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.
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.
Peace & Love =)