I am at the start of my journey of being in the now. That doesn’t mean where I am at is more or less important to where I want to be some day. You can only live the present.
It can be amazingly hard to stay present, every part of myself wants to resist it. Occasionally I win and I can switch off the past and future, and those magical moments really encourage me to continue through to the next time I can win again. The peace I have felt has been mind blowing, bearing in mind I was in a dark place before I had this break through. I was at the bottom of a pit with no hope, then I broke through to normal life, though rather stay there for a bit I carried on soaring off into the atmosphere. Kinda. In ‘The Power of Now’ it says you are closest to enlightenment when you are broken, because the ego is broken, which almost contradicts what I said. So possibly instead of soaring up out of this pit, I found another way out which was underneath me, or a hole in the wall like in ‘Shawshank Redemption’. The quote ‘crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side’ couldn’t be more appropriate.
Although I say all this, I still struggle to keep out negative thoughts about things that aren’t actually happening at that moment, and it can plague relationships you have with people (you dwell and read into what they have said in the past), feelings can consume you in a never ending vortex in your mind and you don’t look at, enjoy and experience what is going on around you. So for those times I feel this way I have a quick and easy routine to bring me back into the now. You can do this in a crowd, at work or anywhere. Don’t be afraid of possible boredom, it honestly isn’t boring.
Here are my tips, tried and tested, for when you notice your mind is else where and not where it’s meant to be;
- Start with sounds. Listen to everything going on around you. It’s amazing what you didn’t notice before.
- Look at everything. Really look. Observe. Look and listen.
- Notice how your body physically feels at that moment. How it feels to be sitting/walking, what your skin is touching, whether it’s clothing or the sun. Once you get to the tingly feeling you are on the right track.
- Concentrate on your breathing.
- And if your mind drifts off to other thoughts calmly bring yourself back to reality and start listening and looking again. It’s not a problem, it’s cool, it happens. Chill.
If I am feeling particularly anxious or annoyed for a reason I can’t identify or solve, and I’m still struggling to calm down after the first steps, I speak to myself.
I say (in my head of course);
- “You don’t feel that.”
- “Step out of that feeling, it’s your mind creating it, that isn’t what is happening right now.”
- “It’s not reality.”
- “You’re okay.”
It is totally possible to stop what you are feeling and just be calm. Just allow it.
“All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”