I decided it’s time for a little self check-up. A mid-winter assessment of how well I’ve been doing with mindfulness...and by doing it here, I become much more accountable.
Eckhart Tolle has been getting to me. I read The Power of Now in October and then promptly read A New Earth.
Once I finished with the ‘research’ phase, I eagerly set my sights on mastering the art of staying present.
I fully realize this is not a skill to be mastered, but actually something of a lifelong practice. Thankfully, the human condition allows us to continue learning and growing (even as we stumble and fall) on the way to becoming more awake and conscious.
Here’s a review of my Now’ness.
First off, please know I’m no guru. I certainly don’t have all (or really even any) of the answers...but I’m seeking.
And I promise to always share what I’m learning along the way.
The methods I’m using to find the present moment are simple. I rely on the common practices of those who’ve been doing this way longer than me. Thankfully, they’ve made it pretty easy to begin.
Whenever I tune into the present moment, I have a strong sense of returning.
I instantly realize that I’m back - as in, I become conscious of the fact that I was lost in thought and become aware of the voice I hear in my head -
I then pay attention to my breath. Sometimes counting each inhale and exhale and sometimes just feeling the air coming in and going out. I become centered.
Feeling pretty Zen. I think ‘Wow, this is awesome!’
And then, 4 hours pass before I become aware that I’ve been completely consumed by thoughts again:-)
My mind took over and I was just along for the ride.
In theory, staying present is a simple practice. Yet, the degree of difficulty is astonishing! I am constantly blown away by how incredibly hard it is to stay present for more than a few seconds!
A few seconds!
On any given day, how is it possible that my mind can’t be still for more than a few seconds at a time?!?!
Here’s what I’m noticing as I work to stay present…
1. This is hard.
I spend a huge part of each day in complete oblivion. Every day there are surprisingly (and embarrassingly) large chunks of time when I’m totally ‘gone’. My mind is in total control and I’m not aware in the slightest.
Until, I am aware.
All of a sudden, I’m back. Feeling my breath. Observing my thoughts. Present.
2. Less stress.
The more often I operate in the Now, the easier life becomes.
When I’m present and aware, the big scary worries seem manageable and the nagging thoughts dissolve away completely. It’s as if the bright light of awareness eliminates most of the shadowy-stresses.
The problems don’t consume me. The constant worry stops. Little things stay little.
3. More joy.
It’s almost silly how much happier I am when I stay more present. I hear myself laughing freely. I notice the good stuff.
I feel more like my authentic self when I'm present. I guess this is kind of the whole point, huh?
4. More clarity.
I recognize my resistance.
This might be the biggest ‘aha’ for me.
Oh, boy do I see this with more clearly lately. It’s as if the things I resist are lit up in flashing neon!
When I’m having an issue or problem, it always comes back to me resisting what is. I want the present moment to be different. As obvious as this may seem, once I recognize that I’m resisting, I’m able to step back and decide to stop. I can choose to let go. What freedom!
See? It’s simple, but certainly not easy. Or without constant effort...at least in the beginning.
I’m hoping that with practice this whole Now thing becomes the new normal.
Are you aware of the voice in your head?
Do you have an internal roommate who never stops talking?
How do you find and hold onto the present moment in the fullness of everyday life?
I'd love to hear what works for you and what you struggle with regarding staying present. Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Hello, I'm Kristen.
As a personal stylist,