December 17, 2017
Attention – where’s yours?
What comes naturally is to be lost in the past or the future.
Past: ruminating about what happened, or didn’t happen. You’re reliving every miserable moment and stressing your body just like it was stressed before. Over and over and over. Poor body!
Future: ruminating about what might happen, or not happen. You’re scaring the crap out of yourself over something that in all likelihood will never occur. How many of your worst fears were anticipated and lived out before they actually happened?
Present: aware of and experiencing your surroundings, thoughts, physical sensations and emotions. Your body and mind and emotions are in sync.
Present moment awareness doesn’t come naturally to us humans. The tendency for most of us, including myself, is to be attracted to whatever shiny bauble presents itself and off we go into the past or the future.
There are many easy, effective practices to bring yourself home, back to the present moment. Here’s one you can try immediately, and you can do it anywhere.:
Ask yourself three questions:
Where am I?
What am I doing?
How do I feel?
Do this as many times a day as you can remember. 10/20/30 times a day! The more the better. It will build present moment awareness, or presence, with very little effort on your part. Changing a habit doesn’t always have to be complex or torturous!
I have a client who said, “I don’t understand it, but these three simple questions are helping me manage myself in situations where in the past I’d have lost it. They give me time to come back to myself and decide how I want to respond, rather than reacting in anger or confusion, which always gets me in trouble”.
Even though you’ve heard about the benefits of being in the moment, as you begin this practice you will likely continue to be amazed at how easy it is to slip out of the present into the dream-like world of the past or the future.
The front-page-news is that the more present you are, the more benefits will travel beyond you. Others around you will feel it. And that’s sort of the ball-game, isn’t it? Our relationships matter! And when we’re divorced from the present moment, we aren’t there for anyone, including ourselves.
Ever known someone who gives you the feeling that you’re the only person in the room? It seems they have no desire to be anywhere other than with you in this moment. That is someone who is fully present, engaged and sincerely interested in what’s happening between the two of you. It’s an amazing feeling to be the focus of that kind of whole-hearted attention.
Where you put your attention will pretty much determine the quality of your life. And whatever you put your attention on will grow. Pick wisely!
I hope this will be more than just a thinking exercise, and instead, the beginning of a practice!