4 Ways to Be Present Right Now
The present moment is the only moment we have. Much cause of the human mind’s anxiety stems from not being truly in this moment. This disconnection from the present moment, or lack of presence has many causes and effects in our modern society.
One cause of the problem is that technology so readily provides the perfect opportunity for absence from the present moment. As a teacher, I have seen this effect on my students. However, I recognize that these habits are a reflection of their surroundings.
Since I am a teacher and see every ‘problem’ as a teaching opportunity—I usually warn my students about perpetually creating a split between their mind and body. I request that they be with me, both mind and body, in the classroom for the 1 hour and 20 minutes we have scheduled together.
This lack of presence permeates every avenue of our modern society and is one of the major causes of mental anguish and discomfort that many of us suffer from in this high-tech, fast paced industrial culture we exist in. But, it’s not only students who succumb to a constant state of distraction through the use of technology. However, our use of external gadgets and technology isn’t the only culprit responsible for our lack of presence.
Many of us allow our minds to dwell far too much in the past. For example, many people constantly relive past trauma, pain or past glory— or sometimes in my case I find myself thinking my life was better when I could work out everyday and had fewer responsibilities.
We also do not participate in the present moment when we allow our minds to constantly worry about the future. For example when we make predictions about how things will go wrong at work or school the next day—or when we stress out about finances or relationship problems.
In many ways, like our mobile devices, computers and technological gadgets, the mind is an amazing, wondrous tool that must be cared for and used lovingly and intentionally. Of course our mind is also connected to our heart, body and spirit. For me, truly being present means linking the heart, body, spirit and mind together.
Some activities we can do to be present are:
Experience Nature: Whether this means taking a walk or hike in the woods, or spending time in some green space in your yard or a nearby park. For me, gardening always brings unity of my heart, body, spirit and mind.
Meditation: Meditation does not have to be just sitting quietly while trying to empty the mind of thoughts. Meditation can include visualization, breath counting, chanting and candle gazing.
Movement: Hike, walk, run, dance, stretch, play a sport, be active and get into your body! For me nothing brings the present to the forefront like feeling the vitality and aliveness of my body through yoga, dance, martial arts and running.
Art: Create something, build something, write, draw, paint, sculpt, make jewelry, make clothes. Personally, I am not a skilled artist at all, but humans are naturally creative and the spirit longs to do what is in its nature—even if no one but your self appreciates it.
This list is by no means exhaustive; the point is that our source of power, well-being and vitality is in this moment right here and right now. Don’t waste the present moment on too much screen time or too much past and future mental time travel. Be active, be aware and be grateful for this moment you have right now.