After reading quite a bit about being present, experiencing each moment fully, living in the ‘now’ – I still find it fairly difficult to practice. I was initially introduced to the concept of experiencing the present moment about 5 years ago when my brother Marc gave me a book called The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Thanks Marc 🙂 At the time I had never heard of the book but when I read the blurb I exclaimed “This is exactly what I need right now!”.
The book made me see things as I had never seen them before. It taught me to experience life as it was, fully accepting how things were without resisting them. It had never occurred to me how much easier life could be if you simply focused on what you were experiencing from moment to moment rather than thinking about the past or the future. After all, neither the past nor the future exist, right? Anything that happens is happening now. It doesn’t happen yesterday, it doesn’t happen tomorrow. This concept can be difficult to grasp at first, I had to read a fair chunk of the book to understand what the hell the author was going on about! However, I persisted with my reading and it was very rewarding.
I am currently half way through reading the book for the second time and I am struggling to ‘just be’ without identifying with my thoughts or thinking about the past or future. In order to help me be present I recently compiled a list of all the things that help me experience the present (even if just for a moment) and thought I would share it with you. The list has quite a few items so I have divided them up into separate posts which I will share throughout the week. Since it is the first day of Summer (and it is actually warm in Melbourne for a change!) I thought I would list things you can enjoy doing in the beautiful weather. For those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, these exercises can be used in the colder weather too 🙂
You can experience the present moment fully by:
1. Focusing on your feet hitting the ground as you walk
- As you walk, (whether it be in a beautiful park or simply around the office) focus all of your attention on how it feels as each foot touches the ground
- Feel the flow of blood and energy in your feet as you move
- I often do this when I get up from my desk at work. I also do it as I walk through the park on my way to work in the morning
2. Feel the air on your face
- Again, as you are walking, focus on how the air or wind feels as it makes contact with your face
- This is a favourite of mine especially on a beautiful day
3. Feel the sun on your skin
- Any time you are in the sun direct your attention to the feeling of the sun against your skin
- Take note of which part of your body feels the hottest from the sun’s heat
4. Listen to your surroundings
- If you can, close your eyes (or keep your eyes open if you like) and focus all of your attention on listening to every sound you can hear
- The great thing about this exercise is that you can do it at any time. You can even do it right now!
- I particularly love doing this in the park when I can hear the birds singing, the wind blowing and even traffic on the nearby road
- Remember, being present is about accepting what is happening in the moment rather than resisting it. So if you are enjoying the wonderful sounds of nature only to hear a lawn mower start, accept it and focus on that sound too. This can also be a great exercise in acceptance, especially for someone like me who hates loud noises!
You might want to try doing more than one of these exercises at the same time. It will definitely help you experience the present moment since you can’t focus on these things and think about the past or future all at once!
What do you do in order to experience the present moment?
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