“Just be present.”
Ok.. But what does that really mean?
Everyone has experienced the present moment, the hard part is understanding it.
But don’t worry. Below you’ll find everything you learn how to be present and 5 exercises I use every single day.
What Does It Mean To Be “In The Present Moment”?
The present moment is life is being experienced as it is. Life being lived without any judgment, thoughts, inhibitions, or doubt. The present moment is a state of flow.
Think back to when you were washing dishes last. Were you present, washing every nook and cranny? Was there no thought of when you would finish, and simply enjoying the gift of this moment?
Or were you distant, thinking about what you would get done tomorrow or an event that happened in the past? Worrying about anything and everything that isn’t in your control?
When you’re present, the dishes are being washed without any thought. You aren’t worrying about the past or the future, you’re only washing the dishes, as it is.
Now the same analogy can be applied to any part of your life. Are you present, right now, reading this article or are you preoccupied?
It’s ok if you aren’t, together we will cover everything you need to know about the present moment.
Why You Need To Learn To Be Present
You aren’t truly living if you are outside of presence. Life is in a constant state of motion, pushing and pulling. Staying present becomes a challenge when life brings you to your knees.
But being present in those moments are critical. Surgeons, pilots, drivers (and many others) all rely on being present to do their jobs. Imagine for a moment any one of them became careless for a second, that would be the loss of more than one life.
Learning to be present teaches you how to deal with your emotions, internal conflicts and find inner peace. Without the present moment, you will be left on an eternal chase through life.
The present moment teaches you to be here, now. There is nothing other than this moment, and there never will be.
Benefits of Living in the Moment
- Intense feeling of fulfillment
- Ability to stay in “flow”
- Act without overthinking
- No anxiety about the past/future
- A deep sense of peace
Difficulties When Trying to Stay Present
You won’t be present 100% of the time.
And that’s perfectly ok. You won’t be able to force the present moment. It’s fickle that way, the harder you try to find it the more lost you’ll become.
When you get your first taste of being present it can be magical. The issue comes later when that moment passes and you’re left wondering where you went wrong.
Without an understanding of how to experience the present moment this can lead to a very hard uphill battle with yourself.
The first step is admitting you aren’t in control of whether you are present or not.
Any moment of division (when the present moment is no longer being experienced) is an invitation to explore within. Looking at it as “difficult” will only create more thoughts around the situation. You want to feel divided – it’s a chance to gain more vision, perception, and clarity.
I relish the moments that I feel “bad” or have an emotion that I can work with. I’ve stopped running away and learned that being present with your emotions is the best way to heal inner turmoil.
If you’re having trouble being present, below are my 5 present moment awareness techniques that I use everyday.
1) Be Aware of Expectations
You were enjoying the moment just as it is, feeling bliss, joy, and then.. you lost it. You go searching for hours only to be left with a head full of disappointment. You’re no better off than you were a few hours ago. You’re left wondering if you’ll ever feel presence ever again.
Be aware of your expectations of the present moment. Yes, being present is an amazing blessing. But the harder you chase it, the longer the road ahead of you.
Be present with the notion that this too shall pass.. The greatest emotion you have ever felt will come to an end. It may be followed by happiness, sadness, emptiness, shallowness, tiredness, but you need to have open arms.
The present moment is about accepting what is. Be present with not being present. Be present with the flux of life. Flow where you need to go.
Be like water.
2) You Are Not Your Thoughts
The next thought that pops up in the mind…
- Where did it come from?
- Who does it belong to?
- What’s “behind” the thought itself?
Ask yourself these questions constantly. Try not to answer them. I know, it sounds silly.
Hear me out. The “logical” mind is not able to comprehend these questions on the right level. The mind needs to digest these questions and the present moment will find the answer for you. Presence has an infinite amount of wisdom available, you need to be listening to hear it.
Suffering comes from identification with thought. When you haven’t felt presence, this seems incomprehensible.
How can it be that “I am not my thoughts?”. Easy. The answer is that these thoughts happen with or without your permission.
You wouldn’t have any issues in life if you were in total control. You would be able to pick and choose which thoughts enter your mind but instead, thoughts are created from presence.
Thinking still happens but that doesn’t mean they are YOUR thoughts.
Being able to identify this lets you free your mind from the attachment that most will suffer through their entire lives. It’s not something that is going to be totally understood in one day, but even becoming aware of this is enough to get that brain juice flowing.
Meditation will be your rock when it comes to learning how to be present. When you learn how to practice meditation correctly, it cuts through mental fog.
I love to meditate when the feeling arises. That’s a part of being present – I don’t plan for my meditation sessions to happen. I may meditate at 1pm, 6pm, 3am, I’m not a “put in the calendar” type of guy.
Here are some key takeaways you need to make sure you’re doing while meditating.
- Letting go of any expectations of how a singular session may feel
- Only meditate when the urge arises
- Avoiding multi-hour meditation sessions
- Taking it slow at the start
4) Emotional Intelligence
Learning to be present means being one with your emotional state.
The present moment teaches you that emotions are neither good nor bad. They are only emotions, as they are. Thought is what gives these emotions labels which in turn creates attachment.
The key to being emotionally intelligent is to stop running away from your state. If you’re feeling bad – let yourself feel as bad as possible. By running you only give these emotions more power to return later and wreak havoc inside of your subconscious.
These moments of hard emotions are an invitation to look within and resolve them. Emotions are a singular entity merely being experienced on different ends of the spectrum.
You need to feel sorrow to feel bliss. You need ecstasy to feel pain. Only wanting to feel “good” is a one-way ticket to disappointment.
Emotions are in a transient state at all times. Enjoy the moment here, now, and witness how changes wash over you as time goes by.
5) Learning to Let Go
You need to let go without trying to let go. It’s the same with the present moment, force it and it’s gone!
Funny how that works. But there is a solution. Accept. Accept until you’re sick and tired of those six letters and ACCEPT some more.
When you’re in conflict with yourself or the world it’s preventing you from being present. Holding in all of those terrible emotions is how you stay out of the present.
Start by accepting something tiny. That guy that didn’t hold the door for you when your hands were full? Let that go.
Work up to bigger things. Friends that wronged you, lovers that cheated you, parents that robbed you of a childhood.
I know it’s not easy. I’m not claiming that it’s a 1-2-3 process. Learning to be present is unlearning everything you’ve ever known. Of course, it’s going to be hard at first!
But it gets easier. Day by day you’ll be letting go of your past and stop worrying about the future. The present will be all that’s left, and you’ll wonder how you ever lived before.
How To Be in the Present Moment Always
You can’t, seriously.
Wanting to be above the human condition isn’t what the present moment is about. Being present means being ok with not being present. I know that’s a bit of a mouthful, but chew on that thought for a moment.
The more you are ok with not being present – the more present you become!
Look on the other side. You could be worrying yourself to death about how you lost your ability to be present. Now you’ve added another layer of anxiety on top of the reason that shook you out of the present in the first place!
The present moment is here, now. It always will be and it’s never going away. Infinite presence, peace, and fulfillment is available at every moment and yet it can be entirely elusive.
Life is a paradox. Often it’s better to admit that you don’t know the answer and let it be. Be present with not knowing, and then the universe will do the rest.
Bring awareness to the present moment. That’s all that is required from you.