All those thoughts going inside your head must be paused. At this moment, just be present.
Focus on the words written here, try to understand the meaning of this article. Can you see this capital word FOCUS, congratulations you are now present and ready to read this article.
The vast majority of us are always immersed in our thoughts without realizing that life is happening at the very moment. We are things about the past or future. Learning to be present takes a lot of practice.
Living in the past and future means living in two dimensions, your body is here, but your mind is wandering. Suppose you are having your breakfast; your body is eating, but your mind has already left for office. You might be out with friends enjoying your coffee; you are fighting with your husband in your head.
What is the true meaning of living in the present moment?
It is simply living in the now, your conscious mind liberated from your thoughts. Be constantly aware of your thoughts and emotions. This present moment is all you have. There will never be a time when your life is not living in the present moment.
1 Concept of time
Time is an illusion. It isn’t important or precious. What you think important is not time but only one point of time, i.e., the present moment. The more you focus on time, the more you will be thinking about the past and future. You will miss the present moment, which is the most precious thing in life.
We live through our memories. These memories from the past become our identity. The future holds a promise to change our life. We are constantly in this thought loop.
Time is what keeps the light from reaching us. There is no greater hindrance to God than time. In the present moment, with the absence of time, all our worries dissolve.
All of us have an outer purpose and an inner purpose. The external drive is all the goals and dreams we are focused on achieving. If you are always worried about achieving your goals, you lose the most important part of your inner journey, which has nothing to do with your achievements and accomplishments. It has everything to do with your quality of consciousness.
2 Living in the present moment
Let us begin with an experiment. Do this as you read this paragraph.
Close your eyes and pay attention to what your next thought will be? In your mind, stay like a lion who is waiting for his prey. Stay alert for any idea that will arise. What happened here?
I’m sure you had to wait for a long time before a thought come to your mind. If you are in a state of immense presence, you are free from your thoughts. You are very still yet alert. All of us have this in-built within us; it is a matter of discipline to control our thoughts.
The moment you let your guard down, thoughts are back. The stillness is lost, and mental noise returns. You are back in time.
Focus on your mood, thoughts, emotions, fears, and desires as they occur in the present. If you are present enough to identify it, then you are dealing with your past through the power of your presence. Only then you won’t be going in the past, and you will find yourself in the present.
Always accept, then act. Accept your current life situation. We are still fighting our crisis. The moment we take our life problem, we will find that life is a lot easier. Most of the negativity is the denial of the present moment. You either want to experience something from the past or want to go in the future and change the current situation. Just be, accept it, and you will transform your life.
All the fears, anxiety, stress are caused by worry about the future. Sadness, guilt, regret, bitterness are caused by too much of the past and not enough of being present.
Try this experiment; the moment you get up, try to fill your body with your consciousness. Close your eyes and lie down on your back on the floor. Be as comfortable as you are lying down. Now focus on one part of the body. Start from your toe to your head. Get your presence to each piece, breathe for 10-15 secs. Feel the energy in each part as intensely as you can. Feel how your entire body is one consciousness, do it again and again, now your whole body is charged. Now slowly open your eyes, and you are set to have a productive day.
3 The importance of life lessons
Whenever anything bad happens to you, there is a deeper meaning in it; you might not perceive it at that moment. Even a brief illness can teach you what matters and what doesn’t matter. Whatever happens to you, good or bad, accept it first. When you offer no resistance, it will help in reducing the negative effects of the situation. If you forgive every moment and live it as it is, you won’t accumulate resentment, and life will be much easier to live. This way of living will become your lifestyle. When you reconnect with your being, then you are not run by your mind. You do not take part in the drama anymore.
A Buddhist monk once said, “I can sum up in one sentence all the things I have learned in 25 years”.
“All that arises passes too”
The real meaning of the above statement is when you offer no resistance, just be in the present moment and accept the imperfect nature of life, you will find peace.
Our modern society is driven by consumerism. We tend to buy more stuff to fill that void and get happiness. You can never attain happiness with this stuff. You may be happy for few days then you want to buy more things. It is an endless loop. When we realize our ultimate truth, we stop buying, and the entire economy will collapse if people start waking up.
4 Tips to be in the present moment
- Remove unnecessary things from your life: One of the easiest ways to be present is to own fewer things. As you remove unwanted items from your life, you have space to do the important stuff. These things won’t consume you.
- Gratitude: When we appreciate the things we already have in our life; you stop dwelling on the things you don’t have in your life. As a practice, make a list of all the things that you are grateful for. It will immensely make you happy, and you will start to look at the positive aspect of life.
- Adventure Sports/Exercise: Another idea is to put oneself in a situation where you don’t think. For example, if you are playing football, you in the present moment; you are not thinking what is about the past or future as you are playing. You can also try sky diving or bungee jumping as extreme scenarios. In short, do any exercise or activity that will keep you in the present moment.
- Stop overthinking: We tend to overthink the smallest of events; just give yourself a break. Just be aware of the little things happening around you. Focus on the sounds, the breath you are taking. It will help you enjoy your life more.
- Meditation: There is a saying that our breath connects us with the divine. The moment we close our eyes and just focus on our breathing, our thoughts will disappear. You can control your mind. Meditation is the best tool to bring awareness. You tend to get calmer and still.
- Don’t visit your past: We often see the past in our present day. To give you an analogy, when we drive, we should use the rear-view mirror sparingly than how we see the road ahead. We shouldn’t go into the past much; we can use it for reference and learn from our past mistakes.
- Smile: Spread love and happiness around. Life is short, so make the most of it and smile as often as you can. Even when we smile often, people love to be in our company.
- Stop being anxious about the Future: You will do great injustice to yourself if you are mostly thinking about the future. It is good to have goals, but living in the future will make you anxious and stressed. Live life with full optimism; if you master the now, your future will be good.
- Habits: All our life, we behave in a certain pattern. We have good habits as well as bad habits. You must be aware of your practices as it will help you in reducing the bad habits. This will eventually help you in being more present.
- Don’t think too much of your past accomplishments: Achieving important milestones is good, but if you are constantly thinking about it, you will miss life. What you have achieved in the past stays in the past; it is ok to think about it occasionally and feel good about yourself. Don’t be associated with these memories.
5 Benefits of living in the present moment
- Health Benefits: Thinking too much of either past or future will give you a lot of stress and anxiety. If you are not bothered about them, it will provide many health benefits as most of the illnesses are due to the state of mind.
- Relationship Benefits: As you are present, you will listen better, and people who interact with you will feel heard. Your relationship with others will improve massively. Your spouse/partner will feel more connected to you.
- Charismatic: There will be something unique about you. People will be drawn to you. They will probe your presence. People will say,” He/ She is so present.”
- Food will taste better: As you are eating slowly, you are more current. The food will taste better, and you will crave less food. You will take time to chew your food. It will digest better.
- Learn new skills: As your awareness expands, you will get good at learning new skills. Maybe you are learning to play guitar or learning swimming, and you will discover it quickly as you are more focused and present.
- Less consumerism: You will not consume much. You won’t keep buying new things. You will not consume a lot of content on TV. You will not try to impress anyone.
- All will be equal: You will no longer have the superior or inferior feeling when you meet someone. All of us come from the same source, hence all are equal.
- You will get better at intimacy: Imagine having sex with your partner, and you will be thinking about the traffic or how your boss spoke rudely to you. Your partner will hate you. With improved presence, they will feel more connected to you.
I’m sure by now you would have understood the importance of living in the present moment. It takes a lot of practice to get good at it.
Let me leave you will a small story.
Once upon a time, two best friends Ram & Shyam were witnessing a sunrise.
Ram said, “ Shyam, you see there next to the river, I want to buy that piece of land and build my garden.”
“Please don’t buy this piece of land; I have already thought of buying a cow and let it roam in that area,” pleaded Shyam.
Ram persisted, “I already came up with the idea of building my garden here, so please don’t buy the cow.”
Shyam started getting aggressive. “This is not fair; it was my idea to let my cow roam in that area.”
This continued for a long period, eventually leading to a fight and both getting injured.
As for the fact of the matter is, neither owned the land nor had a cow. They were just discussing the future. Both were injured with things turning ugly. The future has not arrived yet, but you will ruin the present moment if you live thinking about what will happen next.
This is Shekar signing off; I see you in the next one. Ciao.