In Bali, riding freely on the back of a scooter, wind in my hair, breeze on my face and the beauty of the open road, I found myself present, connected, and one within me and everything around me. No thoughts, nothing; emptiness, or complete fullness if you will. That is until, I remembered I was supposed to be the one directing the driver, staying alert and letting him know when to turn right. So, we missed the turn. I looked down at my phone and it took me out of this precious present moment.
I call this practically present.
We are present, until we are not. Why is it so easy to come out of the state of presence and extremely difficult to find it, let alone stay there? Our spirits natural state is in the essence of NOW and we are here to remember. Who wouldn’t want to bask in the glory of THIS moment. Do you know this state?
If not, here are 5 practical ways to stay present:
2. Bell of Mindfulness - This is a reminder that comes out of nowhere every so often to check to see how present you are staying throughout the day. In a practical way, maybe you can set a recurring alarm on your phone every 25 minutes to go off when you want to practice presence. Build your capacity to stay in the NOW. Retraining the brain in this way will start to shift your awareness helping you to access this state more often.
3. Deep Listening - When you are in conversations with your family, partner, co workers, colleagues and friends I encourage you to listen, and I mean turn on your deep listening skills. Often times we are not truly listening to one another because our mind is too loud. The mind tries to distract the heart by thinking about what it is going to say next, how it is going to add to the conversation, or how it wants to compete in some way to “one up” the story being told. When we truly listen to one another, we find pure presence in the moment and in doing that we develop the skills to listen to our own hearts and live from this space.
5. Practice - The very best you can do is try. Have the discipline and intention to practice coming back to your natural state. A consistent and continuous practice will start creating new habits and help to retrain your brain and ultimately develop a new way of being. How can you accomplish anything if you don’t have a practice?
Start to notice the thoughts you are having. Typically the mind likes to go directly to past experiences or creates anxiety over future endeavors. When this happens, being practically present isn’t enough. It is a different feeling to fully be here NOW, you will see. To be present is to be in your heart and not your head. Let us do that more often.
Sure being present in Yoga Teacher Trainings and Transformational Retreats can be easier than when we are at home. Typically, we think we have to leave our daily routine and escape so that we can create space to just be here NOW. Intentional vacation or time away from the norm is what we think we need because how can we possibly find presence amidst all the chaos that is life? Hopefully these tools will help you to create more presence in your life and in turn will help to find more connection to your heart and the hearts of others.