This past month I have been pondering often about what it means to be present. You hear a lot about this elusive ability to be present in the moment, to live in the “now.” I’ve been paying attention to my usual way of viewing life, and noticing where I tend to hang out in the continuum of time. It seems that many of my thoughts, if left on their own, turn toward the future. This is with a blend of curiosity, anticipation, and purposefulness, with a dash of anxiety thrown in. If my thoughts do wander back down the path my life has taken, they tend to dwell on the happy times. I try to bring only lessons from the past, leaving any anger or hurt behind.
My challenge is to see how I can stay more in the present, and embrace just what is right now. Things that make this difficult run the gamut from frightening world events to the quotidian demands of running a business. There are the things I cannot control, and those that I can control. I realize it is easier to focus just on the latter, as those things are far fewer in number and actually mostly come back to being aware of and managing my own thoughts and actions. So, being present involves first letting go of those things I cannot change. Then I just focus on what is going on inside me, from my breathing to my heartbeat. Next, I open up my eyes to really see what is around me. Whether I am focused on a flower, a client, or a yoga position, I hold my attention on that. I notice sounds, colors, smells, thoughts, feelings and intuitive hits. Everything seems to slow down at this point. Paradoxically, as I narrow my focus and concentrate on the present, many things open up to me. I can hold a problem loosely and await an answer. Worries slip away as I realize I am fine in this moment. Joy bubbles up, as does gratitude for this particular moment in life that I will never get another chance to experience.
It feels like I am just in the first baby steps of this journey to now. Each day is a new opportunity to learn what being awake to this moment means. But even as a neophyte, I see the benefits and rewards of being present. Life is brighter, clearer, and so much more cherished. Work is more real to me. Clients are more nuanced. I feel much lighter. If you are on the same journey to the present, it would be a privilege to walk alongside you for a while. And, I am always eager to hear any insights you have gleaned from your own experience of being in the moment.
Sharon Keys Seal