“Be in the present moment.” We hear this often, but have you ever wondered what it really means? Or how you do it? If you’ve tried this idea of present moment awareness, you may have found yourself a bit distracted. Or confused. How do you stay present, in this moment, engaged in the now, when everything else is swirling around you? It’s a moving target!
It’s also seemingly a paradox.
And that’s the magic of it.
To me, living life fully engaged is to live with present moment awareness. As often as possible.
It is not as difficult as it might appear to be. You can do it in a split second. The trick of it is to just do it. Be aware and do it. Take a second to stop and breathe and let the chatter in your mind quiet down briefly. The power of one breath is remarkable.
Close your eyes. Focus inward. Be aware of your body. Draw in a full and complete breath. Feel it. Pay attention. Notice how your chest rises as the air fills your lungs. No other thoughts. Just your breath. In this moment. Now. The world will wait for just a moment. Trust me, whatever it is that is on the other side of this breath will still be there when you open your eyes again.
Now. Exhale. Slowly. Deliberately.
There. That’s better.
Once the chatter, or the chaos, or the crazy has been suspended for a moment and you are aware, you have the power to change it. That’s the next step. Be aware of what is happening now. Right now.
For just a moment don’t think about what’s for dinner, or whether or not your son passed his math test. Or the growing mound of laundry you just can’t seem to get washed. Or if you’ll ever have enough money to retire. Or any other of the thousands of thoughts that race through your mind on a regular basis.
Just stop. Bring your thinking mind here. Now. Then stop thinking and take a breath.
Disconnect from all the actions and distractions and engage in the moment. In you. In the now. In the present.
Remember, you get to choose. You get to choose how to use your energy, your creative force. Are you using your energy for your good or to your detriment? Taking a breath and engaging in the present moment gives you a moment of clarity. It’s an opportunity to take a quick mental inventory and make a choice. Peace or chaos. Happy or mad. Serene or sad.
Now, don’t misunderstand. This is not about judgment, or making yourself, anyone or anything else, wrong. It’s about awareness. Be aware so you can make a difference.
Making present moment awareness a habit changes your perspective. It allows you to be engaged in your life from the inside. You may notice that you become aware that you have a dominant mental state. And if that mental state is not the one you prefer, then you can start to change it. Once you are aware, you have choice. You are no longer a hostage to learned behavior, to habits of thought or actions that you may not have ever really taken notice of before.
Then life begins to expand. It gets fuller. And that is part of the paradox. When you pause to take note of a moment, the moment expands. Your life seems to slows down. You stop to start. Disengage to engage.
How cool is that?