it at this present moment.
Treat today as an end, not just a means to some longed-for tomorrow.
Right now, this thing that’s happening is your life.
You have been blessed with this instant, and this one, and this one.
These moments will only
happen once in “NOW”,and not ever again.
Be present for them.
Go ahead and cultivate and awesome life for yourself by living in the present moment!
Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®
Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®