With the modern world constantly distracting us away from the moment that we physically reside within, it can be easy to allow our thoughts to lead us astray, and to a place where they can go down any number of questionable and not so pleasant paths. Being conscious of your state and living in the moment is often misconceived as living a wild lifestyle where you are “living life to the max”. Living in the moment, actuality is quite somple. It is about being fully present in whatever piece in time and place you are in that instyance. It is about staying focused on that experience without allowing any influence from the past or the future to seep into your state of being. This practice alone can bring bounds of contentment into your life. My great friend Rodrigo reminds us about one of the easiest ways to live this out in your daily lives.
In todays day and age, we can often find ourselves very distracted, caught up in thoughts from all angles. If you are anybody like myself, you might find yourself in a constant battle of balance, trying to give the right amount of energy to future planning, and the right amount to experience. There truly is something to be said about being ready for the future, and putting yourself in a place where future you can be more comfortable. However, there is an equally important counter argument for living in the present. For giving it your all, for truly experiencing what life has to offer. Life, after all, is about right now. It is about this moment in time that you are in right now. The future does not exist and the past will never come back. This is life.
For myself I have experimented with many different forms of mindfulness, and methods of re-grounding myself in the present moment, while feeling good enough to truly absorb it. Now that I am quite likely closing in on a full decade of this, I have begun to narrow my list or tactics and practices down quite a bit. Presence is something that requires awareness, and we can foster more awareness in life by engaging in a whole set of unique rituals and routines. For myself I have experimented with the following list. Although I cannot speak for everyone, here are the things that have helped me become exponentially more present and aware when I am engaging in their proper practice. See my list below.
There is a significant reason why athlete’s often find sport quite addicting and freeing for them. The state of mind they enter when engaged deeply and fully in an activity that requires absolute focus in called the flow state. It is when everything else falls away, except for the present moment. Sport is grounding and engaging and it free’s us from the overthinking of everyday life. I have found incredible enjoyment in sports for this exact reason, and would certainly consider myself to be a flow state addict.
Dropping the technology.
As simple as a suggestion as it may be, when I actually turn off my technology, my mind feels free and present. I can actually enjoy the people I am with fully, and I can truly shrink the amount of mental chatter I experience in a very drastic way. Detaching from social media and by doing regular and strict digital detoxes has helped me rid my mind of anxiety and truly absorb the present moment. It has allowed me to be more authentic in my thought, behaviour and actions instead of comparing myself to whoever I see on Instagram. Social platforms often create quite poor mental habits of comparison, stimulation addiction and external validation and stepping away semi regularly or permanently feels pretty good on the mind.
As cliche as this suggestion may be, learning to focus on the present, is the best way to experience more of the present. Mental habits and tendencies are more based in habits that anything else and this is where meditation and mindfulness can be hugely impactful. Meditating exercises our ability to focus on the present moment, which will inherently make us more present. It’s like doing bicep curls after you’ve done thousands. It becomes pretty dang easy, and surprisingly the mind works in the exact same way.
Gratitude is a really special force in this world. When we are grateful, we are thinking about how good things are the way they are. We become grounded, we become present to what we have, what is so, and that things really just are the way they are. Things can always be worse. Things can always be better. Presence, gratitude, happiness and everything else truly comes from within. We can choose to feel the things we want to feel and presence is no different.
If you found this article interesting, you might enjoy my podcast which is available on Itunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, and everywhere else. On my show I discuss the all encompassing aspects of mindfulness and meditation all while interviewing unique freethinkers who see the world in unique and inspiring ways. Look up The Mindful Steward Podcast on your platform of choice and enjoy the episodes!