“Forever is composed of nows.” ― Emily Dickinson
One of the biggest questions people ask about Mindfulness, is all around being the in “now”. What on earth is it about? What does it mean and why even think about it?
Practicing Mindfulness helps you to focus on being present in the now. Present moment awareness brings calm, peace and sanity to your life. It exposes your ego and puts you in touch with your true self. It helps you be more connected to both yourself and also to everyone around you.
The present moment is all there ever is. Still, most people ignore it, imagining the future or the past, stuck in their thinking minds.
The present moment is so simple. Its simplicity is masked by the egoic mind – wanting to get to some imaginary point in the future (as if the future will bring more happiness than anything could now), or reliving the past (as if this is more important than now). So many of our problems, traumas, anxieties, fears etc. are all based in our minds. Dwelling in the past, or conditioned by the past and then negatively anticipating “the future”.
Time exists only in the mind. It keeps you from the conscious presence that is who you already are, only available within the present moment.
So how can you become more aware? It does take some time, so be prepared to take a few minutes out of your day to try one of the following:
- Be aware of what you can see, hear, smell, feel. Take a moment to really concentrate on looking at an object or listen to the sounds going on around you. Perhaps sit outside and feel the breeze on your skin or the smells in the air around you.
- Be aware of your breath flowing gently in and out of your body. The breathing exercise is one of the fundamentals of Mindfulness practice. For a blog post I wrote on the breath practice, go to: https://martinsummerhayes.com/2016/04/20/the-mindfulness-tool-the-breath/
- Experience and feel your body from within – for example can you be aware of your legs – as if you are feeling the inside of them? This might sound strange, but try it, and you might be surprised by the results.
- Can you hear the silence behind any noise that may be there? Listen to the background, as well as the foreground noises.
- Be aware of space around all things you can see rather than just the things themselves? Look beyond the foreground and look to the background.
- Finally, can you feel yourself as the awareness behind the thoughts that arise? This is probably the most difficult one to try.
Practicing any of these approaches on a regular basis will help put you within the present moment and somewhat out of your mind. Of course the mind may well pull you back in again with some thought, or emotional resistance may arise, but that is the challenge with the mind.
You may notice that as you stay in the present moment, you might become more aware of deeper feelings, thoughts and emotions that you were not aware of before. This is fine, and they are as they are. Allow them to be as well, do not name any emotion or thought – let them be, be the space for them, and see what happens. You may notice as you do this, a sense of peace, aliveness, awareness, however subtle or strong is arising in the background
This practice of present moment awareness and acceptance puts you in touch with what you really are, and sets you free from all the negativity you may be carrying in your mind. There is only this moment, and it is as it is.
I leave you with the following quote.