Becoming Present

Anything worth doing, is worth doing while aware. In other words, whatever you’re doing in the moment while fully present is STILL better than getting lost in thought and subject to the whims of the wandering mind. Whether it’s showering, or tidying up, or walking up stairs, or just sitting around — even a seemingly mundane activity beats stress-inducing thought.

Or so I’ve heard. I’ll be experimenting with staying in the now for now, and see how it goes. I don’t think staying in the now is totally obvious though. For example, imagine you’re running and you’re trying to remain present — so you focus on the pounding of your feet, the shortness of your breath, the twinge of pain in your left knee — that can’t be right.

So instead of all that, you’d probably want to experience the movement and the rushing air, perhaps the beauty in the surrounding scenery. I think the goal is: NOT to get lost in thought — THEN let the circumstance happen however it will. You’re not trying to specifically focus on anything — or direct a particular outcome — you’re just letting the scene unfold, unhindered by thought.

Additionally, throughout the day I keep asking myself “How are you?”. Whenever I do this, I notice that there’s a bit of tension in my body, usually in my chest area, so I relax and stop thinking about whatever I was thinking about. I come back to now and reset my tension to zero. I’m then aware of the activity I’m currently involved in, experiencing it from a first-hand perspective.

Consider it this way: say your friend made an animated-short-film and wanted you to see it. You sit down to watch. The film starts playing and you’re already lost in thought. “Hm, I wonder what I’ll have for lunch today. Maybe some tacos! Yeah! Oh, I just remembered it’s laundry day, gotta get that done later.” The film ends and your friend asks you if you liked it.

But of course you were too busy being lost-in-thought to experience the short-film that your friend made. She’s actually upset now, because it turned out that she made the film as a celebration of your friendship — it was a gift to you. You apologize and ask if you can watch it again, but this time while fully present, with your attention ready to receive whatever’s happening right in front of you.

Now apply that to life. Say there’s this awesome extravaganza called life going on all around you. There’s sights, sounds — sensations of all sorts — a buffet of experiences — all ready for the experiencing. Are you present, engaging with the world before you? Or are you lost-in-thought? Not actually participating? When it’s over, what are you gonna say? Oops my bad, can I see that again?