31st Dec 1969 05:33
Breathe. Focus your attention for a moment on your breath. You don’t have to have your eyes closed or sit in a lotus position to gain the benefit of a little focused breathing. Time or location aren’t important. Draw a breath in slowly through your nose, hold it for a bit and slowly release it. Do that a few times then resume your normal breathing. Pay attention to what your body does while you breathe. Notice the rise and fall of your chest, the expansion of your belly¸ the scent of the air or the sensation of the air filling your lungs.
Stop thinking. Just for a moment try to clear your mind and not think about anything in particular. Many of our minds are like hamsters on a wheel….thinking, thinking, thinking, thinking all of our worried thoughts, rehashing the past and fretting about tomorrow. So just for a moment let your mind step off the hamster wheel and stop thinking. What should you do with your mind?
Pay attention. After you have climbed down off the mental hamster wheel, your mind will want something to do. Minds are funny like that. So use that astute mind of yours to pay attention to what is going on in and around you right now. Pay attention to the smells, colors, textures of your surroundings. Listen with attention to detail. Take in all of the sounds around you: buzzing fly, cars on the street, birds chirping, dogs barking, leaves rustling. Try to listen to each sound individually.
Turn off everything with a power switch for 10 minutes and put away books, snail mail and magazines. It may feel a bit strange at first but for just 10 minutes do not read any text, watch or listen to anything electronically produced. All of those things are good in their turn but they transport you out of the moment you are currently living in. Spend 10 minutes attending to something in your present moment. Do the dishes, pet your cat, wiggle your toes in the grass, watch light reflect off a glass— all without reading, watching or listening to someone else’s thoughts.
Practice doing only one thing at a time. Do not multi-task. I realize this is a shocking suggestion. However, I could tell right away that you are a person who likes a challenge. Take a small step and give it a try. The next time you are taking a walk, leave your ipod and cell phone at home. Try driving your car without talking on the phone or listening to music. Cook dinner with the TV off. Eat breakfast in silence. The more we attempt to do in one moment the less we are really present/attentive/living in that moment. When we multi-task we overload our mind, senses and spirit which leads to a general numbness. We often can’t remember how we got to end of our day when it has been filled with numbing multi-tasking. Life is too precious and our days too valuable to sleepwalk through them.
What do you do to practice being fully present in the moment? What works for you to stay grounded in the moment?