Being in the Present Moment

People can go weeks, months, or years without ever fully being present for even a moment.

When you are being present your attention and focus is on the here and now. You see and hear more clearly and I'm not just talking about what is physically in front of you. Your intuition is heightened.

You can tune into higher levels of awareness. You can really see people. You can tune into others energy fields to sense what's going on with them. You can easily detect the truth of things. You can see the bigger picture. You have access to so much more information. But being present also gives you a break from your mind. Who couldn't use a blissful moment of peace?? What I wouldn't give to be able to extend that fraction of a second I have upon waking up before my mind clicks on and starts racing all day.

Being present is both the easiest and hardest thing to do as a human. The mind is a uniquely human device. The mind's very function is to keep you running as a human. Without the mind you would know what you really are and the human experience/game would be ruined.

The mind is kind of like the tongue in that it can never stop moving. You can only transcend the mind one present moment at a time. You really have to try and be deliberate about it. 

Are You Present?

The definition of being is living. How many of us are truly living? Are you? Are you sure?

Being is a foreign concept in cultures that value doing. Doing keeps you lost in your mind thinking about the next task and the next one and so on forever.

As a result, we have produced societies filled with zombie robots that are not engaged in life but merely going through the motions. Many humans have no idea that every aspect of their lives are suffering because they never stop for one moment. Being creates awareness. Doing keeps you unconscious.

It never ceases to amaze me how many people are caught completely off guard when their partner leaves them or they find out that their kids are a mess or they realize after 10 years that they hate their jobs or their whole lives. Hellloooo? Anyone home in there? Where has your attention been? Answer: On the doing.

If you’re anxious you’re living in the future.

If you’re depressed you’re living in the past.

If you’re expanding you’re living in the present.

~Lao Tzu

When you're in the present moment you're tuned in, taped in, and turned on.

Being is a state of connection.

Doing is a state of distraction.

Little kids are conditioned from a young age to "be productive" and get involved - run from one activity to the next. This constant doing gets them their parents and societies approval.

This conditioning continues as adults.

Americans especially pride themselves on the number of hours they work in a week and the number of activities they can squeeze into one day. They say things like, "I don't remember the last time I had a day off or a vacation" like it's a badge of honor. They get so much of their sense of value, importance, and self-worth from working that they can never stop. (Sidenote: To make matters worse these jobs are fucking meaningless.) 

Western work and home environments require the ability to fracture your attention/consciousness into tiny shards as a result of continuous multitasking. These nonstop doers can only ever half do things. Like half listen, half remember, half complete their very important tasks, etc. We live in such a fractured society because the people themselves are fractured. As a result, inefficiency is rampant, tempers are high, relationships are unsatisfactory, and suffering is pandemic.

Getting Present

Being present can feel really uncomfortable. It's a state that many of us deliberately avoid. Who wants to be alone with their thoughts? Think of all the things we'd actually have to deal with. Think of everything we'd end up feeling like the sadness and grief that we continuously run from.

Start small. 

Be present when you're eating. How does it taste? Is it something that your body wants or was asking for? How does eating this food make you feel?

Be present when you're walking. Notice your surroundings. What can you hear? How are your feet hitting the ground? What sensations do you feel in your body?

Be present brushing your teeth. Are you brushing thoroughly or just good enough? Are you experiencing any soreness? Do you need a checkup?

These are simple but important ways to start tuning in. 

Work your way up to shutting off your phone for good chunks of time. Every phone call, text, and email does not need to be answered. Really, it doesn't. No, it doesn't. Stop resisting.

When we distract ourselves, we neglect ourselves.

When you're in the present moment suddenly you are faced with everything you work so hard to distract yourself from - emotions, hard truths, reality.

Be present with yourself. Start asking yourself: How are you, really? Answer it. Feel it. Allow your emotions to come up and pass through.

Many people put their own needs last on their to do lists. Make yourself a priority. Carving out time to eliminate distractions is essential to your well being. 

Distractions are excuses to ignore yourself. Put away the phone. I mean it! And avoid energy vampires.

Being is a state of allowing. It's allowing what is.

Doing is constant effort. It's trying to control the universe.

Engage with others while being fully present. Ask other people how they really are. If you're truly present, you will know the truth behind their words. People are dying for someone to really see them.

Being present opens other people up. Finally, someone is actually listening. 

If someone takes the opportunity to purge, allow them to feel how they feel without trying to make it better. Your presence is a gift and is all they need.

Recommended reading:

Be Here Now

by Ram Dass

The Power of Now 

by Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle on How to stop racing thoughts at night: