Living More AuthenticallyMore Everyday Joy

The Big Glorious Power of Now

By May 28, 2009 2 Comments

Hi blog readers! Over the next several days I’ll be posting a series of pieces about presence, living in the present, connecting with the now-ness of reality. Here is part 1.
In our culture of extreme multi-tasking, in our new reality of living from beep to buzz to ring, most of us fail to live with presence—to bring our full selves to what we are doing in any given moment.
Though it is fashionable to do so, we can’t really blame technology, or “society” for this, because it is our own human tendency to leave the present moment that created both. We have an inner impulse to leave the intimacy and intensity of the present moment, and that impulse has given rise to our norms of multi-tasking and over-scheduling, and to all those gadgets that keep us connected but distracted, that keep us in the shallows of life. It is that tendency in all its manifestations — new and old- that we need to work with.
For me, presence can be summed up in the following questions:
When you walk into a room, how much of you is actually there?
How many of your thoughts relate to what is happening at that very moment— and how many are on a field trip to another time and place?
Are your emotions related to what is happening before you — or are you carrying emotional baggage from other parts of the day, the week, or a lifetime?
Imagine a mind-body-heart scanner measuring your level of present-ness as you walk into work on the average day, or sit down to dinner with your family. What would it show?
On my own personal path, connecting to the present has been one the most difficult and richest areas of growth.
I am deeply future-oriented and ideal-oriented. My impulse is to long for and create the bigger, the greater, the next, the new. This gives me some of my greatest strengths: entrepreneurship, creativity, vision. It enables me to embrace change. I dream up great family vacations and delight in all the planning and research. I develop new ideas, structures and initiatives at work. I craft beautiful birthday gatherings and gifts for friends. I happily set out in creating the next great place for my family to live, plotting a career change, or writing a book.
All of these activities have positive elements and earn various kinds of rewards in the world, and yet, undoubtedly, in all of those activities, there is a part of me that is driven by a desire to escape the present. I feel pulled to leave the present moment in all its intensity, in all its challenge, in all its fullness and emptiness. There is, standing so closely next to the creator in me that I can barely tell them apart, another part of me. That part wants to plan things rather than live things. It wants to work with what’s in my fantasy, not with the messy reality in front of me.
Because that’s me, for the first ten years of my conscious spiritual growth work, I was knowingly ignorant of (and yet also averse to) this whole concept of “the present.” I just didn’t get it. “The present” kept popping up in spiritual literature everywhere: it seemed really important! But what were they talking about? It totally eluded me.
At the same time, I sensed enough about the whole “present” thing to know: I didn’t want to go there. Spiritual literature that focused on moving closer to or connecting with an ideal — great love, great compassion, ultimate forgiveness, enlightenment….that was the stuff that I was interested in. That was exciting. I was not interested in sitting there with the boring present.
But slowly, something shifted. I could see I was limited in life by this habit of being…elsewhere. I mean, even I found it little bit odd when I found myself planning the next vacation while we are on the one I just finished planning. Should I really be shopping for flights to Santa Fe from the lanai in Hawaii? I could see there was something strange when I couldn’t enjoy the film at film festival we were at, because I was focused on calculating how we could fit more of them into the next two weeks. It was disconcerting to spend days really looking forward to some fun activity, and then find myself distracted and checked out when actually doing it.
I began to notice it often felt easy (though icky) to worry about the week ahead and difficult to truly unwind and connect with my husband on a Sunday evening. It felt easier to clean up in the kitchen and focus on the tasks then really be present to our dinner guests. It often felt impossible to sit quietly, be with my body in exercise or simple awareness, or to show up authentically with another human being, or with myself. In short, when I was checked out, it was a lot easier to stay there than to come back to the present, or so it seemed. And yet that checked out state was lonely and painful.
I think that many of us operate in a state of non-presence like this, as we go about texting, emailing, directing and watching mental movies, and otherwise creating busy-ness to fill our lives. The worst part is, it is a downward spiral. The more disconnected we become from self, the more we do that further disconnects us, and the more we lose grasp on the tools and calm that enable us to reconnect.
Over time, I started to notice: Life doesn’t happen in the place I go in my head. Life happens in the present. All of the good stuff — the joy, the supportive love of the universe, the experience of miracles, real connection, it all happens in the present. It is only available in the present. As I grew spiritually, I understood that everything I wanted to be and have in my life depended on living more in the present moment. I found that everything I wanted: peace, abundance, love, truth—not the concepts but the experiences—could only be found and felt in the present.
In my experience, a fundamental aspect of the life force, of the cosmos, is its now-ness. It is that mysterious quality of now-ness, one that we take for granted, one that is difficult for our consciousness to even grasp, that we need to reconnect to, again and again. Now-ness links us with possibility. Now-ness is the foundation for choice and action. Now-ness is something we can always come home to get grounded. Now-ness brings us back to the fundamental truth — so calming, so thrilling, so challenging: we are here, we exist.
So I want to learn how to be there in the present, attuned to now-ness. I want ways to get back there. I want ways to remember the very concept of the present, which I can lose for days or weeks at a time.
The concept of presence is still elusive to me, slippery, hard to access. It’s a stretch concept for me. These posts will hopefully be resource for you but also a tool for me to explore and better define my own relationship for presence. It will also, hopefully, give you some helpful ideas and options — realistic ways to bring presence into busy workplaces, families and lives.
If you have recognized or are beginning to sense that you are rarely fully present to those you love, to your work, to yourself, or even to the leisure activities you most enjoy, don’t beat yourself up. You have a lot of internal and external forces working against you, you are not alone, and these posts will show you lots of ways to make different choices.

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  • しかし、我々 はすべてしない一般的給与を作る同じmsない多くのハードウェアが十をする態度。女子のお気に入りのバッグ、しかしそれまた、恋人の必需品。リスト最も人気のある広告服のデザインその

  • Gail Miller says:

    Thanks for this NOW blog. You’re spot on with your comments about how we miss so much by not being totally present and aware of what’s happening ‘now.’ I know that God/Universe is trying to imprint this message in my brain, because everyone I’m learning from at the moment is telling me the same thing. As I’m living by being present more consciously, it’s becoming an important part of my life because it’s enriching my relationships with others and reducing some of my work stress. I find that I’m not in such a hurry to rush off from the dinner table, but rather, I’m enjoying the conversations that ensue.
    The work on my home office desk will wait and when I’m attending to that, I can be fully focussed on the present and give that my proper attention.
    Thanks for a very relevant post.

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