“Life is available only in the present moment. If you abandon the present moment, you cannot live the moments of your daily life deeply.” Thich Nhat Hanh
Let that sink in for a (present) moment. Life can only be experienced to the fullest if we are fully in the present. The mind wants to keep pulling us back to the past, or projecting us into an imagined future, but if life is but a series of present moments, then the past and future cease to exist. They are only states of mind. It is hard for us to recognise this when are mostly identifying with our egos and have attachments to what has gone before or living in constant hope or fear of what the future may bring, but all we ever have is NOW. We could wax philosophical about this topic for a very long time, but what we are concerned with is finding practical ways to come back home to the present moment; we say ‘come back home to’ as it is our natural state! It is a given we will keep drifting away from it – such is the nature of human beings – but what we can do is keep consciously choosing the present. Once we keep making that choice, it becomes habit and it is indeed a healthy, soul aligned habit!
Here are 5 practical tips to return home to the present to bring you clarity, calmness and positiveness…
Breath, in a nutshell, is what keeps us alive. It is life force itself. And is automatic for most of us, yet so many of us are not breathing properly. Breathing from an unconscious space becomes hesitant and shallow. But when we breathe consciously and with the intention to take in the life force that is our birth right, we reaffirm our decision to be here on earth, to embrace life and the present moment. There are so many breathing exercises you can find – do your own research or come up with your own technique that works for you – but here is a really simple technique that is sure to bring you back to the present:
Sit in a comfortable position, either on a chair or the floor, making intention to be as fully in the present as you are able. Close your eyes and inhale deeply through the nose and exhale through the mouth (with the intention of letting go of whatever tension that needs to leave and whatever is no longer serving you on the outbreath) for two breaths, then on the third, hold your breath until you can’t hold it any longer, then release again through the mouth. Keep doing this (two breaths in and out, the third holding until you can’t any longer and releasing) until you feel that you have come home. Then breathe normally again and sit in stillness, inviting the calm and clarity of the present, observing the sensations and emotions that arise.
Bring Yourself Back to Your Body
There is nothing like coming home to the body to get to the present. There are various ways we can do this, like practising yoga or tai chi. But there are many other methods, find what works best for you by meditating on what you genuinely enjoy and doing more of that! For some, it’s swimming or hiking; for others, it’s cold water immersion or dancing. And then, you can incorporate rituals like dry body brushing (check out our past blog post Morning Rituals for Woke Beings on the benefits of and how to body brush) into your daily life.
Get Out Into Nature
Connecting with Mother Earth is one of the most effective ways to bring us back to the present. Not only does it have a cleansing effect being in the fresh air and immersed in the magnificent scenery (reminding us of the sheer beauty of the earth), being in nature brings us back to our own true nature because nature simply IS. It does not force or fret or try to control. It is what it is, and so is the present. And nature does not judge, it accepts and holds us no matter what.
Allow Yourself to Feel Your Emotions
Our emotions are a vehicle to the present, and want to be felt. It is only by acknowledging and allowing ourselves to feel our emotions – without judgement – that they can be released. If we keep going back to sit in the mind to detach from our emotions, they will start to gain power over us and manifest themselves in the body through illness and imbalance in an attempt to get our attention. What we feel is what we feel, that is the truth – not what we hope to or want to feel. By sitting with our emotions and attempting to understand why they are there from a space of non-judgement and curiosity, the veil starts to lift from our perceptions and we start to see ourselves, and others, for what we really are.
Your Loving Attention
Being present simply means being with what is in front of and inside you. Give what is in front of you – which if you think about it is only really a manifestation of what is within – your full, loving attention. All you need to learn resides in the present. Even if the person or situation you are dealing with is unpleasant, it carries all the medicine and lessons you need for right now. This goes for yourself. Give your own beautiful self your loving attention, for all the answers you seek lie within. Trust that what you seek is right in front of you.
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