How to be present

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“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

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Image found at http://www.quotearts.com/d69.html

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Be the Silent Observer

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“Nonresistance, nonjudgement, and nonattachment are the three aspects of true freedom and enlightened living.” 

Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

Darren and I went to see The Great Gatsby on Monday night, and apart from it being a truly beautiful and very wonderful film with an awesome soundtrack, the story also delivers a very spiritual and metaphysical message.

It has taken a couple of days for the penny to drop and for me to process the true meaning of the story, but I joined all of the dots up today and wanted to share my learning’s with you.

At first, when I was watching it, I thought that it was a story about the power of manifesting. That Jay Gatsby had decided to take himself from a life of little and manifest money, property, friends, success and much more, just from deciding that he wanted a better life for himself. And, not knowing the story, I was convinced that it would have a happy ending with him achieving the cherry on the top by winning back the heart of his one true love, Daisy. Alas, that was not meant to be.

What I now know and understand is that Gatsby’s character, as with everyone else in the story, except for that of the narrator, Nick Carraway, is a representation of the ego. And that Carraway’s character is that of the silent observer, or indeed, consciousness.

In Eckhart Tolle’s book ‘A New Earth’ he talks about how there are three aspects of true freedom and enlightened living, and they are nonresistence, nonjudgement and nonattachment. And this is exactly what Carraway’s character represents in The Great Gatsby. When asked by Gatsby if he can invite his cousin Daisy over for tea, he kindly obliges. When invited over to Gatsby’s house for a party, he goes along. When invited over to dinner at Daisy and Tom’s house, he attends. Throughout the story, at no point does the character ever resist what is, nor does he judge the behaviour of others, neither is he ever attached to anything or anyone. All he does is constantly and silently observe. He is always there, aware of what is happening, but in the background, watching.

In F.Scott Fitzgerald’s book Nick notes,’ I’m inclined to reserve all judgements, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me…. [although] the intimate revelations of…men or at least the terms in which they express them are usually plagiaristic and marred by obvious suppressions. Reserving judgements is a matter of infinite hope.’

In ‘A New Earth’ Tolle also talks about awareness and that it ‘implies that you are not only conscious of things (objects), but you are also conscious of being conscious. If you can sense an alert inner stillness in the background while things happen in the foreground – that’s it!’

He also talks about the conscious choice that we have in awakening. And that when we realise that we may at times, slip back into a dysfunctional state (for example caught up in our emotions, the past or the future, or indeed our ego, all of which get in the way of our true selves shining through) we are able to choose to step out of identification with thinking and emotion and enter the state of Presence. He says that in that moment you can ‘relinquish resistance, become still and alert, one with what is, within and without.’

And there is a quote in the Great Gatsby that mirrors this perfectly when Nick Carraway is at a party surrounded by people drinking and behaving carelessly (once again a representation of the collective ego), ‘I wanted to get out and walk eastward toward the park through the soft twilight, but each time I tried to go I became entangled in some wild, strident argument which pulled me back, as if with ropes, into my chair. Yet high over the city our line of yellow windows must have contributed their share of human secrecy to the casual watcher in the darkening streets, and I was him too, looking up and wondering. I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.’

Furthermore, Gatsby is fixated and obsessed with the past. He is convinced that by recreating the past, he can win back the love and heart of Daisy and they can be together, just as they planned before he went away to war.

Unfortunately, his character doesn’t understand that you cannot repeat the past, because the past does not exist, as all we have is the present. And his crazed obsession with the past and creating a life of wealth to attract Daisy, is actually the thing that repels her from him in the end.

So I guess the thought for the day is, consciousness is a choice, just as it is a choice to become the watcher of your thoughts and how they manifest in others.

When we choose to stop judging ourself and others, allow ourselves not to get attached to things or people and allow everything to be as it is, we create a space for us to be present.

And, according to Eckhart Tolle, ‘the joy of Being, which is the only true happiness, cannot come to you through any form, possession, achievement, person, or event – through anything that happens. That joy cannot come to you – ever. It emanates from the formless dimension within you, from consciousness itself and this is one with who you are.’ 

Sending you lots of love, hugs and light,

Kat x x x

Inspiration for this post

The Great Gatsby – the film

The Great Gatsby – the book by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Eckhart Tolle’s ‘A New Earth – Create a Better Life.’

Focus on the joy now

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“When you make the present moment, instead of past or future, the focal point of your life, your ability to enjoy what you do – and with it the quality of your life – increases dramatically. Joy is the dynamic aspect of Being.”

– Eckhart Tolle –

It will come as no surprise to you my darlings that I have a bit of a crush on Eckhart Tolle at the moment, and I can’t see that waning any time soon. Not a crush in the sexual sense, but a crush in the sense that I have an insatiable appetite for his wisdom, knowledge and teachings at the moment, and the more I read and learn, the more I wish to share.

I’m currently reading his latest book ‘A New Earth: Create a Better Life’ and I read a particularly interesting part of it just the other day and wanted to share it with you.

Despite the fact that I am only about a third of the way through, I actually skipped to the end of the book, which I never do, and read his conclusion. I have no idea why, but it felt right in the moment, so I did.

He summarises the book by explaining that there are three ways in which consciousness can flow into what you do and thus through you into this world. Acceptance, Enjoyment and Enthusiasm. I have already written a fair amount on the importance of Acceptance, letting go, surrendering to what is, and I will probably write more posts in due course.

However, I wanted to write about Enjoyment today, because it is particularly salient to where I’m at in this moment.

I’m in the process of writing a book on branding and at times I know I can take myself and the process too seriously. And furthermore, I can actually get so stuck in the seeming stress of writing a book, that I forget to enjoy the process. Which kind of totally negates writing the book in the first place! So this post, is a reminder for me to focus on the joy, as much as it is inspiration for anyone else out there forgetting to be joyful in what they do.

I also decided to look up the etymology (or origin) or the word enjoyment too.

According to etymonline.com the word ‘joy’ originates from around 1200 meaning the ‘feeling of pleasure and delight’.

The word ‘enjoy’ comes form the late 14 century from the Old French enjoir ‘to give joy, rejoice, take delight in’.

And the word ‘enjoyment’ is ‘enjoy’ + ‘ment’, with ‘ment’ originally from French and representing Latin ‘mentum’ which was ‘added to verb stems sometimes to represent the result or product of the action’.

And so in this day and age, according to dictionary.com, enjoyment is:

1. The act of enjoying

2. The possession, use or occupancy of anything with satisfaction or pleasure

3. A particular form or source of pleasure

And I think sometimes, we can start to engage in an activity with the intention of it being enjoyable, and actually end up turning it into a chore without meaning to.

So the key is to focus on the enjoyment of an activity in every moment. In fact, you can even turn a chore into something enjoyable, if you so wish.

For example, I’m not the biggest fan of washing up (Darren will tell you this) and we don’t have a dishwasher at the moment. So when I need to do the dishes, I will turn it into a fun activity by sticking on some of my favourite music, cranking up the volume, donning my rubber gloves and enjoying every moment of the washing up.

And if we can start to find joy in simple tasks like washing up, or even waiting for a bus (sometimes I’ll strike up a conversation with someone at the bus stop, or read a book), we can start to spread joy into other areas of our life.

Eckhart Tolle says in ‘A New Earth’, ‘Expansion and positive change on the outer level is much more likely to come into your life if you can enjoy what you are doing already, instead of waiting for some change so that you can start enjoying what you do . . . begin enjoying what you are doing now.’

And this is what I need to focus on for my book. I really need to enjoy the process of writing it, rather than being scared by it, or thinking that it is going to be difficult, hard or arduous. I just need to ensure that I am fully present.

Eckhart goes on to say ‘You will enjoy any activity in which you are fully present, any activity that is not just a means to an end. It isn’t the action you perform that you really enjoy, but the deep sense of aliveness that flows into it. That aliveness is one with who you are. This means that when you enjoy doing something, you are really experiencing the joy of Being in its dynamic aspect. That’s why anything you enjoy doing connects you with the power behind all creation’.

So, my thought for the day is ‘Focus on the joy now‘. Make a list of activities that you engage in every day, especially those that you would normally find boring. And whenever you are engaged in those activities, set the intention to enjoy every moment of doing them. You will then start to find that by focussing on the joy of the moment, rather than being stressed or irritated by the tediousness of them.

“Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home. . . it’s your responsibility to love it, or change it.” – Chuck Palahniuk

Inspiration for this post

Eckhart Tolle’s ‘A New Earth: Create a Better Life’

Image reference – stephaniecorfee.com