To be free from the stresses of the world, you must learn to live in the present moment. What I mean is to live consciously aware of this present moment. Do you remember grade school roll call where the teacher would alphabetically go down the list of classmates; state their name and expect everyone to respond with “Present”? If no present was heard, everyone knew the person was just not there. Now imagine that roll call, and your name is called, but you don’t hear it because you are looking out the window daydreaming about the recess fight you had yesterday. When the teacher called your name, no “Present” was heard. You really were not there; consciously or aware.
If you want to feel grounded, grateful, and happy; then you must let go of the past, stop worrying about the future, and be consciously aware of what is happening around you right now, in this present moment.
This may sound easy at first, but it will require some real effort for you to change this habit for good. Every day the world swirls a ton of crap at us while our fears, frustrations, worries, and stress stand by ready to distract, confuse, and pull us away from enjoying the present. The good news is once you learn to master the present you will not believe you could have ever lived any other way.
Do you want to try a new way of life by learning how to live in the moment? Well, it is said that “if you have a desire for something new, then you must do something you have never done.”
I am going to share my personal method of how I learned to truly master living in the present moment.
First, let us prepare ourselves by recognizing we must let go of all expectations and any preconceived results. To do this, I want you to get a hold of this principle. Think happy and thankful; no matter what occurs with any outcome, know that all things work out for your good, you are loved, you are not alone, and all is well. Yeah, I know it sort of sounds like a Saturday Night Live, Stuart Smiley thing, “I am good enough, I am smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”
Seriously, most of our disappointments, constant thoughts, fears, and worries are rooted in our egos trying to micromanage the world and control everything in it. So let go a little and try letting life just happen for once. Do not worry for the future, get a hold of the fact that you will never have to worry about a place to live, clothes on your back and food to eat. You can stand on a higher power faith that your basic needs will be provided no matter what you do. From this security, let go of your controlling ego that continues to fight and struggle against what is actually best for you.
I am going to share an antidote. I do not recall where I heard it, but I do think it is an appropriate example to illustrate my point.
There is a story of two friends, living in the country a few miles outside the city. Life on the farm does not seem to match up with all the dreams swirling around in their heads. They each learn of a job opportunity in the nearby city and decide to travel the several miles together for their scheduled interviews. As they must travel on foot, it is agreed that a short cut along the river will save the journey much time.
While walking beside the river, a deluge of water flash floods them both into the raging river. One of the friends struggles and fights against the powerful force of fast-moving water. He desperately thinks in his mind, “if I can just get back to the shore, where I was, everything will be fine.” In his struggle to fight back against the river while attempting to thrash towards shore, he is overcome and dies.
The other friend, upon being sweep into the river, immediately gains his composure, relaxes, turns to his back and allows the water to naturally push him to the center of the raging current. He takes a fast wild, face-up, float down the turbulent river. A sharp bend in the river forces the water and him rolling unto the river bank. He collects himself, looks around, and realizes he is only a few hundred feet from the very business where he has the job interview.
Okay, here we go. It is time to learn to enjoy living in the present moment with these six essential steps.
1. Yoga and Meditation
You must exercise both the Body and the Mind. Nothing does this more effectively than the healing properties of Yoga and Meditation. The entire focus of meditation is a tool to help you live in the present moment. It will help you find the answers within yourself by beginning to accept things as they are. Meditating takes some time to master, you can learn to be still, and the more it is practiced, the easier and stronger influence it will have on your personal serenity.
Yoga will help your body prepare for meditation by relaxing muscles and increasing circulation. This will help to quiet your mind and enjoy the stillness. The easiest way to shut off your mind is to focus on your breath. With each exhalation, strive to release any thoughts and emotions that continue to pop up.
2. Nature – Those Tree Huggers are Really on to Something
You really must take time to reacquaint yourself with nature. The beauty and serenity offered by stopping to smell the roses will have an amazing therapeutic effect. It is often said you can visit the gentle “Spirit of God” anytime you wish in the stillness of a forest. You may wish to simply go for a walk or sit under a shade tree in the park. Whatever way you choose, if you want to experience the feeling of a present moment, nothing will allow it easier than a quiet encounter with the energy of nature.
3. The Past – It’s So Yesterday, You Need to Deal With It Because “It is Over”
If you want to feel better about yourself, all you have to do is learn to accept past situations and relationships. Believe me — you will feel a lot better once you learn this. I know it is difficult, but come on there is nothing you can do to change the past. So stop thinking about it and accept it. The only thing bringing the past into your present will do is cloud and confuse your current thoughts. This has no value, joy, or peace for you and will only make it harder for you to concentrate on this present moment.
When thoughts of the past arise, learn to accept them for what they were, allow those old emotions to pass through you, then return to the present moment and leave the regret and grief behind.
4. The Future – Back to the Future, Again and Again, Please!
What day has any man added to his life by worrying? None! I think Jesus said that. So now to continue our journey to live in the present moment, we will need to accept the future. Since you thought about it over and over in your head, you must realize you have no idea about what is going to happen, and of course, worrying about it will not make one bit of difference.
Right now I want you to agree with yourself that you will not waste another day going over and over every possible outcome and option of what or why, you should, or should not. Enough of the “What am I going to do?” How do you know if you are going in the right direction when you are not even moving? If you can stop the worrying, analyzing, and endless pondering, you will find you have more time to actually do something about it!
5. Enjoy the Journey, For Living in the Now is Really About “Awareness”
Awareness really only needs two friends; their names are “Thankful” and “Happy.” It is very important for you to become mindful. You need to start by having gratitude for all the wonderful relationships and things in your life. A sense of being thankful will immediately provide you with a more positive and happy outlook. To be mindful is to be closely aware by paying attention to what you are doing at the present moment.
I want you to consider some task like laundry or dishes as not just another mundane chore. For you to fully experience this activity, it is important to perform it with an open mind. Allow all your senses to open up to what you are doing. You may just experience an incredibly positive feeling that you were not even aware existed.
6. Finally, to Relax, You Must Remember to Breathe
The only way to achieve conscious living in the moment is to maintain a relaxed attitude.
I want you to consider that there is your ego-mind and your true higher self both battling for control of your thoughts. Now allow your higher self to observe how your ego-mind races weird thoughts and fears all over the place. Your higher self can ground you back to the present moment if you will maintain the insight to realize when your thoughts are getting out of control.
This can be achieved most easily with consistent meditative practice. You can use a simple breathing exercise that helps calm and relax you if it is not appropriate to meditate. First, pay attention to your breathing. Take deep, slow breaths pulling air in from your stomach. Allow the thoughts to flow through you as you remind yourself that in this present moment, the past and the future simply do not exist.
If you can successfully be in the present moment during your scheduled relaxation periods of the day, then you can extend this new awareness to the other parts of your day. As you feel more and more comfortable spending time in the present, you will begin to notice a better, more fulfilling life awaits your enjoyment.
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