Learning how to be present and live in the Now moment is one of the fundamental aspects of leading a spiritual life.
In many ways, a spiritual existence is characterized by your ability to step back from the chaos of day to day life and live from a higher point of awareness. As you learn to cultivate a higher perspective, you will be able to detach from the physical circumstances around you and focus more steadily on the energy of joy-bliss-love-light that permeates everything around you.
In this post, I’ll walk you through a few simple techniques to help you become more present in your day to day life and live more fully in the current moment.
Start and End The Day With Peace
More than anything, presence is a state of mind. It is the habit of finding peace in your current circumstances, wherever you are, irrespective of what may be happening around you.
Developing this mindset takes practice. Taking the time every morning and every evening to find a clear mind and a state of peace will go a long way to help you become more present throughout the day.
Every morning when you wake up, you have the opportunity to set your intention for the day. Your energy resets, and you can choose more easily to feel a state of peace and well-being, before bracing for the day ahead. A few minutes of conscious awareness and attention in the morning can set your day on a positive track, and pave the way for a more conscious experience.
Similarly, the few moments just before you go to sleep are extremely important. If you take a few minutes to quiet your mind in the evening, you will allow your mind to wind down from the day and return to its natural state of ease. What you think about before bed can impact your dreams and how restful your sleep is, so finding stillness just before you fall asleep will help you to feel more refreshed in the morning.
Together, these two times of day can create a powerful, positive spiral of awareness in your life.
How you engage with these moments is up to you. Many people choose to meditate for a few minutes, but you don’t have to do a formal meditation in order to cultivate a sense of stillness or peace.
Step Back To Breathe
Another great practice for centering in The Now is to take the time to step back to breathe.
I believe this exercise is just as important as meditation if you want to create a more consistent state of awareness in your life.
I explain the exercise in more detail in this post.
Or, watch this video to learn more:
Notice Your Thoughts
As I’ve mentioned above, presence is all about awareness. By far, one of the most important areas to cultivate this awareness is with your thoughts.
Most people are largely unaware of their thoughts, and go about their day telling themselves stories they may or may not agree with.
These stories come from the voice inside your head, which you might also think of as the ego-mind.
When you are not aware, you identify with these stories. You believe them. Presence is about understanding that you are not your mind’s chatter, without trying to deny or replace that chatter.
As you go through your day, get into the habit of paying attention to what your mind says to you. You will probably find it repeats similar phrases and ideas constantly, and it will often ping back and off with contradictions. Chances are, you don’t actually believe most of what it says, and yet it is your constant companion, providing an opinion on everything you do.
For this practice, simply notice the role these thoughts play. Don’t try to stop them or block them out. Don’t criticize yourself for having them. Simply notice. Accept that you are constantly thinking.
Develop a Habit of Gratitude
As you begin to accept the rampant thoughts that run through your mind, you empower yourself to gain control of those thoughts. I talk about how to stop negative thinking in a different post, but for now I just want to mention the importance of gratitude.
Instead of allowing your ego-mind to run amok, begin to consciously and deliberately insert feelings of gratitude and appreciation. This will teach your mind to focus on the good that is already present in your life.
Gratitude places you firmly into the present moment because it focuses on what is already good, right now. It doesn’t matter what you are grateful for, it is the feeling of grattitude and appreciation that counts. Even if it as simple as the weather outside, the food you ate for lunch, or the pulse of your breath, taking time throughout the day to notice these positive aspects helps you to build awareness and live in the current moment.
Accept That You Are Already Well
Lastly. becoming present is about learning to accept that already have everything you need.
One of the biggest forces that keeps us out of the present moment is our inability to accept and appreciate our own well-being. We have a tendency to feel that there is something wrong with our lives. We revisit negative events from the past and worry about what might happen in the future because we do not accept that everything is already perfect, right now.
I use the idea of “perfect, and yet evolving,” to help me build on this feeling of well-being. There is a process of accepting the beauty inherent in exactly where you are, even if you are striving to get somewhere else.
In fact, it’s often that very ability that helps you to understand why you want the goals you do, and to gain some perspective about them.
If accepting and appreciating your own well-being sounds far-fetched or unrealistic for you, check out this course on developing joy in your life.