There exists a power within you, so powerful that it can literally solve all your problems and allow you to achieve even the most unimaginable of your dreams.
It has no price for it cannot be bought, however, it can be claimed, for it is already within every single person in this world. This power is your ability to stay present.
This power will turn even the most negative of minds into positive ones, it will allow you to move on from even the darkest of memories. When you claim your power to be in the moment, inner peace and deep confidence will radiate endlessly from your being.
It is no substance, no drug but something that is always within you that no one and nothing can ever take away from you.
This is the power of your inborn ability to be fully conscious, the ability to be fully present. And it can only be found in one place and one place alone, the present moment.
What happens when you are present
When you are able to be completely present in the moment, all forms of mental suffering and delusions are greatly lessened. The pain brought about from past experiences and the anxiety caused by thoughts of the future will cease to afflict you.
The inner genius that has long been locked inside of you will emerge and you will finally be able to unleash the full capacity of your mind. You will be able to experience laser-like focus and boundless creativity.
You will be able to make full use of the thing that all of life is made out of, the present moment.
Consider this for a second, it is always now, not a second goes by where it isn’t ‘now’.
The past and future are but abstract conceptions created by the mind and although they have their own importance, it is only through dealing with the present moment that we can obtain a better future and a greater understanding of the past.
Time and time again, I’m left in awe of just how much inner power I’m able to gain simply by staying present. It is one of the main factors of leading an extraordinary life of mastery.
It is the one practice that has always helped me tremendously in every situation, helping me get through the most uncertain times and toughest of times.
How to be present?
Although an innate ability inherent within every person, due to ignorance of its power, many people never make an effort to stay in the present.
Fortunately, with the release of books such as Eckhart Tolle’s ‘The Power of Now’ and the concept of ‘mindfulness‘ in modern psychology, people today are more aware of this practice.
However, successfully doing it can be harder than you think. You probably tried to stay mindful yourself without much success.
Here are some knowledge and techniques that I personally use to help myself stay in the present moment and increase my general awareness in life.
1) Awareness: The ultimate technique
The first step to becoming present is to understand the mental state your mind shifts into when you’re fully immersed in the present moment.
When you’re completely present in the moment, you are aware of everything that’s happening around you. You will be aware of everything that you touch, see, and hear. This state of mind is known as awareness or to some as mindfulness.
Besides what you feel with your senses, try your best to be aware of everything that goes on inside your mind as well. Be aware of your thoughts, the emotions that you feel, the feelings that you feel in your body. Pay attention to the way you react to the situation, pay attention to the voice in your head.
Your awareness will naturally stop the flow of thought and anchor you to the present moment and is the basis behind the idea of staying present in the first place.
If this sounds tiring to do, start small. For example, you can start first with the goal of going through your whole day being extra aware of the things that you see. Over time your capacity for awareness will increase and naturally you will start being present much more often.
There’s no need to change anything that you observe
When we’re present, the true nature of many things becomes apparent to us. For example, you will start to clearly see the destructive effects of certain emotions, thoughts, and habits.
You will also start to see through the actions of the people around you revealing their underlying motivations.
As a result, you may start wanting to change what you observed. Although tempting, release the need to try to resist or change anything. You can do so later but for now, just focus on being aware of what you observe.
Certain things can’t be changed by force, if you struggle with anxiety for example, you’ll know that you can’t just turn it off through will alone.
Instead, observe the situation and whatever thoughts and emotions that arise and let them go.
When you do this, something magical takes place. You’ll find that as you observe and become more acutely aware of them, these emotions will dissipate on their own and start to lose any grip they have over you. This is the power of awareness on the mind.
Once you’re keenly aware of all that’s going on around you, you will be securely grounded to the present moment, you will be able to see with absolute clarity. This is when it’s best to act to bring about the changes you want.
Develop your awareness gradually
In the spirit of over-eagerness, some people try to force themselves to be completely mindful of the present moment through every moment of their waking life.
While their effort is commendable, cultivating awareness takes practice and cannot be accomplished by force. It is best done gradually otherwise you will end up burning yourself out.
When it comes to developing presence, all you need to do is to give it your best. As long as you do that, you will improve and eventually develop a permanently high level of awareness.
In the little things is where you can practice awareness.
You’ll find that the most trivial and boring of daily errands to be the best opportunities to practice awareness.
Even when you’re doing something as mundane as washing the dishes, give it every bit of your attention.
Feel the warmth/cold as the water touches your hands, feel the smooth texture of the plates as you scrub them. When you start having thoughts about how boring washing dishes is, step out of your mind and observe those thoughts.
In time this will develop into a habit, you’ll start to be aware and fully present when you’re going through life’s many tedious tasks. Over time even the banalest of errands start to become enjoyable.
This awareness and presence will seep into other areas of your life and benefit them tremendously.
2) Work in a state a complete presence: the source of excellency
Due to the high levels in which it engages the mind and senses, work brings us a terrific opportunity to focus on the present moment. After all, mindfulness and focus are a prerequisite of excellency in any pursuit.
By being present, you will allow yourself to experience the highest level of focus and creativity possible.
Whatever you’re doing, if you do it with presence, you will be able to access the pure uninhibited creativity and genius of your subconscious mind.
Work that is completed in complete mindfulness has a magnificent almost sublime quality to it bordering on perfection.
The Japanese call this state, “no-mind”. In more conventional terms it is known as ‘the state of flow’. By its very nature achieving this state will shatter any mental links to the past and future and anchor you to whatever it is you’re doing in the present.
You can apply this to any type of work. It doesn’t matter whether you’re chopping lumber, filing reports, doing an academic paper, or composing a piece of music.
The steps to becoming truly present in your work
Naturally at some point during work, you will experience some distractions, whether they be from your inner thoughts or from some external circumstance.
When you find yourself getting distracted, the first step you have to take is to become aware that you’re being distracted and slipping out of the present moment.
Try your best to put aside whatever time constraints that you may have, such as deadlines or time limits. Avoid perceiving the present from the lenses of the past as well, acknowledge but put aside any thoughts of related past failures or success.
Pay attention to all that you feel at the moment with your senses, try to feel each and every key as you type, the beauty of every music note you play, the weight of every brick that you lay.
Doubt, anxiety, stress, and the feeling of being overwhelmed all stem from mentally dwelling on the past and future.
Observe any emotion that arises, whether good or bad it does not matter, simply choose to observe them.
The anxiety you feel when building a business, just observe it. The scorching pain, that temptation to give up when you’re lifting that final rep, just watch and observe. Take a step out of your mind and become the watcher.
Now do the work. When faced with a problem that you’re unable to find a solution for, go back to the state of being fully aware of your thoughts. In this state of intense inner quiescence, your creativity will start to work on its own to find you the best solutions.
3) Your fears can be a gateway to the present moment.
Like all states born from preoccupation with the past and future, fear will dissolve by itself when you are completely present. Fear in particular is born from the habit of projecting into the future. We imagine the worst things happening to us which gives rise to intense anxiety and restlessness.
The more you fear, the more fearful you become. As fear is left unresolved, it will eventually develop to phobias and obsessions, deep-seated fears that become part of your self-image. If fear is something that you struggle with a lot with it can be hard to progress in life.
There is a silver lining however, for, like all forms of sufferings, fear brings with it the opportunity to practice mindfulness and enter into the stillness of ‘the now’.
Get out of your comfort zone
Some fears are valid, like the fear you feel when you’re threatened by a criminal, that is an instinctual fear and is completely natural.
On the other hand, the majority of fears are illusory with no real threat behind them, some examples include stage fright, fear of commitment, and shyness. Their roots lie in bad past experiences and projections of the future.
Make an effort to push yourself out of your comfort zone by putting yourself in situations where you can face these fears. If this is too much for you, putting yourself in the proximity of what you fear is enough. For example, if you’re afraid of public speaking, try to go to an empty stage where you can imagine yourself on speaking.
As you put yourself in these situations where you experience this form of fear, observe your mental patterns intently. Pay attention in particular to your physiological reactions. Perhaps your heart starts beating faster or your hands start getting sweatier.
That is actually a good sign, as you pay closer to attention to them you will notice that they will start to relent. Now this does not mean, that you will instantly be able to overcome your fears but they will
Scary situations and fear are inevitable in life, sooner or later you’re bound to face them. The common way to react is to either run from them or to just face them, often with great struggle.
As you learn to be more present by pushing your comfort zone, you open up a 3rd option. Not only will situations that once frighten you will become a gateway to the present moment, but you will also be able to transcend your fears through awareness of them
4) Be present in your relationships
Relationships and I don’t mean just romantic relationships, but all forms of relationships including those that you share with your friends, family, and colleagues, are an important and unavoidable part of our lives. It is one of the major factors in giving life its sense of meaning.
While the relationships we have with others can be a source of great friendship, joy, and love, due to the lack of presence, they can also at times become a breeding ground for unhappiness, conflict, and tension.
The great thing is that relationships open up a great opportunity to not only practice living in the present moment but also to bring the person whom you share a relationship with to the present moment.
How to be present in your relationships
The first step to staying present in your relationships is to be aware of what’s going on in your mind when interacting with other people or even when you’re just thinking about them.
When interacting with another person, be keenly aware of your own thoughts and reactions. Once you’ve reached a decent level of self-awareness, start consciously bringing your awareness to the other person, be aware of their actions and words. When they’re talking, truly listen instead of rushing to your turn to speak.
When you do this, you will start to experience a level of clarity that you’ve never experienced before, you will be able to grasp the true meaning and beauty behind every interaction.
Presence by its very nature is pervasive, it has the power to engulf those within proximity of it. This is the reason, many people feel a sense of calm and peace when in the presence of highly spiritually developed people. By being present in your interactions, you can raise the consciousness level of the other person and circumvent much unnecessary conflict.
5) Make the means the end
Many of us put ourselves through certain activities that we dislike doing in hopes of achieving a certain end. Not only does this make time seem longer, it actually makes whatever you’re trying to do even more challenging.
There’s a better way to go about life’s many challenges, by accepting them wholeheartedly and actually enjoying them through the act of being present.
The first step to step to doing this is to accept the circumstance that you currently find yourself in. Maybe you’re stuck in traffic or just trying to past the hours at work as quickly as possible.
Take a moment to accept that for the time being, you have to be where you are. When you give up resisting and allow whatever situation you’re in to just be, you’ll find much greater ease in getting through them.
Your mind may start to judge and label the situation, saying how boring what you’re doing is and how you wish you could be somewhere else. Observe these thoughts, acknowledge them, and finally let them go.
When you start to habitually ‘make the means the end’, you’ll naturally be in the present moment far more often, you will start to truly enjoy the journey of life. Even going after the biggest of goals will seem far less daunting. The benefits are numerous, solutions will appear more clearly, negative emotions will arise less often. You’ll be able to confidently tackle the various challenges of life and perhaps even start enjoying them.
6) Spend time in nature
Great sites of nature have a certain ethereal quality to them. Somehow simply being in the presence of nature has the ability to teleport us to the present moment.
Nature itself has no conception of time and yet is somehow able to accomplish everything it needs effortlessly. The trees grow according to the seasons and the animals instinctively know when to hibernate or migrate despite not having any conception of time.
This deep intuition of the present moment possessed by nature has the ability to permeate the consciousness of all who are in proximity to it.
Partake in activities such as hiking, spend time seeing the great sites of nature in your country, or if not feasible, simply spend time in the park. You’ll find that by being in places of nature, you’ll be able to apply the techniques of staying present that I previously covered much more easily.
7) Pay attention to your body
The physiological feelings that can be felt in the body are great indicators of the many emotions a person can feel. For example, anxiety is often described as a tight feeling around the chest.
Emotions are the gateway to the true feelings felt within the deepest depths of your being. They are often manifested as various physiological feelings, especially so when a person represses their emotions.
Being aware of the various feelings in your body works sort of like a shortcut for bringing your emotions into awareness.
As you start becoming aware of the various physiological reactions that accompany your emotional states, your emotions will start to subside on their own which will lead you to the present moment.
8) Listen to music
Any type of music is fine, even if it’s something like heavy metal, what matters most is that its music you enjoy listening to.
Now the most important thing is to pay absolute attention to all that you’re listening to in the moment. Notice every note, every timbre in the singer’s voice, every drum beat.
When you do this, music can become a very strong pull to the present moment. Listening to music will become a very pleasurable almost meditative experience.
Even if it’s a song that you’ve listened to countless times before, with complete presence you will notice a new depth to it.
In my opinion, this is one of the best and easiest ways of being in the present moment and is perfect for those who have more ‘noisy’ minds.
9) Do not judge
When you judge something or someone, you are immediately taken out of the present moment, out of awareness and into identification with your thoughts. Because of this try to let go of the need to pass judgment on anything.
I’m not merely talking about people but circumstances and situations as well. It is the mind’s nature to want to label the random events of our lives, its very nature is to take the natural occurrences of life personally.
Letting go of the need to judge and label will open up the possibility of acceptance and it is only by accepting our present circumstances that we can even start to accept the present.
10) Self Awareness (It is not self consciousness)
One common mistake is confusing self-awareness with self-consciousness. Self-consciousness is an obsessive preoccupation with yourself that feels like you’re constantly being watched.
The difference between the two is that self-consciousness is caused by identifying with the various thoughts in your mind while self-awareness comes from consciously observing them.
Try to be aware of yourself at every moment in time. Be fully aware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions, watch them but do not identify with them.
When you’re able to become the watcher of your thoughts without identifying with them, you will be able to surpass all the limits imposed upon you by these thoughts. Doubt, fear, lack of confidence will all but disappear and you will get a taste of what real inner peace feels like.
Start being present right now and make it a habit in your life.
Being present is the first step towards real progress and profound positive changes in every single area of your life.
As you stay present more often, you will come to understand that the means is the end, that true fulfillment in life lies in this very moment. Through practice and habit, it will become second nature, ascending the level of your awareness and consciousness forever.