There are a million reasons to try and practice being present (vs thinking about the future or the past which is what we tend to do). In fact there is a brilliant Taoist saying that sums it up quite perfectly, “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” This past week as I was reading Vishen Lakhiani’s “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind”, it clicked like it’s never clicked before and it goes a little something like this.
The universe is constantly trying to communicate with us via nature, numbers, dreams and things as banal as Instagram posts you may come across. The messages are everywhere and if we were 100% in sync with the present moment (think sage/rishi status here), we’d be seeing ALL OF THEM and most likely struggling a lot less in our daily lives, in flow, perfectly guided through life and knowing what move to make next.
My badass wife is in India right now doing a 21 day ayurvedic cleanse. As she de-stressed, rested, detoxified, began surrendering and becoming present, she told me that she instantly began seeing signs everywhere. In our Vedic Meditation practice we are told to follow charm (by the way I love this because it’s just so damn simple. Something pops into your head and feels charming, follow it.) Anyways, she was reading a book and something kept telling her over and over again to take a walk to the local park, so she followed charm and took a walk. She got to the park and walked around. Nothing happened so with no attachment to the outcome (another thing we try and practice), she started heading back. Just as she was leaving the park she spotted a massive group of butterflies hovering about (OH HI SIGN!). When she looked into the symbolism of a butterfly (like numbers, animals that appear before you can also have a symbolic meaning) it read- “This animal totem is primarily associated with symbolism of change and transformation.” BOOM. Everything she is going through in India right now.
Personally this kind of “out of this world” stuff makes me feel better about life. It’s like after a bad day at work, when I’m able to tap into something bigger than my day at work, it brings me solace and makes my problems seem way smaller and more manageable. When there’s something “bigger” out there, everything else is kind of no big deal.
So back to staying present. We’ve all heard this a million times before and then we try and practice it and fuck, it’s hard. So what changed for me after reading Vishen’s book? It’s simple. If the Universe is constantly guiding us via signs that we can only see when we’re 100% present, well then, why would you ever want to be consumed in thought again? It’s like missing the big show. The whole point. Why twist and turn things around in your mind (damn monkey mind) when we can focus on being present and let all the answers come to us. And since the Universe (some might call this God) has been proven to be omnipresent, all knowing, and all powerful, how much better equipped is it to guide us than our tiny little monkey minds? GAME CHANGER. I’m never missing a show AGAIN! J
So, the next time your mind is all over the place, think about all the powerful signs and guidance you might be missing out on and use that to guide you back to the present, knowing that you will be all the better for it. Great ways to learn to become more present in your life can include a daily meditation and/or mindfulness practice (this puts you in those states daily and over time makes it a lot easier to be in those states more and more in waking life). And when all else fails, stop what you’re doing, close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths, slow everything down and reboot!
What are some ways that help you stay present?