‘The highest form of human intelligence is to be able to observe ourselves without judging ourselves.’
In every moment we have the opportunity to awaken . . . to let go of whatever fear, constriction and stories are running through our mind as we come fully into the present moment. And it is only in the present that we can experience happiness.
Since ancient times, people have used a wide variety of mindfulness techniques to cultivate this state of ever-present witnessing awareness. When we’re mindful, we observe our thoughts, emotions and sensations without judging them as good or bad. Our attention is active and our attitude is compassionate. We’re aware that we’re connected to the patterns of intelligence that weave the tapestry of the entire cosmos.
Mindfulness practice can be simple. You can come to the present moment by shifting your awareness to your breath, or you can bring your awareness to the sensations in your body. The way you move your body – sitting, walking, eating or any other activity – can be the object of your mindfulness. Once you find the method of mindfulness that suits you best, it becomes easy to access your silent witnessing presence.
By cultivating mindfulness, you begin to experience another level of mind, where silence dominates. From this state of mindful awareness blossoms a sense of wellbeing and a feeling that you are safe. When you embrace what is with your whole attention, you will be immersed in the fullness of the now.
Transform Your Relationship with Time
All of the happiness and fulfillment that human beings yearn for exists in the present moment. In the now, time ceases to exist and we experience a presence that is all-absorbing, completely at peace and totally satisfying.
Nothing could be closer than the present, yet nothing slips away faster. In an instant our mind can carry us far away into memories of the past or fantasies about the future. Or we may get caught up in a race against the clock, feeling like there’s never enough time. We say things like ‘time is flying’, ‘time is running out’ or ‘there are never enough hours in the day’
We can choose whether to make time an enemy or an ally. We can shift from time-bound awareness into timeless awareness . . . to the ecstasy that can only be found in the present moment. If you want to have all the time in the world, you can train yourself through the following simple practices.
As you set your intention to transform your relationship with time, remember that being present does not require effort; you can’t work to be present. The key is having a willingness to discover that aspect of yourself that is timeless.
Change Your Internal Dialogue
The way we talk to ourselves has a profound influence on how we perceive the world, how we feel and ultimately how the events of our lives unfold. Use affirmations that empower you and fill you with a sense of ease and wellbeing.
I have all the time in the world. I always have plenty of time.
This moment is exactly as it should be.
I follow my own rhythm and my mind is at peace.
Practice One-Pointed Awareness
Choose one mundane activity that you do every day, such as brushing your teeth, making the bed or washing the dishes. Instead of rushing, put your complete attention on this task. If your mind is impatient or prods you to move on to more “important” business, ignore it. Don’t judge yourself; simply return your attention to what’s in front of you right now. This simple daily practice of focusing your awareness on one activity can create a powerful ripple effect that will expand your experience of present moment awareness throughout the day.
Tune into Your Body’s Wisdom
While the mind tends to dwell in the past or in the future, the body lives in the moment and finds the greatest joy and satisfaction there. Like many people, you may have been trained to live “from the neck up,” using your intellect and mind while ignoring, distrusting or simply being unaware of the signals of your body.
- Begin by setting a phone or clock alarm for three times throughout the day – such as 9 a.m., noon and 5 p.m. Whenever the alarm sounds, take a few moments to check in with yourself. Close your eyes, put your hand on your heart, take a few deep breaths and then ask yourself, ‘What am I feeling and what do I need right now?’
- Wait for the answers to come to you. It might take some practice to identify your body’s messages, so be patient with yourself.
- Once you receive an answer, take some concrete step – no matter how small – to fulfill the need you have identified. It may be as simple as the need to get up from your desk and stretch your body, to go outside for a few moments and take a brisk walk or to call a friend.
As you practice checking in with yourself on a regular basis, you will connect more deeply with your body and may begin to identify greater needs. As you honor these needs, you will strengthen your relationship with yourself and experience the fullness and joy of present moment awareness.