The point of power is always in the present moment.
-Louise L. Hay
-Louise L. Hay
If you are completely present, the external forces are no longer a problem, because there is only you and that external force, in this moment, and not a million other things you need to worry about.
It’s actually impossible to live outside of the present moment, but it is possible to think outside of it. That means thinking about the past or future rather than focusing on your current action.
If your child interrupts you, you can stress out because you have other things to worry about and now your child is adding to worries / interrupting your calm. Or, you can be present, and there is then only you and the child. You can appreciate that child for who she is, and be grateful you have this moment with her.
If your job demands that you focus on an urgent task, you can stress out because you have a million other things to do and not enough time to do them. Or you can be present, and focus completely on that task, and now there is only that one task and you. When you’re done, you can move on to the next task.
Social media and other digital distractions don’t interrupt us if we close them and learn to pour ourselves completely into the present task. And if we need to do email, Twitter, or read blogs, we can set aside everything else and just be present with that one digital task.
Being present becomes, then, a way to handle any problem, any distraction, any stressor. It allows everything else to fade away, leaving only you and whatever you’re dealing with right now.
1. Look for opportunities in your immediate environment.
Intentionally look for opportunities within your immediate grasp to make the present moment more attractive.
When you refuse (or don’t attempt) to find opportunities right now, you’ll resort to default distractions like cell phones, social media, and mindless internet browsing. Think about why we engage with these — they burn time! If you are burning time, it’s because you want to fast forward your life to some future moment (probably an unrealistic and romanticized future moment).
I think we burn time hoping that the future will magically be better than the present, when the only way to actually make a better future is to seek present opportunities. This has a lot to do with cultural perfectionism and the delusion that tomorrow will be different. Why do we wait for that perfect set of circumstances? Why do we believe opportunities will come to us passively? It never happens.
Practice this now. Look around. There are possibilities everywhere, visible and invisible. Start with visible cues, and they may lead to more ideas.
There’s so much you can do right now, but you have to intentionally look for it!
2. Have the scavenger mindset.
Sometimes, bad days make us want to fast forward life until tomorrow.
“I’ll get back into things tomorrow.”
“I can delay the newsletter one day.”
“Today was beyond my control. Oh well…”
But no, there is still some meat left on today’s bone! Those with the scavenger mindset won’t leave the scene until it’s been “picked clean.”
When you have the scavenger mindset, you don’t ever quit until the day is over because time is the ultimate resource — there’s always something left to salvage if you’ve got time. If there’s an hour left in the day, you attack that hour. (This doesn’t necessarily mean work. Relaxation is just as important!)
Salvage little moments here and there that most people would waste.
The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little. - Jon Kabat-Zinn
3. Accept the past. Reject the future.
You might think, “What about learning from the past?” or “What about planning for a better future?” Those can be done through the lens of the present moment.
Past: Acceptance is the only way to deal with the past.
When you accept something, you can move on from it. That leaves you with the present and future.
Future: Reject the concept of “future.” The here and now will always be your only opportunity. Don’t let the cliched nature of that blind you from its truth and potential impact in your life. Eckhart Tolle says of the illusion of future,
The only existence we call future has is as a thought in your head. Beyond that, there’s no such thing as future. If there were such a thing as future, somebody, some great explorer, would have found it.
As Tolle says, the complete existence of “future” is merely a concept, a thought. This concept is made quite powerful by frequent references. Advertisements tell us what a product could do for us in the future. We make plans for future days. When thinking about our current problems, we consider how they might be solved in the future.
If you become too enthralled with the limitless potential of the future, you may miss out on the real potential of the present. Fantasy is alluring, but it cannot compete with reality because of the fact that it is phantom.
By accepting the past as factual history, and denying that the future is anything more than an idea, all you’re left with is the present moment.
Present: Touch something. Taste something. Smell something. Hear something. See something. Think something.
You are here. This is your life. The past isn’t your life. The future isn’t your life. This is your life. The present moment is all you will ever experience.
Always say ‘yes’ to the present moment… Surrender to what is. Say ‘yes’ to life — and see how life starts suddenly to start working for you rather than against you. -Eckhart Tolle
Meditation is so powerful and popular because it increases present moment mindfulness, which makes us happier and healthier.
Most of us spend a lot of our time caught up in being anywhere but right here, right now. We get caught up in thoughts. One thought about the past leads to another one. We re-run successful and not-so-successful encounters. We get lost in the past or in a fantasy of a past that never actually happened but might have if only we’d said or done something different. We become editors of our memories.
Or we jump into a not-yet-here future. We might do this by looking forward to something that hasn’t happened yet. We might imagine the joy we might feel. Or we might dread the discomfort we might anticipate. We worry and plan for various eventualities.
It’s easy to get caught up in our memories, plans and fantasies. We do it so readily, we don’t even notice most of the time. We are well-practiced at distraction. Whenever we forget where we are in that way, we lose track of the present moment, “nowness,” the reality of our lives. It’s not that we shouldn’t think about the past and future. The problem is that we don’t even notice when we’ve done it. The result is that we are missing our lives much of the time.
Another way that we miss our lives is in being very busy. Feeling pressured to make decisions, one after another, they are never certain that they are choosing correctly. Both men and women seem to feel plagued by this uncomfortable sense of never being caught up, of never coming to rest.
You might try it for yourself: take a few moments to turn away from the computer screen and just tune in to yourself. Notice the sensations in your body. Begin by noticing your breathing. Just notice it and let it be however it is. Then, beginning with your feet, scan up your whole body. Notice how your feet feel. Are they are the floor? Do they feel heavy? Numb? Is there no particular sensation at all? Then move on to your ankles and legs and continue, section by section, to tune in to the sensations in your whole body.
Then, look around, what do you see? Notice the sounds in the environment. Is there anything you can smell? Taste? Take a few moments to do that now—in this very moment. If, at any point, you become distracted by thoughts or anything else, just simply return to paying attention to your breath, body, or sense perceptions.
Use this tuning-in technique anytime, let it interrupt your distracted mind and bring you into the present. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t stay present more than a moment or two. You are not alone. We all get distracted pretty easily. It takes practice to be present.
We can begin by practicing coming into the present moment through our bodies and our sense perceptions. Then, we can practice being present with others. It can be quite a surprise to realize how little of the time we’re really here with each other and not lost in thought or just waiting for the other person to stop talking.
One of the best presents we can give to each other, in this season and in any other, is the increasingly rare and precious gift of our full attention. Our willingness to show up, to be present with each other, in times of joy and in times of pain, is truly an offering of love and friendship.
Minimize what you let into your head early in the day.
If I check the email, Facebook and other websites online early in the day then I have found that I will have more thoughts bouncing around in my head. And so it becomes a lot harder to concentrate on anything, to stay present and to not be dragged away into some negative thought loop.
So the kind option towards myself has become to not check anything early in the day. And to check things as few times as I can.
If I minimize such things then my day becomes lighter and simpler and I not only stay present more easily but I also tend to get more things of importance done.
As quickly as I notice that my thoughts have drifted away I say to myself: No, no, no.
Then I quickly follow that up with focusing on just my breathing or just on what is happening around me right now with all my senses for a minute or two to draw myself back into this present moment.
Book: Present Moment Wonderful Moment: Mindfulness Verses for Daily Living ...
By Thich Nhat Hanh
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
Love and light,