If all we ever have is this very moment, how can we savour it? The universe has conspired to make me focus on this during the week because I have had a couple of conversations with friends about how challenging it can be to truly live in the moment.
Those of us who already recognise the value of being in the moment most likely already know the basics of the process…find a quiet place; make time to visualize/meditate; remember to breathe and be persistent. I have tried this many many times yet I still struggle to hush the endless chatter that happens in my mind. Occassionally I manage to go there – to a place that is entirely still, quiet and blank. I decided to share my tricks in the hope that you will share yours and between us we will have a number of things to try that go beyond the basics.
- Find a comfortable way to sit. It doesn’t matter if you’re not in the typical meditation pose – just find a position that won’t distract you.
- Relax your shoulders. Yes, that’s right…I do the opposite of the usual guidelines! I totally relax my posture and if this means slouching a bit then I go there. For me this relaxes my muscles. It’s like giving my back time off.
- Close your eyes and notice the sensation of breathing slowly. When I breathe in through my nose I can almost feel the tiny hairs in my nostrils moving, and when I exhale slowly through my mouth I can feel the heat of my breath on my upper lip. For me, once that I feel that my mind is blank.
- Congratulate yourself. Even if you can only “be” for 10 seconds, well done. That’s 10 seconds you didn’t have yesterday and that is something to be treasured.
How about being present to others though? We all know that there’s a difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak, right? I spent half my working life teaching people how to be present to others (Communication 101) and I have tried to practise what I preach yet still my mind can wander at times. I’ve realised though that this is what I need to be doing to truly be present to others…
1. Love myself. Once I get that I am a complete package, and I am good enough then I can focus on someone else because my own insecurities and beliefs disappear at that moment.
2. Love myself. If I truly understand that I am good enough, the need to compare myself to the next person will vanish. If I can walk into a room without instantly thinking; I’m overdressed; I’m the oldest/fattest/skinniest/daggiest here; I’m the odd one out; they’re cooler than me etc etc, then I can truly “be” in the company of others.
3. Love myself. I understand that everyone who enters my life, no matter how briefly, does so for a reason – for me to get something from the encounter. I have to remind myself that the same is true when I cross someone else’s path. I become their gift too! If my focus is on them rather than my own internal dialogue I can ensure my gift to them is the best it can possibly be. By the way, this doesn’t always equal a positive interaction – negative meetings are a gift too.
So, there you have it…it’s not about paraphrasing, eye contact, vocal cues or visual indicators. It’s just, quite simply, about love. Isn’t that true for all things?