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The Power of Being Present

Slowing down in an ultra-fast world

Being present? Aren't I already present?

While these questions may seem obvious (in either direction depending on your level of understanding), these are some of the most important questions we can ask ourselves.

Why?

It's really quite simple- we HAVE NOTHING but the present moment. 

Boom. 

For some of you, I may have just ruined your day. For others, I might have just stated something that seems very obvious and unimportant. Whatever camp you fall under, the following points about getting present will help you find fulfillment, joy, happiness, and meaning in even the most mundane of activities.

1. Why is it so important?

Why is being present so important, you ask? Well, if you aren't present, you are doing one of three things: projecting into the future, reliving the past, or you are dead. Seeing as you are reading this right now, you aren't dead, so you are probably doing one of the first two.

Why is projecting into the future a bad thing? Aren't you always talking about visions and goal-setting? Isn't that projection?

First of all, stop being a smart-ass. Secondly, there is a difference between being PRESENT, and being "present".

Making plans to achieve some goal, or attain some level of success is never a bad thing. What we are talking about here is LIVING in the future or the past. 

When you are living in the future, you are taking away from those who are with you in the present. When you are reliving some event that happened in the past, you are self-inflicting pain that isn't happening in the current moment.

The only growth that can happen is in the PRESENT moment. Planning to be somewhere in the future is the first of MANY steps that require you to change current behaviors, habits, etc. in the present moment.

So let's try that again- why is being present important? Because if you aren't growing in the present, enjoying this experience called life, you are wasting precious time.

When does projecting or reliving happen?

Ok, you are now convinced that living in the present is essential to your success in life. How do you stop projecting or reliving? When does it happen most?

In my experience, projecting or reliving happens MOST often during the mundane, mindless activities. Those of you who know me right now are thinking, "Man, he must be projecting/reliving all the time with his intelligence level."

Very funny. 

In all seriousness, it happens during the activities that don't ask for our FULL attention. A list of activities that provide for prime time to project/relive include:

  • Driving (how many times have you gotten home and don't remember what happened on the drive? Scary, I know.)
  • Watching TV (about as mindless as it gets)
  • Social Media Surfing (if that phrase isn't coined yet, I'm trademarking it.)

There are many others such as showering, brushing your teeth, walking to and from class, the list goes on and on.

The first step is to become AWARE that you aren't in the present. Once you have the awareness, you can then begin to understand what it means to be fully present.

3. What can I do to get more present?

You want to be present. You are aware when you aren't present (which is probably a lot, or is that just me?). You are now ready for some exercises, techniques, tools, etc. that will help you be more present.

1. The first is meditation.

Meditation is literally the practice of getting present. If you are struggling to stop your mind from racing, give meditation a try.

For beginners who want an easy-to-follow, guided meditation, I recommend HeadSpace. HeadSpace is an app that guides you through meditation is a very easy, non woo-woo way. And as an extra pus, the guy who narrates has a super-cool British accent. Enjoy.

There are many other tools for meditation. Just find the one that works best with your needs and get to work!

2. Second is Gratitude.

When I find myself focusing on what I'm grateful for, it almost always brings me back to the present moment. 

Jt Burns always shares an awesome question with people who ask him about gratitude and being present. As people are unloading all the negative, worry-filled shit that they possible can on Jt during conversation, he simply asks them, "What is your NOW like?"

And, what a shocker, their attitude changes in a split second! They have clothes, food, a car, etc. and they realize that they have it pretty good.

I recommend writing in a gratitude journal. I personally use the Five-Minute Journal, and it kicks ass. Check it our for yourself.

3. And lastly, just being aware of your projections and reliving of the past.

I don't have a tip or tool for this other than, when catching yourself projecting some problem into the future or reliving some shitty moment in your past, bringing yourself back to the present moment.

Meditation is an awesome tool to help you get better at catching these mini-relapses. Nobody is perfect. Nobody can live in the present 100 percent of the time (unless they are a zen master or something).

The goal here is to do the best you can and realize the power of being present.

Conclusion

If you still aren't convinced of the power of being present, I give up.

 

Take some time during the rest of the day to be present to when you aren't present (whoa, I'm like a presence guru).

 

If you enjoyed this blog post, we would greatly appreciate it if you shared it with someone else. Seeing as we all have a problem getting and staying present, it should be easy to find someone to share it with :)

If you still aren't convinced of the power of being present, I give up.

Take some time during the rest of the day to be present to when you aren't present (whoa, I'm like a presence guru).

If you enjoyed this blog post, we would greatly appreciate it if you shared it with someone else. Seeing as we all have a problem getting and staying present, it should be easy to find someone to share it with :)

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