3 Best Ways to Stay Present: Mindfulness Tips for Everyone
It's so hard to stay present. And when I think about all the moments that have passed me by without my gratitude and awareness, I could get depressed and bite my nails. But I gave up biting my nails when I was eight, and also that would be a huge waste of another beautiful moment of this life. Then I'd have to beat myself up about missing that moment by being depressed about the other moments and so on until my whole life is full of regret and sadness.
Sounds no good. So let's move on. We know we need to be present, but the problem is remembering. You must insert awareness reminders into your daily life.
One of the best ways to practice being present in your life and truly living in the moment is to feel your inner being. Your inner being is your portal to God. It is the aliveness that you feel after a great yoga class, a fantastic run, exciting moments, sex and more.
Although this portal is open to you at any time, most people feel it during the above and other circumstances. We are all just trying to feel alive. We are all pieces of consciousness longing to experience ourselves. Those alive moments are the ones you cherish. But what if you cherished more moments, the regular moments that make up your daily life?
What if you cherished all your moments? What would it look like to love, experience and feel your life from one moment to the next? It's a good goal.
1. Where do you walk? I love the idea of a walking meditation. I love what Thich Nhat Hanh says about it: "We can train ourselves to walk with reverence. Wherever we walk, whether it’s the railway station or the supermarket, we are walking on the earth and so we are in a holy sanctuary. If we remember to walk like that, we can be nourished and find solidity with each step."
If you're up in your head like I am, it probably never occurs to you to let your feet connect with the ground, to use the floor or ground as a way to get grounded instead of a way to get from one place to the other. Seems simple and obvious, but it's easy to forget.
So think about your house or apartment, think about where you walk your dog, stroll your child, and think about your office or place of work, even parking lots you walk across a lot. Imagine yourself taking each step purposefully, feeling the bones of your feet as they make impact. Imagine yourself walking in grounded consciousness throughout your day.
When you actually do walk these grounds, act as if you could slow down time when you walk, like slow motion. Notice everything. When I do this, I actually don't lose any time. In fact, I seem to gain time and enjoyment in moving from one spot to the next.
Feel the energy in your legs as they contract when you walk, all the muscles working to make that step happen. Feel the energy shoot back up through your leg when you bend your knee and take your foot off the ground as the other one makes its landing. Pay attention with an aspect of respect as if you were walking on holy ground. Because what if you are?
Plan to walk this way everywhere you go. Imagine it first. Make the intention. And then remember to do it. Make it a habit.
Maybe being present while walking will get us walking more. Which is good for the physical body as well as the inner being.
2. How do you eat? Oh man. I need to take my own advice here. Sometimes I get into a trance and wake up to say: "Where the hell did that delicious meal go? It's only been 3 minutes! I couldn't have eaten it that fast!" And then I accuse my husband of eating my food. And then more unconsciousness. This happens way more than I would be proud to admit!
Don't get me started on what not chewing your food completely does to your digestion! Leaky Gut Syndrome anyone? Digestion issues are too rampant. We must start the whole thing off right when the food hits the mouth.
How are we going to remember? Maybe we should bring back prayers before each and every meal. Yes. You've heard it before, probably from Michael Pollan, but sit down and look at the food. Get into a reverent space and say thank you for what you are eating. Think about the processes and people needed to bring this food to your plate and give thanks. Bless all lives involved. Imagine the plant growing, the animal growing and feel gratitude for the life forms (yes, life) dead on your plan to give you nutrients.
Talk about respect for the dead. But this is the circle of life.
I say even do it when you are eating a snack. Take your first bite. Chew slowly. Count each chew. Feel it slosh around and move in the mouth. Even if it's a chip.
Feel the food move down the esophagus, into the belly. Be so sensitive to what happens in there, even as you are chewing your next bite reverently and consciously.
Go even further. When you drink water, drink slowly and intentionally. Feel the water in the mouth. Feel it run down the esophagus and fill up the belly. Feel the energy change in the body after you drink something.
Notice the inner body moments after ingesting anything. Feel the energy shift. The blood sugar rises, the breathing slows. Feel the fullness. Make it a habit. Intend to be conscious any time you put something in your mouth.
3. Who do you serve? See the faces of your loved ones. The ones you see every day or even the ones you talk to every day on the phone without seeing. Then see the people that you serve every day when you work, which might be the same ones you saw a second ago. See those people and recognize the moments of the day you are usually with them.
Now see the faces you usually see every day--the ones you don't necessarily love. And ask yourself a hard question, "How can I lift them up?" Get very quiet, silent in your body and ask the question for everyone in your day-to-day, including the ones you love now, "How can I lift them up?"
Imagine yourself slowing down in their company. Imagine that you stop thinking when you are with them. Imagine listening and feeling with your heart, when they have something to say and when they don't. Imagine feeling the compassion for the ones you don't absolutely adore. Imagine feeling the fluttering and gratitude in your heart when you are with the ones you do love. Imagine sitting at the desk, at the breakfast table, in front of the TV, lying in bed, reading stories...whatever it is you do with the people that make up your life.
Feel within your heart when you are with them. When you touch them, feel your own aliveness and how it connects with theirs. Every hug and word an intentional act that begins deep within the heart. When you are with them, imagine a line of energy from your heart to theirs. Then try to feel what they feel, to step into their shoes while staying in your own body.
Look into their eyes and again, pay close attention to your heart. Listen as much as possible. Be quiet and calm and alive when you are with the people who make up the day-to-day of your life. This is also good if you're a person who gets swept up in other people's energies really easily. Be inside your skin while listening closely and staying completely aware right down to the bone. Be inside your body while connecting to theirs.
There are many more ways to get to the inner being every day. To practice presence in the normal routine and not just when you're hiking or traveling or whatever.
What ways do you use?