How to be present at all times:
If you are ever lucky enough to read any of the ancient Hindu or Yogic texts then you will realise pretty quickly that the true purpose and method of yoga is in being present in each and every moment.
The moving your body and detoxifying is just really part of a preparation to get you 'clean and clear' so that you can meditate and dive deep to within. Last night I described it as diving deep into an ocean. All the waves flow ceaselessly above; thoughts, emotions and life events come and go non-stop. But below the waves lies a deep pool of stillness. The pearl (the wisdom) lies deep in the ocean and you've got to dive deep within in order to find that calm, still space and locate the treasure.
We learn to let feelings pass through us and experience each moment fully without conflict from the ego or intellect playing their part.
This is a truly difficult practice, but we must remember that anything worth having is a difficult process. Suffering, grief, pain and darkness all help us to identify and appreciate the happy and light times in our lives. So we have to embrace all experiences and savour each and every moment equally regardless of whether they make us feel happy or otherwise.
Being present is so much easier said than done. We let the mind distract us and we forget our roots and centre. We casually go about our lives as if they are infinite and we are immortal. Our basic human conditioning has actually been to ignore who we are. We are told to surpress our thoughts and feelings; 'You can't say that in public', 'Don't do that'', 'I know you're angry, but you have to surpress it'. All this bottling up, holding in and covering over has conditioned us to ignore the moment, to conceal our true feelings and to pretend we are something we are not.
This is why the true path of Yoga is such a hard one. It's why it's called a 'practice'. Because we have to basically undo everything we have become. We have to return to who we really are. Not what we thought we were or how we have been conditioned by ourselves, others and society to be. We have to face the truth face-on with no-one and nothing to protect us. So every little reaction & outcome to painful moments and grief of loss has to be re-lived and investigated. Any lies or deceptions have to be assessed. Every happy moment has also to be recalled and appreciated. Everything we ever did, we have to accept responsibility for. It all sounds very 'deep'. But this is the purpose of life and yoga is a tool in getting pure joy back into every moment of our lives.
The physical aspect of yoga is just the beginning. It teaches us how to breathe, how to notice and feel
that breath permeating every cell of our body. It teaches us how we feel physically. How we feel internally. To notice the temperature of our environment, the mat beneath us, the sound of the breath and the weight of our clothes as they rest on our skin. With time, these observations go deeper. We notice when emotions are empty or overflowing. We see the true root of these emotions; where we hold back because of the past or fears of the future. We know when we are in balance; in the here and now. We learn to react only after observation. The list goes on and on. There are only ever benefits in the practice.
So, what can we do to start getting into each moment and really taking the reins and control back over our own lives? I have included a few of our own personal experiences. Please use the ones that resonate with you aswell as create ones of your own. The goal is to get in the here and now.
Ways to get present:
Pick a lovely book (non-leather; ahimsa; non-violence) and each day in a quiet space when you are alone, observe what happened today and note when you felt really present.
What are the affects of todays events? How do you feel now?
Writing down your feelings can be so revealing and helpful in all situations. As you write, your heart will open up and it can be a very cleansing process. Let there be purpose in your writing though. So choose a subject or an event that happened in your day and write your thoughts and feelings down. For example, you may have seen an unusual bird fly past or bumped into an old friend; what did this symbolise to you? Is there a message that you can learn from this? How did it make you feel?
This may seem contradictory; looking in the past to 'get present'! But it does help.
Recently, I lost one of my most beautiful, loving friends who meant the Earth and sky to me. Each day, the pain felt so raw that I felt trapped and suffocated by my emotions. Being able to
write how I felt was a release each night before I tried to meditate and sleep. It provided me with a realistic view of how I was in that moment. With time, I learned to turn my grief and pain into happiness and gratefulness for such a gift in having known her. I felt at peace in knowing my true feelings and being able to face them and deal with my struggle each day.
Each day, be still and just breathe. Be silent and be with yourself. Don't ask anything of yourself for this moment. If thoughts occur, watch them pass by but do not interact with them. This is the beginning of meditation but don't get caught up in anyone's idea of what meditation should be. Just let it happen as and when you are ready.
For now, 5 minutes per day will suffice. You can't get present without being in the here and now. You can not get to know 'you' until you have found out which character and persona you truly are. So just observe. You can use a candle flame, symbol or anything you choose that gets you calm and serene. Running water, the fresh outdoor air or a nice piece of music may help in the beginning. But with time and practice, seated quietness will develop and those few precious moments will reveal great truths to you.
Stop, listen and look!
Choose any moment each day to pause and really see with open eyes and hear everything around you. So often we walk with eyes looking to the ground. Or we ignore the songs of the birds because we are focusing on other things. When you really observe the sights and sounds, then your preception shifts and you notice things you didn't realise before about your environment and yourself. Even smell the air around you and close the eyes. Sometimes, I like to just lie on the ground and watch the sky go by overhead so you can realise the vastness of it all and how small we are; it helps to remind me that my 'dramas' are insignificant!
Remember this moment is the only one that matters:
It does not matter what has passed or what is to come, you can change it all. But you have to
recognise where you are at now and what you really want from it all. There is no such thing as pre-destiny. We create our own destiny. It's like a Tarot reading; the cards can tell you what is likely to happen, but only as a result from the moment that you chose them. If you decide that you want to avert the outcome situation, then you change your approach in the future. So this is something to keep in the back of your mind. Happiness lies in your own heart. Just trust the inner voice and the rest will all fall into place.
So, here are a few offerings of how to get present and real. These are the simplest and are available to anyone, anywhere. Give them a go if you are willing and see how life unfolds. If you have others and you are willing to share them, let us know and we will post them. By helping eachother, we can
hopefully make a difference and help lessen the suffering from within,