I don’t like to use the word present because I feel like it’s overused and people sometimes roll their eyes at recommendations like “be present.”
Like, what does that really mean?
When I was in high school, I played volleyball in the fall and tennis in the spring. Come game time, I fell into the zone. The only thing on my mind was the game before me. I didn’t think about class assignments or petty teenage drama.
Little did I know, I was being present.
What it means to be present
To be present is to have unwavering focus and attention on the moment currently unfolding. You lose yourself in the space around you and you feel engulfed by it. It’s as if there is no longer a separation between your inner self and what’s happening outside your physical body. You connect and flow together.To be present is to have unwavering focus and attention on the moment currently unfolding.Click To Tweet
Older, I realize now why I enjoyed my times playing sports. There, on the court, I felt safe and secure. By unconsciously allowing the constant chatter of my mind to quiet down, I allowed myself to completely live in the present moment.
The same would happen to me while working on a piece of art. It didn’t matter the medium – paint, chalk, pencil. I always felt that same “in the zoneness.” Time stopped.
Why should you practice being present
So what’s the big deal? Why should you try to create more moments like these, of being present?
Because according to Eckhart Tolle, spiritual author of “The Power of Now” and “A New Earth,” when you practice being present you stop resisting life.
Always say ‘yes’ to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is? What could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? Surrender to what is. Say ‘yes’ to life – and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.” – Eckhart Tolle
You know when you’re resisting life when you do things like complain. Or when you self-loathe. Both, as well as all other negative emotions, are forms of resistance.
Non-resistance is the key to the greatest power in the universe. Through it consciousness (spirit) is freed from it’s imprisonment in form.” – Eckhart Tolle
Let go of the past you’re resisting
Many people spend a large part of their day thinking about a problem or negative situation that occurred and are replaying it over and over again in a loop in their mind. When you do that, you are disengaged from the present moment right in front of you. The negative emotions you then feel are the result of resisting what happened.
The next time you find your mind wandering, taking you back to a past event, ask yourself if replaying the event in your mind is helping with what you are currently doing. You’ll find that the answer to that question will most likely be “no.” Once you let go of the past, you’ll also let go of the negative emotions. And when you allow yourself to let go of those, you’ll no longer be in a state of resistance.
This takes practice
The more often you catch yourself thinking about the past and are able to refocus your attention to the present, the better. Soon, it will become second nature and you’ll find yourself thinking less frequently about the past.
Over time, being present will help you with overcoming negative emotions, thus enabling you to react more consciously to events. This is because you’ll be less likely to bring into the present moment feelings from the past. Letting go of that repeat loop of the bad thing that happened to you on the way to work this morning will allow you to come into future situations with a fresh perspective versus one tainted by anger or disappointment.
It isn’t an easy process to go from living in the past to living in the present. It is a gradual process. For me, I still have moments where my mind goes off into a whirlwind of thoughts about a negative moment, but since I’ve been practicing being more present for some time now, I’m able to quickly catch myself when it occurs so I can stop myself from allowing that pattern to follow me throughout my day. It has been an extremely valuable lesson for me to help control feelings of anxiety and overwhelm.
Sharing the love
It is difficult to explain how different my life is now that I’m aware of the connection between our thoughts and feelings about life. Because of all the shifts I’ve made in the last year, I’ve reached a point where it’s important that I share what I’ve learned with others. Sharing my journey is my gift back to you. I can’t hold on to this knowledge. It’s not mine to keep.
If you found this post to be eye-opening and helpful, please consider sharing it with friends. Click the Like button or drop me a comment below.