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  Lesson #2: Be in the Present Moment

For as much as you have heard of and know about the importance of being in the present moment, how do you live this - in ways that are both practical and meaningful?

You always have an opportunity to choose how you will live this moment.

Begin by noticing when your thoughts have distracted you out of the present moment. It can be as simple as a gentle reminder to yourself whenever you observe that your mind is no longer focused on what you are doing and experiencing right now. Your awareness of not attending to the present is what allows you to bring your attention back to this moment - to now. As you practice the act of returning to the present moment - of dwelling on the here and now - you begin to realize just how often your attention is not with you - in this moment.

Many clients have said that they feel as though they "have no control over their mind and the thoughts that they think." As you practice self-awareness - you observe just how you can direct your mind - to focus on what you choose. You realize that you actually have control over your thoughts, it's just that you simply need to use this power and decide where you will place your attention; otherwise it will seem as though you are simply following (and reacting to) each new thought as it enters your mind.

Focusing your mind on what you choose doesn't stop the mind from churning out thoughts that are anxiety provoking, untrue, or self effacing - but what does happen once you begin to focus your mind deliberately - is the realization that you are losing precious moments of your life by not being attentive to the present (in order to experience what is happening now).

We learn how to practice awareness of the present moment so that we can enjoy the moments of our life fully; so that we can be attentive and aware of our thoughts and feelings as they are happening; and so that we are more easily able to discern what we need at any given moment (which then means we can be self-nurturing - e.g. giving to our self what we truly need).


Use your breath.

Whenever you notice that your mind has moved away from the presence of this moment, simply call it back. Use your next inhalation breath, as the gentle means by which you draw attention back to this moment.

Make it your personal challenge to notice; to catch yourself each time that you become distracted or focused on another thought whilst you are in the middle of doing something in this moment. Instead, enjoy moments of simply being - where you hold your attention for 1 minute or longer on a point of focus - very deliberately. Observe a practice of mindfulness or focused attention by first noticing just how often the mind is distracted with many thoughts and how we subconsciously "allow" our self to follow the mind - to experience extended moments of time caught up in our thinking and not attending to the beauty and wonder of our life in this moment.

We also use distraction as a way of soothing our self. When you reach for something that you believe will help you to feel better, simply notice this. Be attentive to how you are feeling and ask yourself, "What do I really need in this moment?" You may also want to ask, "How do I want to feel? and "What will truly help me to feel this?" This is a much healthier approach to attend to your needs and to understanding your patterns of thinking and behaving which are often unconscious and automatic.

In Practical Ways...

In a span of five minutes and as you are focused on any particular task, count the number of times your mind moves away from what you are doing. Each time you direct your attention back - where you choose to place it, you are training your mind to hold awareness on a single point of focus. This becomes the practice for how you hold attention in the present. Do this with any daily activity that you are likely to do without thinking about and notice the impact of bringing attention and mindfulness to it.

You can also practice holding present moment awareness by being attentive to how you feel. As you take conscious deep breaths, notice your mood state or present moment feelings. This is how you become aware (mindful) of your mood and how you feel at any given moment. Practice knowing how you feel as a first step to realizing that you can change your mood by changing the thoughts you hold. When we are feeling a low mood, or when we are anxious, angry, or any other emotion that perhaps we do not want to hold - we can gently and deliberately move ourselves out of this state but only as we are first aware of it. Even our awareness of what mood or feeling we are holding is often enough to shift us into a new way of feeling since we intrinsically desire to feel content, peaceful, and happy.

There is so much power in our conscious (deliberate) choice whenever we are attentive in the present moment. All that you need is to hold awareness of - now - of this moment.

Some Practical Tips...

Continue to ask yourself, 'Am I present?' Ask this question often throughout the day. Doing so helps bring awareness to your attention and where your mind is focused. Each time that you are not fully attending to what you are doing, let your attention come back fully to the present moment. What you will begin to notice is how easy it becomes to refocus your mind; to give full attention to what you are doing; and also to use your breath as an active means of holding and cultivating awareness in the present moment.

As you deepen your practice of BEING LOVE, you realize that when you are focused and present in this moment, there is easily the ability to feel love and to be love outwardly. It is when our mind is distracted by thoughts of worry, criticism, self-loathing, or any other series of thoughts - that we move out of our natural blissful state of contentment - peacefulness - and love.

Breathing with Awareness: Focused Attention in the Present Moment

Experience this Guided Meditation to practice your ability to be attentive to the present moment. Since this Meditation is recorded live in nature, you will have many opportunities to observe just how easily the mind can be distracted. Practice bringing your attention back to the present moment - and observing what you notice in your body and mind whenever you hold attention in the present. Notice the richness of your experience when you are present in the 'moment'.