Being human can feel pretty challenging sometimes. The posts in the Be Free category of this blog will be devoted to ideas, philosophies, and practices that support and cultivate the ability to experience existing with as much freedom as possible.
How much time do you spend in the present moment?
There is great freedom in the ability to be present to the moment you are in. Humans have a tendency to time travel, making attempts to predict the future or change the past. This results in a present moment experience not of awareness but of whatever the thought and associated feelings are of the past or potential future. While reflection provides an opportunity to process, find forgiveness, take responsibility, and learn lessons from past experience and future-oriented thoughts can be helpful or harmful depending on the nature of the thoughts and one's perception of what those thoughts mean about self, others, the world at large, etc.
The present moment is the only one in which lessons can be applied as wisdom. It is also the only moment in which one has the ability to impact the future. A great amount of freedom is available in deeply realizing this truth not as an idea but as a felt knowing. Of course, it is useful to do both, the key is to do so consciously, which can take some practice.
“The next message you need is always right where you are.” ― Ram Dass
"Simply, not easy" applies to a great many transformational undertakings. Use this and other practices with kindness and compassion. Know that every amount of effort is worthwhile.
Here is a practice that helps nurture my ability to be wherever I find myself that I really enjoy. Try it, you might like it too!
Choose a relatively short activity that you do regularly. For example: brush teeth, or wash hands.
Do ONLY that thing while it is happening. Experience the prompt at the level of your senses versus your thoughts about it. For example: "The water is cool" versus "I like/dislike the temperature of this water."
Notice the sensations as well as any resistance that may present itself in a nonjudgmental way.
Continue with your day.
**you can also set alarms on your phone and simply take a few breaths, noticing and naming how you're feeling nonjudgmentally. I like to leave myself little notes that make me smile on the alarm notes. :)
Over time, mindful awareness as a response to the chosen prompt will become automatic and a new prompt can be added and so on until eventually, mindfulness will become the predominant way of being and the present moment will be where you find yourself more often.
If you try this, let me know how it goes for you. What worked? What didn't? All the things.