As we move through our day living our lives, we oftentimes get caught up in the busyness of the day… the “to do” list, deadlines, appointments, commuting, the needs of our family, and the list goes on. Staying fully present to the task at hand is not always easy, as the mind seems to continually plan and scheme what the next task is to be rather than allowing our attention to be on the creation of the moment. The stress of living in such a busy and demanding world focused on external drives and accomplishments can be daunting; but still, we do live in that world! So how can we become more aware, more conscious, and more present under such demanding conditions?
The task at hand is where the focus should be… that is how we stay conscious. Be fully present in the moment of washing the dishes, doing the laundry, driving, shaving, walking, talking with a friend or colleague, writing a report, in essence every activity that you undertake. Even planning for the future should be a present task, for being in the present moment is the only place where life happens – it is all that we really have to enjoy. True happiness comes from this moment. The attitude we hold in this present moment is what makes life enjoyable. Take the time to appreciate it, or the enjoyment of life will pass you by.
Beginning to live in the present moment, however, requires that we notice how our thinking and consequential feelings are oftentimes rooted in the past. We habitually perform the same morning routine in a rushed hurry to head out the door, we drive the same rushed way to work, and we continue to get frustrated with the traffic delays or rude drivers. We are to be in a rut of habit with the same old stressors pushing our buttons day after day. And I’m sure you have your own list to complement this one!
But, you say…these habitual patterns free my mind to allow me to think about other things, like planning my day and orchestrating my life. Yes, the mind is a powerful mechanism which memorizes lots of information and patterns, and at times can be quite helpful…like when adding or speaking. Yet it is this kind of repetitive training of the mind that creates the engrained neural pathways that keep us in a repetitive loop of thinking and REACTING. It’s the reactive nature of this kind of thinking that creates stress in our lives, for we no longer have conscious choice in how we think or feel. We feel OUT OF CONTROL!
It is only in the present moment that we have any choice at all and if we are not in the present moment, then the option of choice is not aware to us. All sense of control lies here, within the fully conscious mind in the perfect moment of NOW.
Being in the NOW is the goal of all consciousness work. Bringing our awareness into the present moment requires a bit of re-training. I like to think of the mind as a young puppy that needs lots of loving training in order to be a faithful and loving companion. If you can stop long enough to realize that you have control over what and when you think, then you will begin to see that you are not your mind, your emotions, or your physical body…you are so much more! These lovely mechanisms are here to support us and provide for us a vehicle through which to embrace love and joy, but they are not in control. You are…the part of you that has conscious choice in the perfect moment of NOW.
When we are more fully present we can begin to hear the negative self talk and worry strategies that are in effect in the mind. If you find yourself talking or thinking about the past a great deal of the time, remembering the good ole’ days of youth or replaying your victim story and blaming others, then know that you are not living in the present moment. If you worry or fret, plan or scheme about the future and continually run “what if” scenarios, then rest assured, you are not here and now. If you find that you are waiting for something to happen in your life, waiting for a raise, the engagement, the new house, or for Friday to get here, then you are living a life of “I’ll be happy when (fill in the blank).” Life is passing you by.
Here is a quick and effective way to train the puppy mind:
When you find yourself doing the negative self talk and worry or blame strategies listed above, put the puppy in the kennel for a time out. Tell him that you love and appreciate his interest and affection, but you are in charge and he must learn to respect your command to live a conscious and present life! Do this every time that you find yourself not fully present, centered or grounded. Train the mind to listen to you…you are so much more than the thoughts of your mind. You are a powerful, creative spiritual being whose intentions to be fully present are to be honored and respected!
In support of your journey to live more consciously, on today’s show we have talked about several other methods that you can use, including progressive relaxation and autogenic training which help you become more aware of the needs of your physical body. And in earlier programs we have discussed how to dialogue with the body part to understand its needs, and we learned balancing techniques like Body Harmonization or Healing Touch to reduce specific sites of stress, pain or tension.
We talked about meditation, specifically Mindfulness Meditation, where by following the breath you are simply being fully present to the feeling of the breath in the body and bringing your attention back to this feeling whenever you notice your mind wandering or thinking. And in an earlier show, we learned about developing a Place of Peace and connecting with the High Self as a way of transforming old reactive patterns. So, we are seeing the importance of energy therapies and spiritual direction as ways of healing by transforming the traumatic energies of the past and the fretful worries of the future and helping us gain more understanding and awareness of ourselves.
All of these techniques, especially when used in combination will begin to allow you the option of being more present in the perfect moment of NOW. So take a consciously creative path and express your True Self!