Updated January 31, 2014
With meditation, you can access the power of being present. Do you have a memory of a moment when you experienced your life more fully, more deeply, more vividly? A moment when suddenly something came into complete focus. You weren’t planning the future or running over the past. You were keenly aware of that very instant. You saw your body as part of the environment and felt what your body felt and what your mind thought. It was a profoundly real experience. Then, just as quickly as the moment happened, the details of life rushed back in and the moment passed. You may try to recapture that state again, but find it difficult.
How to Practice Being Present:
So how can you be more present? When you listen to the silence that is always present it brings you into the ‘now’. When you give yourself deeply to meditation, you become more attentive to the present moment. And, when you are no longer seeking and grasping for something that lies outside of your own experience, you will find yourself being present.
Here are some insights and techniques that will help you in being present.
Listening to silence is one of the simplest ways to become present. All you have to do is pay attention to the silence that exists around you now. Even if it is noisy, there is always silence behind the sounds. Look out for it. Listen to it. Don’t judge or label it – merely feel its presence. Also pay attention to new sounds that pop up. Without labeling the sounds, simply ask: Where did they come from? Where do they go to once you stop hearing them?
All sounds come from silence, and all disappear back into silence. By paying attention to the silence behind the sounds, you will become present.
Present moment awareness is being present with your own consciousness, in the living moment called now. Not ‘a second ago’, or ‘in a second’. Now. You are alive, and you acknowledge that. You are breathing, and you acknowledge that. You are aware of yourself right now without the distraction of past and future thoughts or emotional discomfort. And with that kind of stillness you notice things you may not have noticed from a distracted frame of mind.
It is this aspect of meditation that changes your life based on the simple fact that clarity of mind leads to better choices… something that everyone can benefit from.
Meditation is the art of cultivating present moment awareness. And it must be cultivated by committing to one of the sitting-based meditation practices that allow for deep stillness to be experienced. The more you practice over time, the more you learn to sustain present moment awareness, and the more you naturally bring that stillness and presence of mind into your daily life.
From Beyond Karma:
This is it. There is no more. If you can be present, it’s the whole ball game. The immediacy of life in the present precedes the mind and all concepts.
It’s hard for the mind to understand what being present is because the mind is never present. Yet, we do have moments of presence, when we are awed by beauty or those times when we are in flow.
You will find being present is ordinary. Don’t expect the extra-ordinary; that will take your right out of presence. Don’t expect some sort of psychedelic or out-worldly spiritual experience. And yet, with continued presence, there is a shift. The extra-ordinary is contained in the spaciousness of the ordinary.
Try it. It is not an effortful presence. The ego is capable of creating a mental space of presence, and you can tell because ego-presence feels effortful, artificial and dull. That’s not presence. That’s trying hard to be present.
We are already always present, so it’s little misleading to say “be present.” What we mean by “be present” is really to be Awareness, absent of the constant lurching for the next moment, the grasping, or the becoming.
Read the full article here for step by step instructions on being present.