Being Present

I am doing some self-exploration to better understand why I do the things I do, think what I think, feel what I feel, and what triggers all these aspects of me that undermine my success in what I want to achieve. I have read about attachment styles and now how willpower really works. These readings and self exploration have caused me to have three epiphanies between last night and this morning. I am sharing one here, and I think it's one that may help others.
Some time ago, I decided to live in the present moment. I chose to do this because my past caused so much pain looking back, and the future scared me because I did not know what lay ahead, thus living in the moment seemed the best way to live. However, it was not until this morning that I realized that although I thought I was living in the moment, all this time, I have not been there at all...
I decided to take my coffee out onto the back porch and enjoy the blessings of my natural surroundings. After about 10-minutes of gazing around and taking in the sights of nature, I walked to the door, put my hand on the handle, and was about to walk in, when a shrub caught the corner of my eye. I thought "that looks so pretty, why did I not notice this while I was standing on the porch?" I thought about this for a moment, and it came to me that all the time I stood on the porch drinking my coffee, and taking in the beauty of nature...I was not there at all....I was not body was...but I was in my mind, in other places...thinking and doing other things, and most of my thought tend to focus on problems. This was quite a revelation, but there is more...
I went back to were I had stood, and decided this time that I would be in the moment...oh my...I could never have imagined how difficult that feat would be. Every time, I only focused on my surroundings, the grass, trees, shrubs, and sky, I would become aware that my mind was already back somewhere else...thinking of this and that...what had to be done....but because I was now aware of my thoughts, I deliberately pulled my focus back to my surroundings. This became a real struggle because my mind would focus on nature for a few seconds before it again would go back to something else. This went on the whole time I was out there, but I had read that we can build mental muscle just like we can build our physical muscles, you just have to keep pulling the mind back to what you want it to focus on. After reining in my mind so many times, my time of being in the moment lasted a little longer, maybe 30- seconds or so, and it is during this time I really noticed, that flower bed needs cleaning out, the outer porch needs to be painted...Oh look at these beautiful rocks, they could be used in an arrangement of some kind. During these focused moments, I actually felt better. It was like a respite from the depression I suffer. I had read that happiness comes from living in the moment, and even though I thought I was living in the moment, I was not present at all.
All this made me think about, as an example, people who take vacations with their family, and sit on the beach while the kids are playing in the sand, and the beauty of the ocean, in sight and sound, surrounds them, but what are they doing, working on the laptop they brought, so they can kill two birds with one stone. So while on vacation, they are not really there, they are still back at work, and they miss out on the whole experience of the present moments. No wonder people don'f feel the beneficial efffects of their break from work because they are never away from work. They also miss out on enjoying the kids and making great memories for the future.
So now it is up to me to flex my mental muscles, and ACTUALLY  live in the present.

*Since I wrote this story, I have become a Buddhist. It's funny how one change we make, like deciding to live in the present moment, then leads us, or bring us to other things. A case of "when the student is ready, the teacher will appear," and he did......Thich Nhat Hahn.
My morning on the porch was just the first step of many on a new spiritual journey, and level of conscious awakening, in me.*

Caromia Caromia
2 Responses May 10, 2012

I'm sorry Caromia, I don't mean to spoil your day but the present is just a place in time like the past and the future, all of which have been fabricated by human beings