How to be Present
Good morning, readers!
It has been quite the ride over the last few days. I've postponed writing since last Wednesday as my mind has been very occupied editing my new Masterguide Video that I will be launching by the end of this week. To all my eBook writers and self-published authors, I have amazing news for you! But, you're going to have to wait a little because that isn't the point of today's article.
In all honesty, this masterclass among many other things have been on my mind a lot lately. Actually! Everything's been on my mind lately, and I haven't had a consistent clear head in days. But much like any trial and obstacle, there is something very valuable to learn from it.
I mean, if it weren't for my groggy, never-ending inner chatter, I wouldn't be so persistent about clearing my mind and finding ways to be more present. It's simply because I felt that moments were slipping by without my awareness, and my thoughts didn't seem to clear out, that I'm even stopping myself altogether to calm my nervous system and quiet down a little.
When your mind is full of chatter, you can't hear a thing outside yourself. Big and small details in the outer world become blurry and fast-forwarded. Breathing goes shallow as it pulls you away from a clear state of consciousness. And, don't get me started on the seeming inability to make conscious choices, because your mind is already committed to fifty-million other things.
So, today's post is also my goal: to find as many ways to be fully present, engaged, and aware of the moment as possible.
My goal is to pull myself away from my constant inner dialogue, and replace unnecessary chatter with quiet, peace, and presence.
Let's say "trading Mindfullness, for Mindfulness."
And, the first thing I gotta say about this is: "slow down…"
What's the rush? Slow down your brain's frame-per-second rate to one frame per conscious moment. Instead of rushing, slow down, and look around. You'll miss the view if you're not looking, and you'll miss the ride if you're tunnel vision on your destination. In the upcoming moment, stop. Look around you slowly and try to bring your attention to the entire moment.
If you can't get out of the rush quite yet, don't add any worries. Just breathe deeply. Use your nose to inhale deeply, and while you're at it, try to smell the fragrances around you. The smell of trees and flowers outside, or the new perfume a stranger is wearing on their fresh linens. While deeply inhaling and exhaling your breath, add your sense of smell to the equation. Do you smell that coffee brewing? Or, can you sense the fragrance of fresh rain falling? My favorite scent these days - since it's the end of August - is the smell of September winds emerging, the fresh scent of cool air and trees transitioning to autumn. The more conscious awareness you bring to each breath, the more you will recognize the endless aromas around you.
In shallow, unconscious breathing, you don't get any of that enjoyment. So, bring yourself to the present moment by savoring each of it's rising fragrances, and breathe deeply enough to let that very same life force flow through you.
Has anyone ever experienced the difference between the noise in our heads and the sounds of our Life?
While I slowly practiced tuning out the thoughts in my mind, I started hearing more of Life's infinite interactions with me. Instead of the song stuck in my head, I now heard the song of birds singing right outside my window. Instead of the dull noise of 100-words per instance, I heard my cat purring from across the living room. So, as opposed to letting our minds get too loud to hear the magic around us, let's relax by listening to the sounds of Life instead. What do you hear in this moment? The sound of people talking? The chime of wind blowing? Or, do you hear the quiet utter of your computer keys clacking? Let me know what sounds you listened to as you engage yourself in this present moment. Let go of the noise in your mind, and listen to the songs of your Life.
What a contrast it is that our mind can be a tool for perceiving the Life around us, or it can be a cause of blindness to the eye. How many times have you been too caught up in your mind that simply existing feels like a blur? I remember last night, I was consciously fighting to be present while my mind sucked every last drop of joy and flow away from me. My thoughts were going so fast, reciting the list of tasks, flaws, and fears that I have, as I was battling to root myself in the present.
It honestly felt like I was wasted, too drunk to see straight, and too out of touch exist clearly.
Only when I made one extreme decision to stop the moment in time, really stop and slow the eff down, was I able to gain my grip over reality again.
I realized I was too consumed by my mind when I couldn't recognize the little details around me. I didn't know what the room looked like anymore, and I couldn't even make out what was playing on TV. I needed to stop to see the big picture, and slow down enough to focus on the important details.
Which brings me to another form of rooting yourself in the moment. Looking around... well, seeing.
Have you ever been in a car going 200mph? If you haven't, basically, the speed of the car is so fast that time and imagery warps around it according to the driver's perspective. He or she is fully engaged with only what's ahead, tunnel-vision on the next line, that everything around the car is skewed and blurry due to the speed of the vehicle.
Now... Slow down a couple hundred miles per hour, lol.
You can see clearly what's ahead, what's around you, and even what's in your blind-spots. The lower the speed, the more you can see, and the more you can look around. Eventually, when you're going through a zone where the maximum speed is between 20-30mph, you can see the children playing, the gardens that have been planted, the families crossing the street, and even the smallest animals crossing the road. And, if you stop... Well, you can turn your head and see everything, even the tiniest spec on the road.
So, I hope you get where I'm coming from. When you're passing through life too quickly, or you’re merely consumed by the speed of your internal dialogue, stop for a moment, and look around you. If you go slow enough, you'll see things you would have otherwise missed. If you stop altogether, you can even zoom in and out of the tiniest details. But, the minute you go too fast, you lose perspective of everything else around you. Is this a good metaphor?
I just hope that by telling you this, you can overcome speeding to your destination without enjoying the journey, and more importantly, while simply absorbing the view along the way.
I think I found what I needed to know. I hope that, next time, I don't have to lose perspective to find my answers, but I'm grateful for what it has taught me. I'm about 21 years into my destination, and up until this point, I may have been going too fast. I came to understand that I'll get to my destination some day, but I might just walk a little, bike a little, and drive up the scenic routes in the meantime.
What I learned from losing my sight of the present moment was that humans have this tendency to either try to control the moment or let it pass them by entirely.
By being present and fully engaged with each moment, we become one with the present and fully interactive with this rare phenomena before us. One day, we'll be at that final destination, and the only thing we'll still have with us (apart from our tired and broken down car) is the memories and moments we gathered along the way.
I hope that you stop, every now and then, to get out of your car and enjoy the aromas around you. I hope you will slow down from time-to-time and listen to the sound of life around you. And, most importantly, I hope you're driving at the right pace for seeing everything you pass by and that you stop your motor once in a while to take a mental picture of the view that you might never see again.
And, that, my friends, is how you can be more Present.