We’ve all been subject to the advice to be more present, at least once in our lives. If only it were so simple to become “more” present. We’re all here on this planet, existing in real Earth time, which makes us present, right? But of course, to become present means to become mindfully in the present moment, which feels impossible for most people.
Conscious presence has roots in Zen Buddhism, but we don’t have to be a devout Buddhist to practice it. In fact, the art of embracing the now is a centerpiece in Taoism, Hinduism, Judaism, and many ancient religions that urge us to make the most of every single day, as we will never have the opportunity in this current life to make up for that lost time.
Consider where our thoughts lie. The typical person is almost exclusively reflecting on the past, or worrying about the future. However, the only moment that matters in our lives is each current moment. That is where our consciousness truly lies, and that is where magic and real joy exists.
When we constantly review past occurrences, we tend to hold onto regrets. Of course, there is a beauty in learning to process the traumas we may have pressed down deep within us, in order to liberate ourselves and grow. But dwelling on past events and failures can only dig us into a well of guilt, grief, and blame that does not serve us now, nor for the future.
When we only allow ourselves to live in the future, we live in a world of the hypothetical. We imagine possible scenarios, and allow ourselves to get attached to those scenarios, only to be disappointed when the positive scenario we imagined doesn’t occur. Or, in worse cases, we manifest negative scenarios by attracting them. It’s important to live presently, so that our relationship with the future is a healthy one. We want to embrace and expand the current moment, so that we can enter each consecutive future moment with the strength of positive manifestation.
The outcome of dwelling only in past or future realms defines lacking what it means to live. We exist elsewhere, and thus cannot experience present contentment. It often brings negative thoughts, which come about naturally throughout our days of not living presently, or in moments of reflection. Allowing ourselves the capacity to be mindful of each current moment has the power not only to bring us joy or contentment, but also to profoundly heal ourselves from these dwellings.
Studies show that mindfulness meditations can significantly lower stress in cancer patients, which positively affects not only their quality of life regardless of remaining time, but can also make treatment more effective.
Allowing this mindful, here-right-now type of presence into our daily consciousness makes room for serendipity. It allows natural occurrences to come to fruition, without the constant intervening of our past worries and negative future manifestations. Take life moment by moment, day by day, so that serendipity has the momentum to bring you what your newfound positivity will attract.
Practices that help you remain present don’t have to be challenging or difficult. Try a breathing exercise, or a yoga practice to strengthen and align your mind. Try giving yourself mind-checks throughout the day by asking yourself if your thoughts are of good quality, meaning: are they productive? Positive? Reinforcing your goals? Bringing you joy? Or, are they negative, hurtful, hindering, and self-loathing? Make the choice to throw those out— consciously let them go and forgive yourself. Bring this into a daily gratitude practice that paves the way for positive manifestations.
It’s ok to fall off track. Being mindfully present isn’t an easy place to slip into and remain there, constantly. It takes practice and commitment to find even pockets of becoming present throughout our day, so we mustn’t be hard on ourselves for losing steam. The very act of punishing oneself for not being present is, in fact, living in the past. We always have the exact present moment to try again.
Consider our day. Or even just our hour. Make short term goals, and execute them, focusing on them in the moment. Be present with them, and they will be completed thoughtfully. Allow ourselves pride in that success. That success will affect our tomorrow, so we don’t need to worry about tomorrow until it happens. This type of serendipitous fortune is where success, peace, and joy reside. Join the now, and stay there as best we can.