Right now. Here. This moment. It's all we really have.
The sights, smells, sounds, and experiences that surround us are all happening in the now!
The past is already over and the future has yet to be determined.
Yet many of us find ourselves detached. Disconnected. Absent, from our own mind.
Our mind helps us do so many important things. When we need to strategize, plan, or execute an action, your mind's got your back.
But it is a tool. It is NOT who we are.
The mind only works in two realms: the past and the future.
Don't believe me?
Try doing nothing. Just sit and be. Be in the space of quiet and stillness. Does your mind immediately begin to think about the last time you did this? Or maybe it drifts off to thinking about what you have to do later on today.
Without you fiercely guarding your thoughts, your mind will quickly pull you in either direction....past or future.
So why does the mind want to avoid the present moment?
“The mind, conditioned as it is by the past, always seeks to re-create what it knows and is familiar with. Even if it is painful, at least it is familiar. The mind always adheres to the known. The unknown is dangerous because it has no control over it. That’s why the mind dislikes and ignores the present moment." ~Eckhart Tolle, The Power of NowIt's so much easier to re-live what we know, than take a step into the unknown. For some, it feels safe and comfortable to sit in unhappiness, fear, or guilt. The alternative is foreign. So they stay in the place of discontent.
When you are dreaming about the future it's the mind attempt to carve out a life based on what we believe is possible. We identify with this false sense of knowing because it makes us feel safe and secure. Being open to ALL the beautiful and amazing possibilities of life gives us endless options. But having an abundance of choices can be overwhelming and scary.
1. Notice your habitual response that distracts you from the present. Do you worry, get anxiety, regret, fear, guilt, seek temporary pleasure, or something easier to deal with?
Instead of finding the nearest emotional escape route, just try sitting with your uneasiness for a moment. Sometimes when we face difficulty, head-on, we realize the reality of the situation is not as bad as we imagined it in our mind.
2. "I’m Back." It sounds so simple and obvious. This is a great exercise I learned from actor and Committed Impulse teacher, Josh Pais. When you find yourself slipping into your mind, losing focus on what's going on in front of you, say to yourself, "I'm Back".
You can even say it aloud (just make sure you're not with someone, or they might think you're crazy). This shakes your consciousness out of whatever mental loop you were stuck in, and brings you back to the NOW.
3. Make eye contact. You can always tell when you've lost someone's attention. Whether they're looking off in another direction, checking their phone, or seem as if they are staring right through you.
It may seem uncomfortable at first, sometimes because the other person is taken off guard by your sudden genuine attention. But once established, you allow for a real connection to take place.
4. Focus on your daily tasks. I don't think most of us LOVE washing dishes or folding laundry. As a way to avoid these boring duties, our minds begin to latch on to something more exciting. When you see your thoughts begin to veer off the task at hand FOCUS. Feel the sensation of the act. Give it every ounce of your attention. Make every movement have a purpose.
5. Try something new. The familiar keeps us safe and stuck. New experiences help to open us up. By allowing them into our lives we HAVE to pay attention, because we're taking part in something we've never done before. Go sky diving, take a painting class, join a team. Do ANYTHING out of YOUR ordinary.
6. Chop wood. Carry Water. Recognize you can only do one thing well at a time. Human beings can’t really multi-task effectively. We can do many things in rapid succession or mix automatic with non-automatic actions. "When you sweep, sweep. When you sit, sit. When you walk, walk. Chop wood, carry water...this is the core of mindful living and the essence of evolving into a conscious being." (source)
When you have a conversation with a person -- any person -- attend to them as if they are the most important person in the world!
7. Free the pigeons! This is another technique from Josh Pais. Sit in your feelings of discomfort, pain, boredom. Witness them. Notice that feelings are actually physical. The tightening of your chest, racing heartbeat, sweaty palms, clenched jaw.
We try to suppress those feelings like trying to hold pigeons under our shirt. Instead of holding them in, notice the feeling and where it lies in your body. Feel it. Now notice what happens after a few minutes…it goes away. And you are back.
8. Breathe. Even though we do it, every minute of every day, very rarely do we breathe with purpose. Deep, cleansing breaths are a great way to release toxins and give oxygen to your brain. But the best part of laser focused breathing is that you will find it impossible to think of anything else. You can't breathe in the past or in the future. Breath occurs only in the NOW.
Try it. Take a deep breathe in and say in your mind "Breathe in". Now exhale and say, "Breathe out." You have just brought yourself back to the present moment.
With love, Right NOW, From Granolaville,
If you’re ready to really nourish your mind, body, and soul contact me for information about my one-on-one holistic coaching practice.
Together we’ll create a personal plan of action to help you find more balance and bliss in your life. It’s time to embrace your natural awesomeness with Soul Fueled Living!