The opposite of being present in our work, relationships, or any part of our everyday lives is to be scattered. When we allow ourselves to be scattered in what we are doing, then it’s not only hard to find clarity and stay focused, it’s also challenging to keep our stress levels in check.
So why is it that so many people seem to find it hard to simply be more present in their lives?
I like to think of it this way, we live in an unprecedented age of disruption. It’s easy than ever now for us to be plugged into our friends, family, work, and social tribes and the price we appear to be paying is the price of distraction from what we are doing. This can lead to poor focus and not staying on track for what matters in our lives.
Disruption also finds it’s way into our relationships and our work. As technology continues to advance at ever increasing speed, the downside is that business is also in a constant state of upheaval. More and more businesses are downsizing or closing their doors as they struggle to keep up with consumer demand and buyer behavior.
Relationships get affected because people are spending less quality time together and more time being entertained by apps or social media groups or friends with whom they feel they belong to something yet for the most they are just connecting to a bunch of noise.
Most importantly, not being present means we’re either living in the past or the future. This is how the mind likes to live. The mind loves the past because it is comfortable with what it already knows, yet it is what we already know that prevents our lives from changing for the better.
Practicing Being Present
Between our thoughts of the past and future is a small gap called the present. It is this gap that gives us the opportunity to reclaim our life and enjoy a way of life that is not ruled by worry, anxiety, fear, or judgment. There is nothing wrong with moving from the past to the future with the mind as long as it doesn’t drag you into a world of pain or suffering.
When we become present we tap into our natural state of being. For those fleeting moments of presence, we are no longer bound by our conditioned mind. It’s as if all the clouds in the sky of the mind suddenly disappear and all that’s left is a clear blue sky that goes on forever. This is what the mind looks like when we step back from the busy mind.
The busy mind, which is full of clutter and noise, can be the cause of much stress and tension in our lives. Because our bodies are hard-wired through our nervous system to the mind and emotions, it’s easy for us to become over stimulated. When that happens, then our mind and body struggle’s to stay happy, healthy and at peace.
The purpose of a presence meditation is to help step back from the busy mind so that we can enjoy a more unlimited view of ourselves and the world around us. It is one of the simplest ways to connect to ourselves and tap into a more relaxed and enjoyable way of being.
The easiest way to practice being present is to just stop and be still for 60 seconds. Don’t move a muscle, or blink, or anything other than just breathe. Instead, just be present and allow yourself to be aware of what’s happening without judgment. You’re not focusing on anything in particular just observing.
If you practice this mindfulness exercise a few times each day you’ll soon get a feel for what it means to be present. Then, as you get more comfortable with it, you can extend it to when you are walking, standing in a queue, or eating your lunch. It doesn’t matter then if you’re moving because you can still be present while being active.
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