Have You Ever Experienced To Be Present?
This strange question may not be quite simple to understand, at first, however, it is fascinating to see how our conscience can fool us almost permanently in this brave world. You can easily be disturb by the ton of information that can be reached immediately all the time, or disturbed by your work, your friends or your social networks or, finally, to summarize, just by yourself at the end.
First, let me come back to the notion of the present. What does it mean to be present? You would think that you are present physically; you are quite sure of this, but why should you experience something that you are already living on a daily base?
I will give you a couple of examples and maybe after considering them you will notice how this question actually makes sense.
Sometimes when you drive, suddenly you just don’t remember the last 25 seconds of the trip, because even though you were driving, you were mentally not there. Another day, you go for a jog or a walk, and you start thinking of anything but your jog or your walk. Have you done that at work or have you ever noticed this and told it to your friend? Slowly but safely, you are building a story in which you start to put your mind into a comfortably numb state. You are jogging or walking, but because you are not there, you haven’t seen or felt anything about the environment in which your are.
Another example is when you are cooking, and you must prepare vegetables and/or cut potatoes. You settle your knife, your vegetables, so you are ready to cut, but just when you are about to do it, your start thinking of something else but to cut. Then for some reason, you cut your finger.
A final example: You are in a football field, just about to score the goal of your life. You see the ball coming right to you, but then, just before kicking it towards a glorious goal, you just remark that all is too fast for you. Unfortunately, the angle given to your feet is not the right one, and you miss the goal. The present was too fast for you because you were not in the present tense.
There are so many examples as well in the communication field. You probably have been in the situation where the people you are communicating to seem to be just talking but not communicating or even considering what you are expressing and \ not considering what you are saying, despite the fact that you are good friends. Usually, you get it long after the dialogue, when dealing with the feeling of having been fooled by your conscience. Ask yourself: were you really present in that dialogue? probably not.
You can ask now what is the point being present because you think it is natural to escape into the limbs of your mind and to dream when doing any activities.That is part of human nature after all. Yes, of course, it is natural, and this is an interesting capacity of not being present, but being present doesn’t mean you will stop thinking or dreaming. To be present just means being there for what your are doing, right now, at this particular moment that we call the present.
What are the benefits of being able to be present? How will it change your life? It is reasonable to ask these kinds of questions. After all, many people will spend all their lives without being present and won’t suffer from that.
The benefits are huge. First, it will bring you the feeling that at least you are conscious of what is going on in your life. To me, personally, that brings me a tremendous satisfaction. Secondly, you are going to be connected. Going back to the example given previously, by being aware of the road and the trip I am experiencing, to deeply feel the environment and the nature around me, enables me to avoid unnecessary wounds and to be able to both appreciate and communicate in the appropriate way. Plus, it could be fun to see the ball in the soccer field with full control. It is also interesting to think in the appropriate place and situation to gain clarity.
Once you begin to master this state of mind, other amazing things will happen. You will be able to develop your reflexes, to be more focused and more easily see your life with distance and reflexion and with a pace that your are comfortable. There is nothing metaphysical; it is just to live fully.
Of course, this is something that you must work on, permanently. Plus, it requests some effort, but there are many opportunities to work out this. It is up to you to find the right practice. A simple suggestion, would be to simply sit and breathe peacefully, by closing your eyes for a while, focusing your mind exclusively on your breath without attaching your conscience to the thoughts crossing your head while practicing. You can do that anywhere, and for how long your like. You don’t necessarily need either to close your eyes.
In case you haven’t guess, I am talking about meditation. In the western world, some call it “mindfulness”which is the same thing, but nicely packaged with some extra-rational explanations, for a westerner. In the eastern world, like the Zen practice, we would probably ask you to sit and breath, that is all. The result would be the same.
In our world today, where all may seem so uncertain, to be present is certainly one of the attitudes to opt to secure our future.
You should try.