To be in the now is a popular desire. We live fast paced lives, taking our breaks on social media and checking our devices right up until the moment we go to sleep. So how can we slow down, bring a sense of peacefulness into our lives and reconnect with the space within in order to live mindfully in the space without?
The answer that has come to us is: Be in the now.
The great news is we are always in the now. Whether we are focused on the past or the future or caught up with our thoughts about things we haven’t done, need to get done, want to do, wish we didn’t do, all of it is happening in the now. So if the answer isn’t to be in the now because this is a given, what do we really want?
What we really want is to be present to the now.
Many times when guides, teachers, practitioners try to help us get present, they direct us to our breath. We are told to pay attention to our breathing as we inhale and exhale, drawing our attention away from our minds and into our bodies. Out of our thinking and into our being.
This is good advice for becoming present because it is always about where our thoughts are in the moment and whether we are remaining present to the now as they flow through our minds or getting dragged along with them to some other place and time.
If we think of our thoughts as water, they are sometimes trickling like a gentle stream and sometimes gushing like a river. Whatever they are doing, quiet or loud, we do have the ability to remain present to the moment we are in, rather than float or rush along with them.
Wishing to be in the now is indicative of how caught up in our thinking we are in any moment. If we have forgotten where we are, we are truly not present.
Taking a moment to breathe deeply, look at where we are physically in the world, connect with the space around us, the body that houses us and the breath that lives us is a helpful way of waking up to the present moment. If we engage with the world this way for a few moments, at some point we start to notice our thinking leading the way again. This is normal and OK but it is helpful if we are aware of it happening and notice the way that our feelings and focus shift as it occurs.
There is an increasing case of overwhelm happening in modern day life and overwhelm is not the same as being busy. Many busy people are successful at remaining present, keeping their eye on the ball and managing multiple things at once. Overwhelm occurs when our thoughts about being busy distract us from being present, confuse us by telling us we are not in the now and lead us to feel as if we have no time, no space and no chance of peace or stillness in our day.
Taking the time to bring our awareness to the present can cut through the fog in our minds and lead to clarity and insight about how best to get things done and find time in our day to increase a sense of space and wellbeing.
Sometimes not being present is about feeling that we don’t like the present moment. We wish we were elsewhere or doing something different or not facing an issue or challenge. Yet again, our thoughts are creating our experience and only beyond them, in our connection to the present moment is the capacity for peace and understanding that will help us to accept our current situation. This is how we get clear enough to take helpful action or make positive change in our lives and this happens when we wake up to the present and connect to it rather than wishing it away.
We are consciousness with the gift of thought moving around in bodies made of spinning vortexes of energy. Life is a miracle. Every time we come alive to this truth we are present, connected with our wellbeing and fortified for our lives in the outside world.
We are always in the now. This is a given. Being present to this fact beyond the distraction and confusion of our thoughts and intellect connects us to the wonder and potential of the moment and our limitless ability to experience peace and stillness. Being present to the now allows us to engage with life differently and live in a fast paced world with grace, a sense of space and peace within.
Header image: Echo d’une odysee, Sylvie Adams