THE POWER OF THE HERE AND NOW – HOW TO LIVE IN THE PRESENT
From the moment we come into the world, the here and now or the present moment is the only thing we have. We can learn from the past of course, but we cannot relive it. We can hope for a future, but we are not sure if there is one. Yet most of us don’t live in the present. We tend to think about the future, constantly worrying or ruminating on the past without realizing it. This happens because we are completely identified with the narrative voice of our mind that comments, judges, continuously interprets everything that happens inside and outside of us. With this I absolutely do not want to demonize the mind, which is indeed an exceptional tool because it allows us to be cognitively evolved, to carry out work and practical issues and much more. If it weren’t for the mind, for example, you couldn’t even read this article nor could I write it. But the mind must remain an instrument, nothing more. The moment we let the mind take over and identify with our thoughts, getting sucked into them for all the time we have on this earth, then we have become its tool and all this makes us more unhappy than as you become aware and more exposed to stress and psychological problems, with all the physical and mental consequences that can derive from it for your life.
The here and now holds the key to liberation but cannot be recognized as long as one is identified with the mind. Awareness consists in rising above thought by becoming the observer, the impartial witness of the present moment. This is the power of the here and now.
The mind’s ability to observe and understand itself is called meta-cognition. According to Western psychology, it is precisely the meta-cognitive capacity that develops through the constant practice of meditation that makes it a useful technique for getting out of unconscious automatism and reducing states of tension, stress and suffering. In the meta-cognitive state, the thinking mind continues to be used when necessary, but in a much more focused and effective way than before. It is used above all for practical purposes, but one is free from involuntary internal dialogue, and there is stillness inside. In the following article, I discuss the topic and suggest how to live fully in the here and now:
Here are some simple tricks to stay in the here and now in a non-judgmental way:
1 – WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE PRESENT MOMENT?
In the state of presence there are no problems, both internal and external events just happen. The very definition of a problem is an abstract concept of the mind, a simple thought. More often than not, labeling a given situation as a problem has negative repercussions on attitude and only limits our possibilities for action. As we have already described before, the mind lives in the past or in the future and does not know the present moment, but sees it as a means to an end, or an obstacle to overcome or worse still an enemy. Get into the habit of observing the content of your thoughts several times during the day asking yourself, what is my relationship with the present moment? The decision to be a friend of the present moment is the end of your ego or unconscious thought and the birth of awareness and the power of the here and now.
2 – NEVER WAIT!
We humans have a habit that no other living thing has: waiting. We wait in line at the cash desk of a supermarket, we wait in the queue at the traffic lights, we wait for the passing bus, etc. As time passes, we are absorbed by thoughts that address a psychological, illusory time, which is why waiting is the same as saying no to the present moment. Recognizing this mental attitude when it occurs and returning to being in the present through the body and the senses, or observing, listening and perceiving with curiosity starting from my breath to the surrounding environment is equivalent to staying in the present and welcoming this moment with a great yes. !
3 – CHANGE YOUR HABIT OF BEING YOURSELF
It has been studied that the human mind produces an average of 50,000 to 80,000 thoughts per day. 90% of the thoughts we do during a day are the same as the previous day. And the previous one again. We endlessly recycle the same thought patterns to the point that they become inert material from which something new can hardly emerge. Not only. Due to a certain predilection of the mind to go fishing in the rotten most of these thoughts are of a “negative” nature. In translating what you observe into thought, reality is impoverished and distorted by unconscious filters. The illusory and artificial experiences created in the mind can never match the fullness and richness of the real world around you. You cannot always be a slave to the same mental patterns and expect your reality to change. Remember that what you direct your awareness upon becomes your reality. If you practice living in the present and no longer being a slave to the ego, this will have a strong impact on your emotional well-being but can also have an effect on your physical health. Practicing a non-judgmental presence has countless benefits in fact: It reduces stress, strengthens the immune system, reduces chronic pain, lowers blood pressure and helps patients to deal with serious illnesses. Aware people are happier and have healthier self-esteem.
4 – LISTEN TO YOURSELF, LISTEN TO THE OTHER – HERE AND NOW IN LOVE
When it comes to relationships, it is necessary to keep in mind both listening to the other and listening to oneself. The latter aspect is often underestimated. An example can facilitate our understanding. When we speak we emit a sound that reaches our interlocutor. For us it is certainly important that the listener is attentive. Yet I wonder: do we listen to our sound while we speak or do we let the voice out without paying attention to its characteristics (volume, timbre, presence, support, etc.)? If we begin to listen to each other while we communicate, we can change the quality of our relationship because this does not depend exclusively on the interlocutor, but also and above all on how much we are able to make the message understandable to the other. Knowledgeable people can hear negative feedback without feeling threatened, argue less with their partner, and are more accommodating and less defensive. As a result, conscious couples have more fulfilling relationships.
I leave you with a quote from the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle:
“Freedom begins when you realize that the thinking being is not you. The moment you begin to observe the thinking being, a higher level of awareness of the here and now is activated. Then you understand that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought and that the latter is only a minor aspect of it.”