Presence

This past week, I  flew out to Costa Rica on an adventure. I went to School of the World in Jaco, a place where you can be productive while on vacation. I decided to take spanish lessons and yoga classes, 2 of my top interests at the moment. I went, thinking I was going to improve my spanish and maybe deepen my yoga practice; however, what I got out of this trip was something I never expected.  I learned to slow down, for the first time in my life. I met people who had such a sense of adventure, a joy for life. And it touched a very deep part of me that I have not been faithful to, a part that has been buried deep for so long. Hearing others stories of travel, seeing their dreams, their desires, learning their reason for travel, their life stories… it was beautiful. So many people coming from all over the world to one place, all for the same reason – to experience. To experience adventure,  the beauty and love of other countries, a change in their lives… And it opened my eyes to the present. To allow myself to slow down, to not always rush around.

I have always listened to that voice, urging me to rush, to not stop and be in the moment. And there is that other voice, that always tells me to slow down. to be patient. to relax. and that loud voice of anxiousness has always, always won. Always afraid to let go, to let that silence overcome me. To sit still for 2 seconds, afraid of what thoughts might come crashing in. Afraid of that space, the space that allows one to be present and enjoy life. But not anymore. I have felt this shift happening within me the past few weeks; that gut feeling that things are changing, that I am changing. I am feeling more at peace, allowing myself to enjoy things I would always brush off and not care about. And that loud voice, telling me to always be on the go… it is scared. it is scared that it won’t be listened to anymore, lost in the silence it so greatly fears. And I am embracing it, slowly, cautiously catching glimpses of the peace that comes with just being.

As I lay on my yoga mat tonight in Shavasana, concentrating on my Ujjayi Breath, I chant the mantra **”I choose to enjoy this present moment. I choose to enjoy this present moment.” Hearing the breath come in and out of my nose, through my throat… Letting go of all tension in my face, my arms, my legs, I feel the energy running through my body. I am aware of the sounds around me, yet  am somehow stepping out of my mind, aware of myself, my thoughts and how my body feels. And I realize, that I am present. It is so peaceful, yet so startling – I knew that this is how every person should feel – beautiful, at peace, an overwhelming feeling of love. It was just a quick glimpse in a short time, but it brought me such joy. It was like something shifted in me – I let go of having to be in control of every move and thought, focusing only on the sensation of my body and the sounds around me. I just WAS. I wasn’t a body, I wasn’t my thoughts… I was everything, and I was all around. I didn’t want to stop being in that moment – it was so refreshing, so new, so relaxing. Like taking a hot shower after a long day, or taking off your shoes after being on your feet all day. Relief. Something your body welcomes, that calm, that release of stress – it craves it, never wanting that feeling to go away.

Being present is hard. It is like learning a new way to live, a new way to breathe, a new way to run… learning a new language, to excel at a sport, to improve your posture. It will take time, but practice will make you better. Just sticking with it, and knowing that at your core being, you are love and joy. You are here, but are just bogged down with the thoughts of everyday life. So slow down. Focus on your breath. Develop a mantra. Take a few seconds to be aware of the present moment in the middle of your day.

You never know when your last moment on earth will be, so will it really matter if you are a few minutes late? Will it matter if that car cut you off? And does it make sense to worry about things that will most likely never happen? No, not really. Most everything can wait. And if you don’t know, just like anyone else on this earth does not know when their time is up, you might as well be enjoying the present moment while you are here. So take a longer detour, enjoy things you would normally pass by, be a few minutes late to work. Be here. Be aware. Others will pick up on your presence – and in the words of Marianne Williamson, “…as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Marianne Williamson

**I choose to enjoy this present moment mantra comes from the book of meditations, Expand this Moment, by John Selby. It is a simple meditation that you can say at any time in the day to bring you centered and back to the present moment (kind of like a coffee break for the mind :))

–  “I choose” – enables you to assume control over your own mind

– “to enjoy” – specifies where you aim your attention – at enjoyment

– “this moment” – aims your attention at the immediate sensory events happening inside and around you right now

Present

As of lately, my world has been a little hectic. All in my mind, of course. You see, most people say their lives are busy, crazy, jam-packed. They put stress on themselves, constantly over-thinking, over-analyzing… completely missing the point of life. Which is what? Living in the moment. Being in the present. Realizing that this exact moment, this precise second – there is nothing more important. The past? Not real, as it is just a memory, therefore not reality. The present? Not real, as it has not happened yet, so not reality.  So what do we do? we live in the past – constantly reliving good times, bad times, trying to think of ways we could have said something different, done something different. We also live in the future – constantly planning, creating scenarios in our heads of what we want to happen, what we are afraid might happen and constantly worry about what might happen. All the while, missing out on the most important time of our lives – Now.

This is something that I have really struggled with – as I am constantly analyzing my life, why I haven’t gotten to where I think I should be, comparing myself to others, creating meaningless worry in my head that isn’t even real. I recently took on a challenge to meditate for 45 minutes every day for 90 days. As of right now, I am on day 23 . Meditating every day has not only forced me to take quiet time for myself – it has also given me time to sit in silence, quiet my brain and give it a rest from all of the crazy thoughts that go through my head every day. And I love them.  As I sit to meditate, they come, crashing in like huge waves. And I invite them in, grateful for them, accepting them. Until eventually, they begin to fade out. I focus on my breathing, on the energy beginning to flow through me. Then – the thoughts start to go away, and I feel my presence growing stronger, my thoughts emptying, my inner light growing stronger as I connect with the importance of that exact moment. I envision my body as a vessel of white light, shining out love to the universe. And in that moment, I am love. I am the universe, and the universe is me. This is pure joy, joy that most people are afraid to experience because they don’t know how. Or don’t feel that they deserve it. We are all deserving of love – and meditation is one of the quickest ways to learn & practice love.

As I struggle to stay in the moment, I feel the tugging of everyday worries putting thoughts in my head, scared of this love, this freeing feeling. And as I come down, I am grateful for that love, that light that I am able to experience, even if it is just for a minute of my meditation that day.

I encourage you all to try meditation – the emptying of thoughts, the freeing of your mind. You don’t have to sit down cross-legged; heck, sometimes i sit on the floor with my back propped up and my legs stretched out. Not into sitting still for long periods of time? try 5 minutes one day. or find time every day to do something you love – something that relaxes you – whether it be crafting, riding your bike, playing cards, writing in your journal – there are so many different ways to quiet your mind. And you don’t have to be a buddhist to meditate!

As we all hurry to the next thing in our lives – please remember to stop and take a moment to realize that you are in the moment. you ARE the moment – and nothing else is more important. If you weren’t standing where you are right now – how else would you get to point B? Be here now – be present, and I promise, you will appreciate life more, worry less & love more.

http://doblelol.com/uploads/2/meditating-funny.jpg

This is how the first 40 minutes of my 45 minute meditation goes

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