The problem is, we are naturally complicated. We learn early in life to avoid the simplicity of the moment and live inside an entangled mind-mess.
So, back to basics!
We connect to the present through our senses. We’ll review simple ways to use the senses to sweep away the mind-mess and just be here and now. The trick is to avoid making meaning. When you make meaning, you must go inside your mind. It is so easy at that point to make meaning that is emotionally upsetting.
All of us need a break from the internal commotion.
For me, the external present is the break I need. It is so calm and mundane. When I am fully aware of my immediate surroundings, there is no mind chatter, no worry about the future, no regret, no problem. We cannot spend all of our time here, but spending some time here every day is extraordinarily beneficial.
The key to getting calm is to pay attention to the consistent and mundane. We can do it by listening, feeling and seeing in particular ways.
Here are some examples.
Choose white noise and tune in fully. The sound of a fan. The hum of the refrigerator. The sound of running water. Mundane, consistent white noise is what you want.
Tune in, just listen and do not try to relax – just tune in fully to the sound. After a few seconds, you will feel yourself “settle.”
Feel textures and temperatures in your immediate environment. The feel of the texture of your clothing on your skin. Feel the temperature of the table, or something cool.
Put all of your attention on the feeling and forget everything else. You should experience the same settling after a few seconds. When you settle, you have achieved true contact with your environment and have arrived in the calm of the here and now.
See patterns, shapes and textures. Don’t see what things are. See how they are. Textures, shapes and patterns are everywhere! When you look at your house, see the texture of the siding. See the overall shape of the home and the pattern or texture in the brick, stone or timber, for example.
The visual is more complicated because we are so used to labelling things, making meaning out of them and getting lost in that meaning. However, when you simply see patterns, shapes and texture, you see the world differently and calmly.
Again, don’t expect to live your entire life in the present moment. You cannot prosper without planning a future. You cannot grow and develop character without learning from the past. You can, however, benefit greatly by giving your mind a break – even for a few minutes a day – in the eternal, meaningless present.
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