At times, we all feel as though we are living on autopilot. We go through the day failing to engage fully with the present moment, usually distracted by the constant chatter in our minds. This is very normal, especially in a world where we are so easily distracted by technology and faced with multiple personal pressures.
By practicing presence through welcoming awareness and living in the now, we are able to reduce stress, increase our happiness and significantly transform our lives. Here are some ideas to get you started, and the best part is they can be practiced anywhere any time! Give yourself the present of presence.
1. Breath Awareness
Wherever you are, take your attention to the breath. The breathe is the entry point to our internal awareness. Breathe in and out at a natural pace 5 times. Follow the breath in and out. In your head count 1 on the inhalation and 1 on the exhalation then repeat for 2,3,4 and 5. Keep your focus gently on the breath and the number. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back without judgement or frustration.
2. Body Awareness
Now, simply expand your awareness into your body. Feel the body as it is right now. There might be an itch, a pain, a congestion or just a hum of life buzzing through the cells. Let it be exactly as it is. Explore with your mind the feelings of this being that is you. See if you can feel areas separately and then all of you at once. This is you…whatever you experience here is right for you for now. Nothing is fixed, everything is flow.
3. Mind Awareness
The mind is likely to be chattering away. The chatter will be about all sorts of information jostling for your attention. Just watch or listen to the chatter.
Remember this, you are the awareness of this chatter. The chatter is not you. So observe it. Remark to yourself, ‘This chatter is quite a peculiar happening. It is coasting along without me. I will sit calmly here and watch it, and see where it goes.’ The one thing not to do here is to give any energy to any particular thought that travels through. Simply allow thoughts to come and go. Know that if there was a useful reminder about something important that it will still be available to you in 5 minutes time when you come out of your practice.
4. Total Self Awareness
Finally notice who you are in this moment. What are the characteristics of being you right now. Become adept at observing and describing your sense of self. Remember also to BE your experience of this sense of self. In other words to participate in the moment.
As you become more fully present in the body open your eyes and see how long you can continue this focus. As you practice you will be able to hold presence for longer periods until you carry greater presence around with you all the time. In spiritual terms we might say that you are choosing to become more conscious, available and embodied.