The present of being present

Today I conquered a major hurdle in my life. Well, several really. I woke up and made the decision that I would be present today, all day long– every hour, minute, and second of the day. This may sound easy, but how often do you think about your shopping list, or the lyrics to one of your favorite songs, or your homework for tomorrow? I bet when you really stop to think about it, you are only truly present for about 15 minutes of your day. Personally, my mind is constantly spinning a mile a minute… or more. I am always thinking 20 steps ahead; so I am never really pay attention to where I am or what I am doing. Not only is this difficult when people are talking to me or when I am trying to concentrate on something specific, but it also leads me to tripping down stairs and running into walls (I have the scars and bruises to prove it.) I used to think that I achieved more that way–that running through my vocabulary words while brushing my teeth and painting my toenails would somehow save me 5 extra minutes in my day. However, when you spread yourself so thin, you’re never actually experiencing your life. Today, I decided to conduct a personal experiment. I decided that anytime I caught my mind wandering off to think about literally anything that wasn’t in the here and now, I would say to myself “be present.” Initially, I had thought that I would only say it a few times throughout the day, but when I said it to myself about 100 times within the 30 minute meditation session, I knew it was going to be a rough day. Like a broken record, I kept coming back to my new mantra and, amazingly, as the day progressed, I found myself saying it less and less. The day proved prosperous indeed as I took in the lecture information and actually retained it instantly. No excessive studying required. Then I put together a flow sequence for tomorrow’s teaching in record time because I was completely in the moment. To top it all off, I achieved my first unassisted handstand… something I had never thought I could do. I conquered many fears with this one pose: the fear of falling, the fear that I am not strong enough, and the fear of making a fool of myself. As a child, I never did a single cart-wheel due to these fears, and yet, today one of the participants asked me if I was a gymnast when I was younger. It’s amazing how our own perceptions of our ability differs so greatly from what other people see. Being in the present allows you to see the world for what it really is and to see yourself for who you really are. Plus, it allows you to finally achieve a handstand (and then proceed to jump around the room in excitement for 2 minutes with a giant smile plastered on your face…. or is that just me?) Thanks for my present, presence.

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