I don’t know about you but I always felt I knew how to get what I wanted, and had a shiny, neat life CV to show for it. But whilst a tick-box existence achieved through hustle and grind might have delivered outward ‘success’ over the years, the inward results have certainly been more lacklustre. Despite being a long-term meditator, and yogi, and having tried most talking and body-based therapies I know of, I came to a slightly embarrassing realisation over recent years that I wasn’t quite as dialled in as I thought I was.
I know (like many) I had been compulsively living in my head distracting me from all of life’s smorgasbord, but I found it so seductive to hang out there. Living in my dreams, my visions, my goals, my plans and interpreting my life through knowledge acquisition, rather than simply feeling the direct experience of life unfolding moment to moment. I was pretty good at thinking my feelings and calling it ‘intuition’. I essentially was addicted to my thoughts, or as Dr Mark Atkinson from the Human Potential Institute calls it – listening to ‘Radio Me’. And because I permanently had the ear-phones in, I was not allowing life to get in through the cracks – instead always planning, structuring, and doing – leaving no space to receive guidance for inspired (rather than effort-driven) action.
Conceptual to experience-based reality and what that really means
I have been on a mission over recent years to drop this conceptual based reality – buying into and believing my thoughts and feelings – and instead relaxing into effortless experience-based reality. The thing about being ‘present’ is that it sounds so obvious and basic as a premise that it’s easy to assume you’re already doing it. If you’re going to all the self-development workshops, yoga classes, meditating your ass off etc. you already understand the significance of the power of now/being in the moment or however you choose to define it. But it’s one thing to know it, and another thing to really, truly live consciously in the experience of the moment – and pull yourself back into it, every damn time you get teased away from it.
If you’ve read this far you are ready for the solutions now
Here are my 3 go-to tools for conscious living
1. Meditating as a core daily practice
Like any new skill, our mind, body and soul needs to be trained to do things a different way. To break the default habit of thinking and believing your thinking, I have found plain old meditation works best. No need to re-invent the wheel with new hacks and tricks, the simple consistency of meditation has helped me commit to re-habiting and re-learning a new conscious way to be in life. My current practice is 20mins of transcendental meditation x 2 daily.
2. Deep dive creative journeys
This is perfect for those who enjoy visualisations, explorative play, and manifesting opportunities. Adhoc deeper dive: 2-2.5hrs breathwork and transcendental meditation x when time allows
- First 1hr – Breaking down resistance/old stories/old programming and conditioning/patterns through ujjayi breathing, breath of fire and vipassana style body scanning.
- Mini break – I love to work with meditation elixirs to turbo-charge the experience. My current go-to is a homemade ashwagandha and rhodiola tonic.
- Second 1hr – Having prepped mind, body and soul in the first half, I find it quicker to then drop into a deeper, juicier meditation. I use transcendental meditation here.
3. Body anchoring for ‘on-the-fly’ moments
I have found grounding and anchoring yourself in the body is the most effective tool when you need to pull yourself back into the here, and now, on a moment to moment basis. For me it’s consciously breathing into the sacral area, for other’s it might be heart space. The way I notice I’m really hanging out in my direct life experience, is actually noticing when I am not. When I can feel myself going back to reference my head for decisions/analytical thinking/facts and so forth I am aware I am not already there – it’s in that gap I notice where my attention is. I am no longer consumed with thinking through day-to-day narratives/the past reflections/the forward projections – all signs of head-based life.
The freedom that comes from detaching to thought-forms takes practice. Our thinking is sneaky – it mesmerises us, and before we know it we’re back over-thinking a thought, and over-feeling an emotion – this is also just being human, so with kindness and grace I notice it, and come back to the moment and it dissipates.
By mixing up daily maintenance meditation, adhoc deeper explorative journeys, and presence focused moments I have found it easier to establish the habit of stillness and now-ness, which then overflows into the rest of the day. And most importantly, helps me align with life for an easier, more effortless ride. Give this a try, I would love to hear your experience with these three techniques.