This post helps you learn how to live in the present and understand what it means. As an outcome, you become free from worries that relate to the past or future. It then becomes easy to bring presence and peace into your life.
What is the present?
The present describes an open space where everything takes place. In short, it’s a point free of time. This expanse is where past and future events happen. As you gain insight into what the present is, you become less attached to thoughts and worries.
Life unfolds now, in the present moment. To explain this, consider your story so far. Invite a recent memory, or moment of history, to your mind’s eye. Did it last forever, or did changes occur? You soon realise that the course of time governs everything. This law is the reason each event has a beginning, middle, and end. These occurrences appear in the eternal now. No matter what happens, nothing affects or changes it.
To sense the present, look into your past actions, and when they took place. Have you ever done, felt, or experienced anything that didn’t arise in the present? When you remember the past, a memory trace activates in your brain. Such means of recalling memories happen here, in the present. Does your mind picture future scenes, outcomes, or worries? If such events occur, they happen in the now. On balance, you sense the past and future as mental content unfolding in the present.
Your mind always moves in the immediate moment – no matter what its contents are. As you meditate on this truth, know that the past and future cannot exist by themselves. These motions are thoughts unfolding within the here and now. You can picture this by looking at the moon during a cloudless sky. The moon is visible because it reflects the sun’s light. In a similar manner, you see thoughts and emotions through the light of your presence. They cannot take shape without the timeless now. Once you accept this truth, the mind’s fears, worries and pain subside.
How does your mind think of the past, present, and future?
Your mind thinks of the past, present and future by using a range of thoughts, emotions, and images. Once you grasp this truth, you allow your mind’s content rather than fight against it. In doing so, you grow present and aware of its movements.
The information your brain holds is vital for you to live, learn, plan, and perform tasks. This vault includes memories of past events and viable future scenes that may be useful. Your mind holds most of this content as both images and words. To learn this, note how thoughts in your mind relate to the past, present, or future. It’s important to realise that these are regular functions of the brain. None of these intend to harm your wellbeing. Throughout life, referring to the past and future is often crucial. This action allows you to learn, plan, and perform tasks.
There’s nothing wrong with considering memories or future visions. These serve as a source of both entertainment, insight and creativity. The brain acts in this manner because its chief duty is to help you live, survive, and fulfil your purpose. Thoughts only turn into a problem when they become imbalanced. Here, they take various forms of guilt, fear, pain, confusion, and regret. In these states of mind, you often rebel against thoughts concerning the past or future. This inner revolt stops your brain from carrying out its tasks and purposes. Once you’re aware of such motion, you can use memories and future visions with wisdom.
In summary, don’t aim to stop your mind from pondering over past or future thoughts. Such an act goes against your brain’s purpose to think and help you survive. Instead, allow your mind to move as it chooses while being present and aware of its movements.
How do you practice being present?
You practice being present by narrowing your focus to something happening now. When you learn how this method works, your awareness grows strong, and painful thinking patterns dissolve.
The easiest method to be present is to notice when you feel overcome by thoughts of the past and future. Once you see this happening, return attention to the present moment. For example, if you witness your mind drifting toward worries or guilt, you bring focus to the task at hand. This method takes attention away from your mind and makes sure you don’t get caught in its motion.
The practice of being present trains you to watch the mind’s movements. After a month, your power to be aware becomes strong, and you can stop the practice. This step is vital because painful thoughts only dissolve when you let go of your efforts to escape them. You cannot find lasting peace through means of diverting attention. These methods train your awareness, but beyond that, they become a hindrance if you use them for too long. Once you’re able to detect your mind’s movements, it’s time to stop the practice of being present.
One of the most potent pointers is to ‘stay in the moment’ in your path toward inner balance. Despite this, you shouldn’t view this teaching as a reason to silence thoughts or block out an action. Be alert to this error because it can happen without you realising it. Remember that staying with the moment means being aware of your mind’s struggle. It doesn’t mean that you push yourself to get rid of it. This insight helps your awareness grow strong. From here, release the practice of staying in the present. Allow its effects to flow through your life. This open state dissolves painful thinking patterns without your effort.
What do you do if the present moment is unpleasant or painful?
If the present moment is unpleasant, accept and allow it to be. This acceptance opens your mind to solutions and means to respond in a balanced fashion. The same course applies to how you manage your thoughts and emotions.
In the event of a problem, your mind often judges the scene, its content, and the people involved. These actions result in further pain, grief, and non-acceptance. When you find yourself in a dispute, see how your mind labels it. Are you judging the event or a person responsible? If so, explore the reasons you think in this manner. In doing so, you remove yourself from your mind’s defence patterns. Here, you bring forth a state of connection and presence. You then meet the witnessing space that’s unaffected by the past or future. This presence brings forth balanced change without judging others or creating more pain and grief.
The practice of accepting the present moment can appear meek and dangerous at first. It’s easy to mistake this for doing nothing when the scene calls for action. This episode of fear is normal when you start training your mind to be present and aware. Allow yourself to sense the urge to act and witness the emotions behind it. By doing this, you invite presence into your mind and decisions. The events that bring forth suffering then become doorways to the now. From here, the actions you need to take become clear. This knowledge comes from the infinite, open space of life. Move through your fears of being present to access it.
On balance, when you allow everything to be, your mind grows aware without effort. In this state, you accept the present moment and let rational action follow. This sequence applies to how you handle your mind, thoughts, emotions, and life.
What happens when you become present and aware of the mind?
When you become present and aware of the mind, you allow its inner space to clear. Here, anything that doesn’t align with life’s wholeness leaves you. In your mind’s case, its pain, anxiety and guilt exhaust and leave. It’s important to know what to expect as you embark on this course. That way, you can allow inner balance and peace to happen with ease.
Thoughts get their fuel from your actions and struggle against them. This cycle is hard to break free from because thoughts want you to engage with them to survive. They know that the act of being present poses a threat to them. To explain this, imagine an animal that faces a threat to its survival. On most occasions, it will react with aggression and violence. Strong patterns of thought often respond the same way when you fight with them. They realise it’s not possible to survive in your presence. Witness this pattern of thoughts trying to oppose the state of allowing by fighting against it. By doing this, you break free from fuelling their actions.
As you allow your mind to clear, you will witness contrasts of bliss and mental turmoil. This eruption occurs because nothing is stopping your suppressed emotions from releasing. These include past pain and future fears. When instances of suffering, doubt, negative thoughts and contrasts arise in your mind, leave them be. Soon, they clear because you no longer fuel them.
With all things considered, the cycle of suffering breaks as you stop fighting your mind. This pointer means to let thoughts arise without trying to solve them. When you accept your thoughts this way, anxiety and pain exhaust. This space of allowing your mind its free movement is the goal of being present. The result is inner peace and balance.
In a state of presence, can you still learn, live a full life and pursue goals?
In a state of presence, you live a balanced, full, and enjoyable life. This way of living allows you to pursue and achieve goals that align with your wellbeing. It’s easy to mistake this mindset for a condition where thoughts of the past and future don’t arise. Misunderstandings such as this are common. Your mind will always ponder over the past and future – no matter how enlightened it becomes. However, in a balanced, present state, such thoughts don’t govern your actions. Here, you connect with life’s greater wisdom that lies beneath your thoughts. This alignment allows you to live a life of balance and joy.
As your mind settles into a state of presence, you can use its thoughts to reflect, plan, forecast, and set goals. In this position, you don’t aim to stop your mind from thinking or trying to be ‘present’. When you allow your mind’s movement this way, a free flow of ideas and solutions arise. On this occasion, thoughts of the past and future arise but contain the wisdom of the present moment – rather than your old conditioning. From this point onward, the weight of earlier mistakes has no bearing on your future actions. On balance, this state of presence is where you’re free from any mental burden.
To illustrate a state of presence, look up into the sky during daylight. You will see clouds come and go within your line of sight. These clouds mimic thoughts as they take shape and pass. The sky where they occur is an infinite, present space. In short, this vastness is your true self. Here, you know your exact goals in life and a precise vision to reach them. It feels as though you’re reborn on a clean slate with a new platform for living a balanced life.