Practice Being Here
The definition of mastering something is not achieving a certain goal, but instead learning to get better and better at something. When I think about what’s important in life I do a little exercise where I think of myself, many years from now in my final moments and ask, “What really mattered?” This is what I call “Present Nostalgia” from The Now Effect. Ultimately, what comes up for me is that being present to my life, whether it’s with my kids, my wife, my friends, my work, my emotions –both comfortable and uncomfortable –or just an aimless walk around the neighborhood. But not being present, or being mindless, is part and parcel of being human.
"Mindfulness is not about never being mindless, it's about learning to come back to an open-hearted and wise presence sooner and sooner."
When we talk about living a mindful life, the image isn’t this slow walking, conscious, eternally present being. It’s simply the intention to continue to come back to being present over and over again.
If we can do this without judgment, meaning setting aside any need to evaluate whether we’re doing a good or bad job of it, but instead just bring ourselves back to the intention of an open-hearted awareness, we’ll get better and better.
Try today to just set the intention to be present to whatever it is you’re intending to pay attention to. Whenever the mind goes off, just note where it went to and gently guide it back to what matters in the moment.
Perhaps you make the intentional choice to switch your attention to wherever it wandered off to because that has now presented itself as more important. That is fine to do as long as you don’t catch yourself doing that all throughout the day because that “Monkey Mind” could drive you bananas.
If you woke up in the morning and had the very simple intention of practicing presence, you may look back on your life years from now and say, “Wow, I was really there.”
What could be more important?
As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interactions create a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.