In modern day society we are go go go, always moving at such a frantic pace, doing 5 things at once while our mind is thinking about something else. That could be the past, the future, or perhaps what you’re going to eat for dinner later. I have found even if I am at home, I am doing 3 or more things at any one given time. Have you ever actually tried slowing down and focusing on just ONE thing at a time?
How many times have you heard “the only time we have is now”? Well there is probably a reason great poets and spiritual teachers have been banging on about this throughout history. It is because the only time we ever truly have is now. It is one thing to know this intellectually but to know this experientially, deep deep down in your being is another thing entirely. We all know this deep down, its about rediscovering what we already know.
NOW is where the magic is. If you aren’t present to what is going on right NOW you will miss that magic.
Just stop for a second and think about this. The past was the NOW when you were ‘there’. The future will be the NOW when you are ‘there’. If you are constantly disconnected from what is currently happening around and within you are you ever truly living? Will you ever truly be content with your life? No, because you will never be in acceptance of what IS. You will always be looking to the past or the future and always looking outside yourself. Once you truly realise that NOW is all there is it will become much easier to be in the present moment.
Have you ever experienced moments where you were so caught up in what you were doing that nothing else seemed to exist? Where you felt complete elation and joy and there was no room for any thoughts? It is a beautiful feeling isn’t it?
Its funny, we remind ourselves to be present yet when we do that we are actually taking ourselves out of the present moment. I hear you saying “Well, sometimes we need to remind ourselves don’t we?” Of course we do. We are always improving. Over time, you will find that through practice, your mind wanders less and less. Remember to be patient with yourself, always!
So as for some practical advice…
– Meditate – Meditation is such a fantastic practice. Download the app Headspace. You get a 10 day introduction course free and I can guarantee you you’ll feel the benefits. Just dedicate 10 minutes a day. Don’t say you can’t because we can ALL find that time. Just set your alarm 10 minutes earlier. You can do it! Remember, meditation isn’t just sitting there in a lotus position (I know you are picturing a yogi or a monk right now). You can meditate doing ANYTHING. I really mean this. You will find that if you are washing dishes and you’re really focusing on what you are doing you may actually find it enjoyable. When you are present to what is right NOW everything else melts away and you become immersed in what you’re doing. The monkey mind will quieten down and you will simply be doing…simply being. Check out YouTube. There is a lot of information on this and a lot of guided meditations.
– Learn from children and animals – Look at how they just simply BE. They aren’t caught up in thoughts or their rational mind. They are simply following their intuition and simply BEING. It is a joy to behold and they are a constant teacher for us. They have a feeling they want to do something so they do it! They don’t analyse it to the nth degree! They simply listen to their intuition and ACT on it. It is truly amazing and we all need to nurture that inner child within us.
– Move from your head to your heart – This advice has been repeated to me by many special people in my life from all over the world as well as from Plant medicines and what I would consider my Higher Self.
When you are caught up in your thoughts, take a few deep breaths and focus on your heart. FEEL the space around you, FEEL the space within you and notice the feelings that arise. Use your senses; listen, smell, taste, see. You will soon notice when you are in that heart space you can really sense and FEEL with your heart.
When listening to someone talk don’t try and analyse what they are saying with the mind. Be in that heart space and feel what they are saying. This is TRUE listening and you will find you can give someone or ANYTHING your FULL attention.
– Breathing exercises – This is just another form of meditation, in fact, many of these are. When you focus on your breath you are present to what is, right NOW. The deeper the breathing, the more relaxed you will feel. We often forget to breathe in our everyday life. Yes, we seriously do. So use some guided breathing exercises, go to some classes/workshops near you (check out meetup.com). The more you do this the more connected to the breath you will feel on a daily basis. The breath provides you with an anchor, an anchor that will always be there to ground you in the present.
– Do one thing at a time – I know you are busy but you have to SLOW DOWN. Try focusing on doing just one thing at a time. Even if that is something as simple as walking. Our attention is often fragmented and we never seem to give our full attention to anything. Be consciously aware of this and practice it EVERY SINGLE DAY. Even if it is just for 5 minutes. Try it and see what happens. If the mind wanders, don’t get annoyed, simply bring your attention back to what you are doing. Remember, it takes practice and it is something we will ALWAYS be practicing.
– Get out in to nature – This is very important. Do not underestimate the power of taking a stroll in nature everyday. In our everyday life we are bombarded with energy. Get out in to nature. You will find you feel much more peaceful there. There isn’t the constant energy of people and technology. It will be easier for the mind to become still, to ground, to relax, and to be in the present moment.
I feel this is very important and I want to emphasise this point:
We often look outside ourselves for answers but all the answers we ever need are within us. If you are in your mind, if you are thinking about the past, or the future or doing multiple things at once how are you ever going to listen to your inner guidance system? Remember, feeling is the language of the soul. In order to listen to it you must slow down, feel and be present to what is.
And remember: It is called the present for a reason. It is truly a gift.
Okay so something I feel called to remind you is to not take life so seriously. By that I mean don’t get annoyed at yourself if your mind wanders and you get caught up in your thoughts, thats okay. That is always going to happen, its a practice for life. The more we practice letting those thoughts go and coming back to the present the more natural it will become.
Be gentle with yourself. I know you have heard treat others as you want to be treated. You have to treat yourself that way too. One of the Four Agreements is ‘Always do your best’. That is all any of us can ever do. Play with life, have fun, remember life is working for you not against you. After all…its all just one big game anyway isn’t it? We are all just trying to find our way and work this life thing out.
PS. How often did your mind wander when reading this? Did you check your phone half way through? And if you got the this point, I’m impressed.
Much love and many blessings,