We tend to live with such a speed, concerned about the future and entangled in the past that we let our life go by without being aware of it. It almost seems like we live on auto pilot. Then we wonder why we are so stressed, tired and burned out.
Art of well-being starts with being present – living here and now. You might wonder how to achieve it? Simply shift your attention to the present moment. Easier said than done you might say… well, not really. It’s very easy once you know how to go about it. I purposely don’t use the word ’’do it’’ because how can you do being?
There are few doorways to the present moment: body, emotions and thoughts and few techniques allowing you to be present: meditation, mindfulness and awareness of your body, thoughts and feelings.
You are a field of energy constantly changing and renewing itself.
Your whole entire body goes through the process of total renewal in a year’s time. There’s constant exchange of atoms happening in your magnificent body, old cells are dying and new are being born on daily basis! Your bone structure and organs, muscles, tissues and the tiniest cells keep changing. If you find yourself fighting with changes and resisting them, you are fighting with paper tigers. It’s impossible not to change, so you might as well stop resisting and accept that it is happening anyway.
Ok, so how to connect with the body? The easiest way is trough breath. Start breathing mechanically for few moments and observe what happens…
Here are more ways how you can practice body awareness:
Sit with your back straight and your feel firmly touching the floor. Close your eyes.
1. Feel small roots growing from the soles of your feet and anchoring you deeply in the ground. Bring your awareness to your toes, feel them. Then continue feeling your ankles, calves, knees, thighs, pelvis, abdomen and stomach, feel your chest, back, spine, shoulders, arms, hands, fingers and then your neck, face (jaw, tongue, mouth, cheeks, eyes, nose, forehead, etc.) and your head (scalp, back of head).
Notice what happens in the particular part of your body when you bring your awareness to it. If you feel any tension or knot in your body start breathing deeply and direct your breath to that place, oxygenating and relaxing it with your breath and intention.
2. You might also bring golden light trough top of your head and let it spread through your body in reverse order (from head down). As the light enters parts of your body they soften and relax. Pay attention to each and every part of your body.
(Another option is to bring earth energy trough roots form underneath your feet and spread it upwards).
3. Bring your awareness to breath and imagine that you discharge old and used molecules and cells and with the out breath they are living your body. When you inhale new particles are coming to your body bringing it new energy and vitality.
Continue this visualization for few moments.
Take few deep breaths in and gently wiggle your toes and fingers. You might stretch and open your eyes when you’re ready.
Quick note: You can use process 1, 2 and 3 separately or together. I use the second one as a relaxation before my meditation practice.
Another symptom of life on auto pilot is feeling that time is flying. Have you ever wondered where did the whole day go? When your body is here and now and your mind is either in the past or in the future you are not aware and time passes much quicker. Also your consciousness is split and it takes huge amount of energy to function that way so no wonder that you might exhausted after a whole day of doing nothing.
You can change that by practicing mindfulness. It’s a technique in which you are fully present in each moment and you experience it with all your senses. When you for example wash the dishes become aware of water running and touching your skin. Be aware of shapes and sizes of the dishes, their colours and texture. Become aware of the smell of the washing liquid etc. Use this technique with as many activities you do throughout the day as possible. The more you practice the easier it gets!
Every morning when you wake up and open your eyes really look around. Take few moments to notice everything around you. Check how you feel. Become aware of your body. Slow down with your thoughts. This is another way of shifting your awareness to NOW.
Expanded version of observation engaging all you sense is Hawaiian technique called ’’being here’’:
1. Look around you and become aware of all colours. Following this particular order notice all the whites, the reds, the oranges, the yellows, the greens, the blues, the violets, and finally the blacks. Then notice all the straight lines and then all the curved ones. Finally become aware of shapes of objects and see how they relate to each other in space.
2. Become aware of all sounds you can hear. First pay attention to high ones, then to low ones. Notice that you can hear and distinguish more and more sounds, even those you couldn’t hear just few moments ago. Next listen to one sound, then pick and add more and more of them so they create the whole ’’symphony’’ of sounds.
3. Now engage your touch. Feel the shapes and textures of the objects around you, their difference in temperature, their flexibility and weight.
4. Play with those tree senses: seeing, hearing and touching for some time and if you want include smelling and tasting to your experience as well.
If you found that exercise easy and enjoyable it is because you are used to being present. If you found it boring and daunting it means being in now is not the ’’place’’ where you normally reside. In both cases I encourage you to practice mindfulness and other techniques described above on regular basis.
More on other techniques and ways of being in now soon!
Enjoy living in the now and let me know how you are getting on!
Love & blessings
Photo credit: h.koppdelaney