“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”
– Eckhart Tolle –
As most of you will know I am currently reading Eckhart Tolle’s ‘A New Earth – Create a Better Life’ right now. And the thing that I am most interested in, is trying to remain as present as I possibly can, in every moment.
It is something that is very important to me, because, it is only in the present that we can we find our true selves, along with peace, love and joy. If we are living in the past or the future (that are just illusions and don’t really exist) we are only setting ourselves up for pain and suffering. True freedom from both of those things can only be found in the now.
The only reason we suffer guilt, anger or sorrow is because we are living in the past or stuck going over a past event that we no longer have any influence over. The only thing we can do is choose to accept what has happened, understand that it is what it is, forgive and forget and choose to live in the present moment.
And the only reason we have nervousness, anxiety, worry or fear, is because we are living in the future. And once again, the only thing we can do is understand that the only way that we can influence the future, is in the present moment, focussing on the now. And that we will never actually reach the future, because the future and the past is happening right now.
So taking all of that into account, you ask, how can I live in the present then?
And there are some very simple steps to follow to achieve this.
4 steps to being present
1. Breathe – this is a very simple one, normally overlooked by most, but it is the single most effective way of becoming present in any moment. If life is getting carried away, your thoughts are clouding everything, the voice in your head is driving you a little crazy. Stop what you are doing and take 3 deep breaths. This is all that is needed to bring you right into the present moment as quickly as possible. Then start to focus very specifically on your breathing and notice that everything else starts to fade away and disappear.
2. Become aware of your body – this is also very easy. Once again, if you find yourself stuck in thoughts or feelings about the past or future. Or if you find yourself struggling to shrug off an emotion that you don’t want to feel, start to become aware of your body. Feel the space inside your body. Become aware of your hands, your feet, your lips, the blinking of your eyes. Become aware of the energy that resides inside of your body and you will start to enjoy the present moment.
3. Pay attention to the small things – it can be as simple as looking up at the clouds in the sky, enjoying looking at a beautiful flower, the soft fur of a passing dog, the feeling of the sea or sand on your bare feet, watching the sun rise or set. Finding joy in the simple and small things in life is another way of becoming present.
4. Focus on the sounds around you – this is super easy no matter where you are. You can choose to focus on the sound of a bird chirping in the trees, a car engine, children laughing, a gate shutting. It doesn’t matter what sounds you focus on, but by deciding to do this, will bring you immediately into the now and take you away from your thoughts, feelings, emotions or ego, which of course, are just illusory and not really you.
And it is when you are in the present moment, enjoying the now, that you are able to then come from a much more peaceful, loving and joyful state. And you are able to connect with your true self, your intuition and be able to make decisions and take action from a calm and neutral place.
I hope this post has been helpful to you.
Sending you lots of love, hugs and light,
Kat x x x
Inspiration for this post
Eckhart Tolle’s – A New Earth: Create a Better Life
I am also a Tolle fan. I have been wondering about how he would respond to a person in severe chronic pain. When he talks about becoming present, he uses the physical body as an access point into the present moment. I understand this and have found it effective at times. But what about when your physical body causes you pain? I personally am suffering with an illness and I find that there is space in the present moment where I can find peace, most of the time. But sometimes becoming aware of my body means becoming aware of throbbing, consistent, unending pain, that does not help me silence my mind. And for many people, our physical bodies are access points into discomfort and pain (and the subsequent thoughts that follow this pain).
Is Tolle only speaking to people whose bodies are reasonably healthy? I find his philosophy to have a limited audience, but perhaps I just haven’t read enough of his work. Does he address physical ailments and illness and how they relate to becoming present?