Our lives only happen in the present moment. We can’t change the past, and the actions we take are happening now, not in the future. But many of us aren’t fully aware of what we are currently doing and therefore aren’t living an empowered life.
- Are we stuck in a routine?
- Are we living out our daily lives via habitual behaviors?
- Are we mindlessly going from one task to another without realizing the impact we are having on others?
- Are we “checking out,” and although we are physically present, our minds are elsewhere?
- Are we continuing to live out generational patterns we learned from our families?
Being present doesn’t mean we don’t think or plan for the future. Being aware doesn’t mean we are on our phones scrolling through social media. It means that we are engaging in life. We are authentically connecting with others. We notice the breeze, our child’s joy, or the homeless person smiling at us. We are consciously taking part in our lives using all of our senses.
Time isn’t precious at all because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time, but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time — past and future — the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is. ~ Eckhart Tolle
Why is Being Present Imperative?
For us to make authentic connections with others, we must be present with them. We’re consciously engaged in the conversation, interacting with them, soaking in their divine presence. We appreciate they took their time to spend it with us.
Through this intentional involvement with the other, we’re paying attention to the details, the words they choose, their facial expressions, and the tone of their voice. We’re listening to hear what the other is saying and with the desire to understand. We aren’t concerned about making the visit perfect. We’re stress-free and relishing the experience and all it encompasses.
When we’re fully present, we can’t be depressed about the past or anxious about the future because our thoughts are occupied by the current moment. Our cares don’t disappear, but they’re no longer inhabiting the present and stealing our joy or peace.
As we’re aware of the moment, we think about how our words or actions will create consequences. This mindfulness allows us to make more informed and conscious decisions with better outcomes because we have clarity and focus.
Being present allows us to create better memories because we’re focusing on what is occurring. We can more fully enjoy the events, the company, and the overall experience. This mindfulness enables us to have better recall with more details than if we are less attentive.
Focusing our minds on the current happenings and seeing all that is positive about the moment is how we’re fully present. It helps us appreciate the little things that occur in our lives.
The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness. ~ Abraham Maslow
Presence and Mindfulness are Different but Connected
Mindfulness is the condition of being aware of something. When we are fully present, this consciousness helps us with our ability to see the emotions, thoughts, and sensations that are occurring at the moment without judgment.
So being fully present is a requirement of mindfulness. When we are intentionally focusing on the current moment, we notice the details. We feel like we are experiencing more. There is an empowerment that comes when we fully engage with the activities of our lives.
When we are mindful, we are observing without labeling what our senses are revealing. This non-judgment is difficult for our egos because it tries to make sense of the world and surveying what it senses to determine if we are safe. That’s its job, to keep us safe.
The best tool to help with mindfulness is, of course, meditation. It’s how we can practice focusing on the present moment through mantras or breathwork. In my book, Raven Transcending Fear, I talk about the struggle I had in learning how to meditate. Still, perseverance won out, and during the closing of yoga class, I realized I was meditating.
Learning to focus on the here and now allows us to be empowered to live the life we desire by recognizing that all we have is this moment. We can all learn to be more present. It requires that we develop our awareness, understand our emotional triggers, dares to be our authentic selves, and relearn how to use our senses.
Life is a dance. Mindfulness is witnessing that dance. ~ Amit Ray
How the Egoic Mind Keeps Us Unaware
Many factors hamper our ability to be fully present. The ego’s job is to keep us safe, so when we start to feel uncomfortable about something, it reacts to our negative emotions. This reactionary response from the egoic mind is why it’s important to know what topics, situations, or issues trigger us into a defensive posture. Our hackles go up not because of the current circumstances, but by the old emotional wounds, we haven’t healed through forgiveness.
Another tool the ego uses to keep us unaware is through disturbances. Our brains are wired for distraction. Why? Because if something else is more enjoyable, interesting, or threatening, then our brains will respond. Whether it’s through mindlessly watching television or scrolling through social media, distractions keep us from being fully present.
Judging ourselves and others is also a way for the ego to keep us alone. It does this by creating a false perception by using comparison to separate us from each other. When we’re judgemental, it blocks our ability to listen. It makes us indifferent to the situation and fuels disinterest in the issue. By judging, we think we perceive the truth despite having little information, and usually, our judgments are erroneous.
Then there’s the negative self-talk we recognize as the egoic voice in our heads that admonishes us. Telling us what “should haves” and “could haves” we missed out on, making us feel miserable about our lives. The ego’s voice limits us by keeping us from trying, growing, and living our dreams by holding us in a fearful state.
What is the biggest thing that stops people from living their lives in the present moment? Fear–and we must learn how to overcome fear. ~ Brian Weiss
Presence Solves Problems
Many of us suffer because of our thoughts. I used to spend a lot of time thinking. I had judgments about the past, worries about the future, negative self-talk due to lack of confidence, all lingering in my head. My ego was trying to distract me from doing the work I needed to heal from my childhood trauma. But, if I were in the present moment, I wouldn’t have been having these issues.
The unawareness the ego is using all occur in our minds, so being fully present would cause these distractions to dissipate. Yes, other outside influences happen, but how our mind processes them is problematic.
When we are fully present, external pressures are no longer taking the forefront because they aren’t there. I am currently focusing on writing this article for my blog. I am not judging the past or worrying about the future. The self-talk that is occurring is about the correct wording I want to use as I write. I am aware of the puppy sleeping in my lap, and it’s comforting. In the present moment, all is well.
Presence means that our focus is on what we are doing, not what’s left on our to-do list. It’s about giving our full attention to the person who just interrupted us because they desire our input, not getting upset by the disruption. Becoming fully present is an empowered way to overcome difficulties and pressure because they fade away when our presence is complete.
If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath. ~ Amit Ray
Practical Ways to Stay Present
Our lives are like a film, and we are the stars of the story. As such, we should be fully engaged in the current scene and not trying to rehearse our lines for the next act. And when we are in the theater, we aren’t checking our phones or trying to do something else because we focus on the movie. So let’s look at eight ways to empower ourselves to watch our lives with full participation and awareness.
- Do Only One Thing At A Time. Multi-tasking is a myth because our minds can’t focus on more than one thing and do it well. Be aware of the thoughts, senses, and emotions. When we pay attention to only one thing, we accomplish more, and we do better work.
- Have Authentic Communication. To effectively communicate with another by making a connection, we have to look them in the eye. This way, we tell our egoic minds we want to hear what is being said to us, and we let the other person know we are genuinely interested in what they have to tell us. Then engage with them by sharing in return.
- Employ All The Senses. When we use more than one of our senses during an experience, we immerse ourselves in the activity and enjoy it more. Smell the coffee before we taste its fully bodied flavors. Feel the cool breeze on our faces as we listen to the songs of the morning birds. When we use our senses, it forces us to slow down to smell the roses as we look at their stunning beauty.
- Be Spontaneous. As humans, we like routines, but it’s more challenging to be fully present when on auto-pilot. Allow ourselves the impromptu occasions to occur. Something as simple as takeout for dinner or picking up a simple dessert as a treat. Adding a bit of fun and laughter to our lives means we stepped out of the ordinary routine and were in the present moment.
- Take Breaks. When we are focused on a task, our minds will need to rest about every 50 minutes. Allow the mind to wander a bit or do a self-check and see how we are feeling. This time can be used to take a step back to see the bigger perspective and be thankful for all we have in our lives. Refuel with a healthy snack or get a refreshing drink of water. Or pause and take three deep breaths to engage our autonomic nervous system to help us relax. These breaks allow us to refocus our attention on the present moment.
- Celebrate The Joy In Our Lives. Look for the little things that make us smile. The puppy sleeping in our lap, the flowing vine we can see through our window, or running into a friend while doing errands. As we acknowledge these small joys, we allow gratitude to rise from within us. We end up noticing more and more synchronicities in our daily lives.
- Heed Our Bodies. The innate wisdom our bodies have is miraculous. It speaks to us consistently. If only we will listen to it. Our body tells us what it needs, and we should listen to it. Through our bodies, we feel our emotions. Or do we stuff them? Even if we hide our emotional state, our body will release them if we are unwilling. Allow ourselves to sense our feelings and then let them go. We enable our minds to no longer dwell on the emotions and can move forward.
- Cherish Our Daily Rituals. Every morning the first hour is my time. I meditate, say affirmations, and journal three pages without fail. It’s how I choose to start the day from a place of consciousness. Whatever rites we have, afternoon tea or a leisurely walk after dinner, do it slowly and savor the time and the peace that enters.
Focus on opportunities, not setbacks. Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. Focus on the present moment, not the past or the future. Empower yourself! ~ Akiroq Brost
Moving Forward By Being Fully Present
Being fully present takes conscious practice and effort, especially when we are starting. But over time, it becomes natural.
When we are fully present, we alter our experience as well as those we come in contact with. Through our shared encounter, we enhance the joy felt and engage in a memorable way. There is substance to our communication, and we feel connected to the other.
Our experiences feel like they are spontaneously flowing together. The awareness we have concerning our thoughts, emotions, and senses is enhanced. We are less reactionary because we feel at peace. And there is an internal knowing that we are being our authentic selves when we are fully present.
Remember, then: there is only one time that is important–Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. ~ Leo Tolstoy
As we become more conscious of our awareness, we can learn to become fully present and empower ourselves to live the life of our dreams.
Do you need support to help you deal with distractions? Do you want a strategy to help you overcome the ego’s limiting beliefs and live a successful life? If so, please reach out to me at TerriKozlowski.com, and we can put together an action plan for you to create the life you desire.