Stop. There. You’re live in the moment.
Feel it? Are you live in the moment?
That’s ok, by the end of this short article you’ll have what it takes to feel the present moment. This bite sized chunk of goodness will take you one minute to learn and a lifetime to play with. It will be awesome, and you’ll no doubt begin to understand what all they hype surrounding mindfulness is all about, or aboot if your Canadian hehe, I kid, I kid.
Why Living in the Moment is Crucial to Happiness
I’ve written about this many times before on this blog, but the key takeaway is that we live most of our lives in the past or the future. We are seldom experience life as it happens. That’s the way we live, and it’s robbing us of our most cherished of all things, time.
Time is one thing that we can never get back. We can always get more money, or another car, or another job, but we can never get back the time. We can’t make more of it, and our lives are on a clock, and one that seems to go faster and faster as time goes on. We need to learn to live in the moment.
Seriously, look at your life. How much time has already gone by. How old are you? I say this not to depress you, but to give you pause and wake you up. From this moment on, you will experience the life, your life, as you may have only gotten glimpses of before.
Don’t believe me? Read on.
Your Inner Troll Won’t Shut Up
That’s right, I just said troll, because that’s who inhabits our heads. It’s the voice you hear all day long telling you the most stupid and ridiculous crap you can imagine. Just stop reading this right now and stare at a wall. Then, notice what you are hearing in your own mind.
I have no idea what it’s saying, cause that’s personal and I can’t read your mind right now, but I bet money that it’s telling you a repetitive loop. I’d put Trump’s ill-gotten money on the fact that you’ve heard this stuff in your mind before. It loops and loops and loops and loops. Like a broken record, or a streaming music file that keeps restarting over and over again.
It’s time to notice the troll, and see what it’s doing to you. You don’t have to call it the troll if you don’t want to, that’s up to you. Give it a name though, because it’s not you. I’ll repeat that, it’s NOT you. It’s just like a troll on the internet. It never stops spewing distracting and mostly useless stuff… all to get noticed.
The Witness Consciousness
If the voice in your head is you, then who is hearing it? Hmmm? Riddle me that Batman!
You could say it’s just you, but then who is it that’s just you? Who is it that looks out your eyes? Who is it that hears birds sing, or planes fly in the air, or water drops hitting a fountain? Who is it that tastes chocolate, or feels a fresh spring breeze? Is it the voice in your head?
Do you really think that troll is capable of experiencing anything while it’s busy commenting on everything? Do you think it can both comment, label, judge, AND experience the thing it’s obsessing over? No, there’s something else in the background that is aware of the troll but just sits there observing it. Find who that is and you find the answer to everything.
How to Find the Witness
Ha! How then, EverlastingKnowitall, do we find this so-called “witness?” It starts with the breath. Just calm yourself down by sitting down using 7-11 breathing, or breathing out slower than you breathe in. Slow down your breathing. This will relax your tense little boo-tay.
Then, notice your thinking. You need to know what your mind is doing. You need to experience the troll first hand. You need to get a grasp on what this voice is doing to you. Watch as the thoughts come up, followed by the commentary. Feel what these thoughts do to your mood. You’ll be amazed at how much control this troll has on your moods.
As you slow down, and practice noticing your thoughts, begin to keep your attention on your breathing. We use breathing because it’s something that we always do. It’s always with you, so it’s something you can always notice. It’s also something that moves in a rhythm, so it’s easy to follow.
When you try to follow your breath, you’ll be interrupted by the troll. Don’t get angry at the troll, it’s his job. You don’t get angry at a 2 year old for doing crazy things, right? It’s their nature, they don’t know any better. Instead, just thank the troll for her/his input, and go back to your noticing your breathing.
The Space Between
While this was a cool Dave Matthews song back in the day, it’s not what I’m talking about here. The space between, in this case, is the space between thoughts. In the beginning of your practice, this space is really tight, cause the troll is always throwing up new things in front of your consciousness. In time though, as long as you practice, the space will appear to grow. You will see a silence there. You’ll begin to live in the moment.
That silence is the key to everything. That’s where the witness lives. It feels like a void. It’s emptiness, and yet, it’s full of everything. That’s where you ultimately want to go. That’s where your answers are.
How Does the Present Moment Tie Into All of This?
Ah, the reason you clicked through to this article. Here it is. Ready?
The present moment is life, your life, as it’s happening. The troll doesn’t like this space, because she/he can’t live in the moment. The troll takes you out of the present moment, out of experiencing and into judging, or comparing something in the moment to something in the past, or telling you to worry about something, which is always future. Get it?
The troll is a time traveler, it’s a flux capacitor, it’s a TARDIS. It pulls you out of experiencing the present moment as it is and yanks you into the past (regret) or the future (worry/fantasy). It’s job is to keep you safe, but it goes way overboard. Trust me on this, the more you practice, the more you’ll see this for yourself and the more you’ll live in the moment.
Practice Makes Perfect
There are lots of different techniques that can help you. This blog is full of them. There are great and inexpensive courses like this one on Udemy that I really like and you should check out. There are books, magazines, other websites, centers, churches, classes, etc… They will all show you different techniques, but the simplest is the one I just described in this article.
That is mindfulness in it’s simplest form. That’s the basics of it all, and if you just practice slowing down and watching your breath, while noticing your thoughts, and more importantly, the space between, you’ll go a long way toward becoming mindful more often than not.
If you do this right now, you will find the present moment, right now.
If you really want more information above and beyond what is on this blog, I invite you to join the mailing list here and get the free Instant Mindfulness ebook. This is where I really get into things, and it’s entertaining too, I think lol. Just use a real email address, cause it’s confirmed opt-in for ethical reasons, meaning, fake email addys don’t work.