Quite often we are detached from the present moment because much of our time is spent in our minds. Thoughts are very rarely centred around what is happening now; much of our thinking consists of worries – worries about the future, worries about ourselves and anxiety about the past, all of which hold no relevance to the here and now.
The suffering we experience as a result of our thoughts is often unnecessary; if we focused our attention on the present moment, we would free our minds from the pain of our thoughts.
Here are Soul Analyse’s top tips for living in the present moment.
1) Become the Watcher of your Thoughts
Reach an understanding that you are not your mind, which means you are not your thoughts. Your true self is beneath your mind – it is a source of pure consciousness and it is often shadowed by your mind. With this knowledge, become a spectator of your mind, the watcher behind your thoughts. Don’t try to stop yourself from thinking or judge any thoughts, simply allow them to pass as you watch from behind. This practice separates you – the true self – from your mind, and stepping out of your mind brings you into the present moment.
When we silently observe our mind, we also become more aware of our self-destructive habits. Our thoughts often present us with problems that are based on past experiences, and this can cause us to relive the same painful moments over and over again. It is only when we bring ourselves into the here and now that we notice it happening.
2) Bring your Attention to the Here and Now
How often do you find yourself talking to someone but instead of listening to what they are saying, you are engaged in thought? So often we live our lives in our minds, which removes us from the present moment and restricts not only how much we enjoy life but also how much we achieve.
Work, for example, can suffer greatly as a result of compulsive thinking – it isn’t possible to make good use of your time if you are constantly distracted by your thoughts, and this applies to all areas of life. How much of your day is spent thinking instead of doing?
Begin to pay attention to what is happening right now, and be aware of when your attention has shifted from the present moment, into your thoughts. The more you practice this, the more you will be able to maintain a present state.
3) Appreciate your Surroundings
In order to live life to the fullest, we must learn to appreciate each and every moment we are alive – our surroundings can help us to do this. Focus on the magnificence around you – perhaps a bird in a tree, or a hanging picture that you have never looked at in detail before, and begin to appreciate all of the beauty that is unfolding before your very eyes.
It is easy to see the beauty in nature, such as the ocean, flowers and trees, and the sky – but it is also possible to find beauty in, and be grateful for, all of the ordinary things in our lives. When you are fully absorbed in your surroundings, your attention is placed firmly in the present moment.
4) Breathing Techniques
Mindful breathing is a Buddhist tradition, which is now one of the most commonly used mindful practices. It uses the breath as an object for concentration and works well to ground us in the present moment.
Sitting in a comfortable position, focus your awareness on your breath – feel the air flow into your body and feel it flowing back out. Notice the speed at which you are breathing, and listen to your breath as it flows in and out of your body – this brings you into a full state of presence. Practicing mindfulness for just five minutes per day can improve your mental and physical health, as well as create more peace and calm in your life.