In this post, I’m going to be explaining to you why it’s important to be present, the bit where humanity went wrong, steps you can apply to be in the present and what book I recommend reading.

So without further due, lets get right into it…

Why it’s important to be present


It’s really important to be present because it’s the field where the game of life takes place.

Life happens now, not in any other moment.

If you’re not sure about this then just answer this question – What is the alternative to your immediate experience, to this moment?

The answer should be quite obvious – there is no alternative.

 

The only reality there is of the past and future are thoughts in your mind… that’s it!

This can be quite a revelation if you can grasp this.

It’s also important for your health to live in the here and now.

The reason is because when we think too much about the past and future, it can create overwhelm and a whole array of negative emotions.

The human condition – Lost in thought


Most of us spend our entire lives lost in the thoughts of our own minds and if we don’t practice present moment awareness which automatically takes our focus away from the constant stream of thinking, then we will be in a mental prison of thoughts. This is why it is so easy to get lost in our minds because we have no way of grounding ourselves.

We have all been conditioned by the past and this creates a kind of program in our minds and we believe we are this program and in doing so, we give full power over to it.

Just because you have been conditioned to be a certain way, doesn’t mean that this conditioning is who you are.

When we believe strongly in our thoughts, feelings and beliefs, this gives them power and makes it even more difficult to be aware and present.

Thinking literally becomes a dis-ease when we allow it to control our lives.

When you have no control over your mind, life will be and feel very chaotic.

The thing is we think we are our minds  and as we believe this it becomes very difficult to see a problem because how can you fix a problem that you can’t see? – you can’t!

The truth is we are not our minds. The mind is just a tool that we can either use for our advantage or in many people’s cases, unconsciously use it against us.

This is not a judgement I am making against other people, I have no interest in judgement as I know it doesn’t serve me in anyway.

The most important thing we can do is to become present as often as possible so we can be aware of the thoughts and emotions we are experiencing and question their validity.

Below are 5 steps to becoming more present.

The 5 steps


Before I go through the 5 steps, please understand that there is no precise order.

You can go through the steps however you wish.

Here they are…

Be aware of your breath –  This step is pretty straight forward, just focus on your breathing without trying to control it. Using less and less effort will automatically put you in that effortless and peaceful state.

Think about it, by applying more and more effort to stuff, it’s going to be much harder to achieve the effortless state.

However, focusing on your breath can be easier said than done, so whenever you feel your attention pulled away to some thought, feeling or external distraction, don’t argue with this and just effortlessly return your attention back to the breath.

Focus on yours sense perceptions – I found a great bit of text from the book “Practicing The Power Of Now By Eckhart Tolle.

“Use your senses fully.

Be where you are. Look around. Just look, don’t interpret. See the light, shapes, colors, textures.

Be aware of the silent presence of each thing. Be aware of the space that allows everything to be. Listen to the sounds; don’t judge them. Listen to the silence underneath the sounds.

Touch something – anything – and feel and acknowledge its Being. Observe the rhythm of your breathing; feel the air flowing in and out, feel the life energy inside your body.

Allow everything to be, within and without. Allow the ‘isness’ of all things.

Move deeply into the now.”

Practice acceptance – Just drop the baggage, resistance to certain situations, people, thoughts, emotions etc, will only hold you back in life and keep you in a cycle of perpetual suffering and nobody wants that.

The quickest way to practice acceptance is just to allow everything to be as it is without trying to change anything… of course certain external situations/events will require action to change, but here I’m talking about thoughts and emotions.

There is honestly no point trying to change your thoughts + emotions or stop them because you’ll just create inner conflict and resistance.

If you give “things” freedom to be as they are, you will be rewarded with freedom yourself – don’t overlook this step because it is incredibly powerful.

Practice NO MIND –  You can practice no mind by asking yourself “I wonder what my next thought is going to be?” and just wait for the next thought. I use a timer and time it for 30 seconds, I suggest you do this too but start with something like 15 seconds and then once you get better at holding no thoughts, put up the time to 20, 25, 30 and so on.

Doing this will train your mental muscles like you would with your body working out in a gym.

Meditate – I love this one, I love it because it is so easy and so relaxing.

Forget about doing mantras or focusing on an object, just close your eyes and let everything be.

Remember what I said just a minute ago – If you give “things” freedom to be as they are, you will be rewarded with freedom yourself – don’t overlook this step because it is incredibly powerful.

Now I’m not saying that doing mantras or focusing on an object is wrong, I just think it uses up to much effort and isn’t really necessary.

Techniques will not help you become peaceful, they will at first but it won’t last because it will need continuous maintenance.

*Bonus steps* – Stop looking at clocks as much as possible because looking at clocks keeps you out of the moment and focused on time. Of course it’s important to make arrangements using time, but to constantly keep checking the clock/time is a habit which will make you unconscious of the now.

How many times do you check the time each day?  I’m betting quite a few!

Ask yourself – “Am I present now?” as many times throughout the day, asking this question will train your mind to be in the present… how cool is that?

What I recommend reading


As you’re getting in to the practice of becoming more present, I suggest checking out a book called The  Power Of Now for obvious reasons… the title gives it away doesn’t it?

Being here now is where the power lies.

Not drifting your attention in thoughts about the past or future. Of course it is perfectly okay to set goals and think about the future, but when you have come up with a plan and you know where you’re going, it’s crucial that you bring your focus back to the moment to keep you grounded and not get lost in thought.

Not all of that book is applicable but there are certainly some very good exercises and meditations to practice from it.

It’s more of a realization book than a practice one.

I had many realizations whilst reading through the power of now. Realizations like the now is all there ever is, psychological time – past & future keeps suffering in place, how surrender is actually ultimate power and not weakness like we believe it to be and many more.

It will completely change your perspective on life in a very enlightening way… let’s just say that! =)

You can read my own personal review of the power of now right here.

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I trust you enjoyed reading this article and you know understand how important it is to create a habit of focusing your attention in the NOW and keep practicing being present.

Consciousness or unconsciousness? – it is now your choice

Don’t forget to share this post with others and leave a comment below if you have any more questions about being present.

Thanks

Peace & Love =)

Lawrence

 

 

 

 

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10 Thoughts on “How to Be In the Present – 5 Steps”

  • This article is really relevant to me. I have lots of baggage from the past and also concerns about the future. I’ll try to practice the 5 steps that you mentioned.

    Regarding ‘Practice NO MIND’, do you mean not to think of anything during that time?

    • Hey Yvonne =)

      Don’t hold any thought for just 15 seconds? See if you can do it and keep practicing it. Once you can bring it in easily on demand for 15 seconds, put the time up to 20 and so on.

      This will create gaps in your mind and you will experience your natural state more often.

  • I love this post about how to be in the now and I will tell you exactly why.

    I am a drug addict and an alcoholic, I am 8 years clean and in recovery.

    Being in the here and now is a skill that I had to learn in order to recover. As an addict in active addiction I was always focused on the past or the future but never able to truly enjoy any moment in the present.

    I was constantly obsessing about my next fix, so that was being focused on the future… or I was obsessing about the things I did in the past.

    It is only when I managed to truly sit with myself, with my feelings and just be in that moment that I started to become happier.

    I always need to stay in the moment, focus on the thing I am busy with.

    • Lynne – I’m so happy to hear you’re 8 years clean and in recovery, this is a massive achievement and you should be very proud of yourself =)

      I’m also happy that you’ve become aware of the present moment and made it your new home.

      Thanks

  • Hi Lawrence,

    Most of our stress and depressive thoughts come from worrying of the future and holding on to past thoughts. Neither helps us in accomplishing anything, except causing more agony to us.

    Learn from the past, plan for the future and live right now is what I strive to do every day. And I believe that’s what mindfulness is all about.

    Cheers,
    Kenny

  • I love your list of suggestions, especially asking what your next thought will be. I have not tried that one before! I also love how contagious your enthusiasm is. I am a big fan of meditation, and just reading your insights has me all giddy to practice all day. Keep up the good work!

    • Hey Jessica =)

      It’s great to know that you like my list of my suggestions.

      Trust me, asking what your next thought will be is incredibly powerful, even though it might not seem it.

      It creates that empty, creative space.

      Thanks =)

  • Hello Lawrence, that’s a nice piece. Well I think I’m a victim of living in the past and the future. Sometimes I’m so disturbed of what will happen in the future if I do this now or when I’m facing a particular struggle I blame my past but with this I can focus on the present and try to be more proactive and complain less. Thanks for this piece.

    • Hey mate! =)

      It’s great to hear you enjoyed reading this article.

      I think we all are from time to time, but what makes the difference is consciously becoming aware of the moment and having that diligence to stay in the moment.

      Like everything in life, it’s a consistent practice but the rewards are endless =)

      Thanks

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