“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
– Viktor E. Frankl
Reflecting back on the past, I know I’ve come a long way. Today, I feel much more at peace, guided, and supported by the flow of life.
I am happy.
Heck, even people around me seem to see that (happy vibes) shooting out of my face like laser beams. I was visiting my optometrist a few days ago and they said, “You look SO positive and optimistic!” Yay!
A few years ago, everything was different. I either lived in the past – worrying about what HAD happened; or I lived in the future – worrying what MIGHT happen. I was reactive, extremely explosive and unpredictable. I walked around with huge “Tread carefully. At your own risk!” vibes around me. Up-tight, worrisome, shallow breaths and all.
One of the greatest gifts I’ve been guided to is Presence.
And I’m stoked to be able to share my experience with you today.
My sister had a haircut a week ago, and after the whole experience she was extremely upset. And I could see her ego using this situation against her. She would complain about how awful her haircut was (it wasn’t at all – in fact, it was really nice), and she was so upset.
She asked me to sit down with her to hear her rant. Instead of participating in the rant-fest, I decided to be fully present and practice non-judgement. I listened to every word she had to say, at the same time breathing consciously and being present. Not judging her, her hairdresser, or anyone involved.
In a matter of minutes, her negative feelings dissolved at the lack of fuel.
Her ego retreated seeing that no more drama could be created from this.
And she actually said “My haircut is actually quite nice, isn’t it?”
I truly believe that being present is the best gift you can give anyone – as well as yourself.
Your next question: How do you be here now, practice Presence, and not drift off into the “Then” or the “Will Be” or some other space and time that isn’t real right now?
A Guide to Presence + Being Here Now
1. Conscious Breathing : Focus your attention and awareness on your breath.
Take a deep breath in, feel the air enter your nose and your belly expand. Then release the breath, feel the air flow out of your nose and feel your belly contract. Do this 2-3 times, more if possible – as long as you can. To me, conscious breathing is like instant meditation. It pulls me back to the here and now immediately no matter where my mind has drifted off to.
2. Be Aware : When you are aware and present, you can’t harbour any negative thoughts or react to these ill thoughts. It’s impossible to give your full undivided attention to your breath and where you are NOW, plus at the same time allow your mind to think, your ego to use thoughts against you, and your mind to react at these negative thoughts through negative emotions! Awareness and presence dissolves the ego.
3. Disconnect from technology. Reconnect to Now : When you’re in a conversation with someone, are you flicking through your phone, checking your email, texting someone else or merely tuning out into space? Perhaps you’re gazing into the telly while someone is talking to you? If so, why not be present?
Being present means listening with fully undivided attention + lack of judgement. This is really fun to do and experiment with because I’ve used this countless of times when someone else is in a space of being controlled by their ego – aka gossiping, angry, or complaining. Instead of allowing myself to participate (egos love the drama and gossip), and instead of jumping to add fuel to the fire, just be here now.
4. Think about this : If now is the only moment that is real, then the past doesn’t exist right now. Whatever it is that someone said or did back then doesn’t define who they are right now. That doesn’t mean everyone gets a free pass, or you should forget about everything someone did. It just means that you set yourself free from holding them in a space where you have to judge them based on what they have done in the past. And that ultimately benefits you the most. It means you can see them as who they are now, not what they have done, what they did, or what they will do to you in the future. Get it?
5. Meditation : You got it! The hype for meditation ain’t here for nothing. Whenever I’m feeling frustrated, stuck, or disconnected – I do a 10 minute guided meditation, and when I finish – I always feel transcended. I feel like whatever I’m feeling upset about is so small – so miniscule – in the greater scheme of life, of things, and of me. The experience is really indescribable so I guess you’ll have to try meditation out for yourself and let me know how you go! ;)
Today, pick one (or more) of the above. Practice presence. We as human beings in this world today often get bombarded with so much stimulation (in the form of caffeine, drama, To-Do Lists). The key isn’t about leaving the materialistic world behind and going off into a monastery. The key is to adapt effectively in this world.
The key is to find ways for you to be present even in the midst of this loud, stimulating, and perhaps even chaotic environment.
Peace & Be Happy,
P.S. The above five practices are extremely powerful. I really hope you integrate them and implement them into your life. I’ve seen them tried and tested, and they work 100% of the time.
Want to take it to the next level? Want to learn to be at peace + live free from judgement?