Extraordinary Living — From the Inside Out

What does it REALLY mean to be Present?

What does it REALLY mean to be Present? 

We hear it all the time:  Be in the now.  Be present.

But I was recently asked a few fabulous questions:  what does it REALLY mean to be in the Now?  What does it look like?

While I could write pages AND PAGES on this, I’m cutting to the chase with breakin-it-down-know-how:

So, what does Being ‘Present’ really mean?

Being present, also called Living in the moment and mindfulness—is a state of active and intentional attention to what’s going on around you in the present moment.   The fact is we’re always paying attention to something from moment to moment, the question is – what is it?  Are you engaged with your incessant internal thoughts, or are you engaged with the life around you?

What it’s NOT 

The easiest illustration of not being present is driving down the street and arriving at your destination without remembering your drive.  We’ve all had that one – many times right?!

So what we’re you doing? You were probably either 100% removed from driving with thoughts of your day (or your day tomorrow, or your date later that night). OR you’re driving down the street and your constantly judging what you’re experiencing.

In other words, you were paying more attention to your thoughts ABOUT the world, instead of the World itself.  No, really – repeat that again:  I was paying more attention to my thoughts ABOUT the world than the world itself.

Here’s an example:  you notice the driver next to you, your thoughts go something like this:  “Wow, there’s a cutie, how’s my hair look? Geez, I really need to put my sunglasses on, I love these new sunglasses, they were worth every stinkin penny!…”

Or this: We sip a lattee and think, “This is not as good as the one I had yesterday.”   We see a beautiful sunset and think “I hope it’s like this all week”.  These thoughts remove us.  You no longer just feel the breeze on your check or simply appreciate the beauty of the colors.  Now you’re longing for a future that you have no control over, while missing this incredible sunset.  

These thoughts take us to the future, or the past, and they ALWAYS lessen the present moment.

Can you see that?  When we’re present, we’re not judging or comparing things, we simply get to experience what we’re experiencing without judgement.

And by the way, when I’m only experiencing, I find all my lattees are delicious!

Practice

Set the intention of paying attention to what’s happening at this present moment.

Become aware of being alive.

Focus on your breathe: take a deep breath in and breath out.

Become aware right now of the sound your computer makes.

Now notice the black and white colors and scrigly lines on the screen.  If you’re aware of that feeling right now, as you’re reading this, you’re living here, in the moment.  That’s it.  There is no destination.  You’re here.  Breathe in and breathe out.

Presence is the foundation to experiencing true joy and freedom in your life.

XO, Laura

2 Comments
  1. We all know we don’t think about the exact moment often.Its often more of a concern with what’s next? When I engage in the moment of now,I think wow look how nice that person was to me.Maybe held the door for me,Or picked up something I dropped,Or just gave me a smile.That’s my moment thinking.But to be honest many thoughts are about what’s next.My thoughts are very seldom about me.I’m aware of what’s around me.But I don’t always engage in it.But I think ones mind is not condtioned to think of now.

    • Thanks for your insights Brandon! You’re completely correct: Most of us have not been conditioned to be present. Make no mistake however, we were born only with an understanding of the now, just look at any baby. Instead, we have learned fear, judgement, to-do lists and to keep on moving! Regarding your comment that you’re many times thinking about ‘what’s next’, that’s actually very useful when you’re in work mode! However, if you’re not able to turn that off 100% when you’re ‘off duty’, then I invite you to start engaging in the moment more as it relates to your immediate surroundings (focusing on your environment, not experiences prompted by another person). For example, try looking at a flower, and see it as if you’ve never seen it before, or savor your next meal without thinking of anything but your senses, no comparisons. Just begin by taking deep breaths and let your mind exhausts itself until the present moment awareness arises in you. Hug, Laura

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