We have commenced our daily habit-building Live Online Meditation program. This is a wonderful opportunity to cultivate 15-45 minutes of meditation practice in our everyday life! To read more about this unique offering and to enrol click here. Our meditation program brings up so many questions for everyone! Our favourite question has been how do I stay present? Read our Expert and Chief Mentor Selvan’s article explaining the same
What does it mean to be present? We have terms like presence of mind and we say that the situation was saved or something bad was averted due to somebody’s presence of mind. On the other hand we also have terms like “I am lost”, or “Where are you”, or “Your mind is not here in the class”. These things imply that it is possible for us to be either present or absent.
The question arises, who is present or absent and from where and when?
I want to answer the second question first. The answer is “In the Here and Now”. The here being defined by the location of our physical body and all the space around the body where the senses of eyesight, hearing and smelling can reach. This whole space is called the here. The now is the present moment in time. The moment you start describing or even thinking about what is happening in the present moment, it has already become a past event. So the now is a continuously evolving occurrence that can only be experienced. Life happens only in the “Now” moment and we can live our life or experience our life only in the present moment. Instead of living and experiencing the now moment, we can also get lost in the past lived moments or get carried away by the future yet to be lived moments. That is when we are said to be absent from the here and now.
Coming to the first question, who is present or absent, it cannot refer to our physical body because the physical body is always present in the here and now. Our brain is a part of the body so the brain is also present in the here and now. The answer to this question is “our Awareness”. We are either present or absent from our body with our Awareness. This Awareness is different from our mind or emotion or intuition in a subtle way although it encompasses all of these. You will be able to experience and know the subtle difference when you enroll and participate in my daily online meditation program
Ability to differentiate these things are not necessary to learn to be present in the here and now. We can use some tools to learn to be present and practice this learning frequently and regularly to make it into a habit.
One simple and effective way is to select a point across the room or space in front of you and focus your attention on that point. Keep looking at that point for a few seconds while you tell yourself to bring back all your awareness from all other times and places and events and people to exclusively focus just on that point in front of you. Remember to relax and smile and then notice your breathing. Do not change the pace or depth of the breath, just notice if for a few breathing cycles while remaining focused on that point in front.
This entire exercise may take less than one minute and you would have significantly improved your presence in the process. You can repeat this exercise several times during the day. When you do this repeatedly, you will start noticing how life changes to the better usually with increased presence. You will learn many more effective and powerful ways to come back and be present in your life during our everyday guided meditation sessions.