What does being present mean to you?How in your life do you stay present?
To me, presence has two key components. Presence in mind and presence in body.You can be one or the other. Or you can be both. Being truly present means to be present and think present. It can be conscious or unconscious.
Presence in mind means that you are present in your thoughts. You aren’t thinking about a past event. You aren’t thinking about the future and what could happen. Your thoughts are here and now engulfed in each and every moment as it passes you by.
Presence in body is different. Presence in body means that you are present in your actions.This is a bit tougher to achieve.
I remember when I first started out doing self work. I would be present in my thoughts or have nothing going up there at all, but I was still not being present!I came to realize that presence doesn’t just mean being present in mind, but that presence also requires presence in body.
From the time that we are born until the present day, we have acquired our own belief systems, habits, self-identity, self-talk, pain, and triggers. Whether or not we realize that we have. It doesn’t take a traumatic incident in your life in order to acquire these things.
Any time you react to a trigger or situation in your life, in any single moment, based upon the past (or even the future) you’re not present in that moment. Your mind may not be full of chatter, but your subconscious sure is.This comes to be more unconscious than conscious, but you CAN become conscious of it.
If you experienced something in your life that validated your thought process of yourself in such a way that you had low self esteem, any time you meet new people, you could unconsciously (or consciously unconsciously) be less open towards that person. You may not initiate a conversation, assuming that they probably don’t want to talk to you anyways. Greeting people or saying goodbye to people (before they do it to you) would be another way it could come out in this scenario.This doesn’t have to show up every time. Just some of the time.
How about fear of failure?You might end up starting something, but not finishing it. You might procrastinate. Or you may not even take action towards doing something that you want to do. Again, this doesn’t have to be all of the time either.
We unconsciously come to conclusions and make assumptions based on a past that is already gone. Past pain. Past hurt.
You may not be thinking about how, last week, Susie Q decided that she would put the blame on you for something (bad) that she did, and then decide to ruin your whole day by repeating the scenario in your head to yourself over and over again until you have successfully made yourself miserable. But the moment that you think that you either could face a similar situation before any “evidence” (therefore being in the future and the past) or think that you are facing a similar situation and see “evidence” (therefore being in the past) and decide to remove yourself from the situation or make accusations, you’ve lost your presence. You are now acting based off of the past.
How about, what if your parent(s) always react to you in a certain way sometimes, in certain circumstances. Let’s say that any time you mention your dream of being a professional football player, they always bring you down. This is your thought process about them. That they always act this way towards you. Would you withhold something you want to say to them or show them because if you say it they “will” react in this certain way?Does this show that you’re being present?Your parents may have acted a certain way towards you in the past, but wouldn’t being present in this way mean that you would still say or do what you wanted to, because each new moment is fresh, brand new?Anything can happen. So why can’t they maybe react differently than they have in the past?You withheld something that you did not want to withhold, based off the past. Not so present if I do say so myself!
If presence is something that you are trying to achieve, be present in your thoughts and in your body. How to go about doing this depends on how consciously you’re living. Full presence is achieved through both avenues. Not just one or the other.
If you’re brand new at this. Start by trying to recognize your thoughts when you are having them. Once you have this, you can recognize when your thoughts are present or not. Be mindful of your actions. How are you reacting to other people and your surroundings?What do your actions or inactions tell you about how present you are?Becoming conscious of that which typically happens unconsciously is the first step.Once you recognize it, bring yourself back to the present moment.
The past and the future are illusions. Nothing exists except the here and now.