How to Practice Presence {when life is full of distractions}

I take a moment to watch and listen to the birds outside my window. It’s almost springtime and the temperature is a bit warmer today. I listen to their joyful song. How happy they will be to dig for worms and enjoy the berries that will be growing on the bush soon. I just notice and appreciate the beauty of life in this moment right now. I feel a peace inside of me as I recognize my connection to all of life and to the Universe itself.

 

The phrase, “stop and smell the roses” is a bit of a cliché and you’ve probably heard it a million times. But, how often are you present enough to actually do this? Stopping and smelling flowers and appreciating their beauty is a wonderful thing. But, the phrase pertains to more than just flowers. It means to take time out of your busy schedule to enjoy or appreciate all the beauty that life has to offer.

 

Life can get so busy that our days become filled with one mindless act after another. Meaning, that we race from one task to another; or meeting, or appointment, or phone call, or email, or whatever it may be, without ever being fully present for any of them.

 

Most of us tend to spend most of our time dwelling on past events, memories, or experiences or are worried about future ones.

 

Mikao Usui, the founder of Usui Reiki,  emphasized the importance of living for this moment, for this day. The past and the future do not actually exist (only in our minds), only the present exists. This day is merely a collection of moments. This moment right here, right now,  is all there is and it will impact your future.

 

Why is it so important to focus on the present? I thought it was important to set goals for the future and work toward accomplishing them?

 

 Focusing on the future reduces your current happiness.

 

When you're focused on future events, things you want to achieve, do, or have, you're essentially saying, "I'm not good enough yet... but I will be when I achieve this or that."

 

This way of thinking is training your mind to always put off happiness until the next milestone is achieved. "Once I get that house, I'll be happy. Once I get that job, I'll be successful. Once I make this amount of money, I’ll be content."

 

But, we do this to ourselves all the time. We put unnecessary stress on ourselves to lose weight or to make more money or to find the perfect partner. Instead, you could keep things simple and reduce stress by focusing on your daily plan and commitment to today's tasks instead of stressing about tomorrow or next week.

 

Focus on the present. Commit to a process, not a future goal. I am not suggesting that you don't plan for the future or visualize the life you'd like to create. However, you can only achieve future goals by being fully present for today's tasks.

 

Focusing on the future puts a huge burden on your shoulders. That’s why I love that Usui emphasized the importance of saying, “Just for today…” before reciting the Reiki principles. It’s much easier, and less overwhelming, to focus on integrating these habits into your life one day at a time, one moment at a time.

 

Usui said, “This is the secret method for inviting happiness”. Instead of looking toward future events or accomplishments to make you happy, you can increase your happiness one moment at a time.

 

By exercising the power of presence and training your brain to stay present from moment to moment, you will discover that each day you begin to wake-up feeling more and more joyful and you will re-connect to the peace within you. You will have more control over your thoughts, emotions, and actions and with your life in general.

 

When you focus on what you can accomplish today instead of worrying about the future, you can enjoy the present moment and improve your health, increase your happiness, and find inner peace at the same time.

 

I think many people today are plagued with the “busy-ness” disease.  When you are always busy and consumed with work and other daily tasks you are not at ease; so essentially it’s a dis-ease. This is destructive your health and wellbeing. It prevents you from being fully present with family, friends and loved ones.

 

You become so accustomed to being busy that you miss out on meaningful experiences and opportunities for living a truly fulfilling life.

 

So, how can you practice presence?

By being the watcher of your thoughts throughout the day. We are human. We will encounter many experiences in our day-to-day life that may cause us to feel angry, or to worry, etc. So to say that you will never again get angry or worry, etc. is a bit of a stretch.

 

Set an intention to be present, just for today.  It makes it much more manageable and more likely that you will be able to be present for at least one day. Then, that day turns into a week, and the week turns into a year and before you know it this becomes your normal way of being and living: fully present. 

 

Throughout the day, make a point to check in with your thoughts. At the top of each hour, make it a habit to monitor your thoughts. Ask yourself:

  • Am I fully focused on the task at hand?
  • Is my mind wandering about other things I have to accomplish?
  • Am I still stewing about something someone said or did hours, days (or even years) ago?
  • Am I worrying about the possible outcome of a situation? 

Being mindful and checking-in with your thoughts regularly will help you begin to change the neural pathways in your brain and you will begin to gain control over your thoughts and practice presence regularly and habitually. This is where you will find peace. This is where your power is. You are not a victim. You are a powerful creator! 

 

Remember to take it.....

One day at a time. One. Day. At. A. Time. And beyond this, one thought, one moment, one breath.

If you'd like a daily reminder to integrate these daily habits into your life, you can download this free poster! 

What strategies do you use to help you stay present?  Please leave a comment below! I love to learn strategies :)