Never has being present, in the moment, been more important to the preservation of our mental health than NOW!
We are all trapped in a limbo of uncertainty, that at the moment has no end in sight. This amount of uncertainty breeds fear, anger and conspiracy theories! With our future changing on daily basis sometimes several times throughout the day, how do we ground ourselves when everything around is changing.
Sounds gloomy, but in actual fact we never had control of anything other than our thoughts, our behaviours and the present moment anyway. The pandemic has highlighted this but it has always been the case.
Everything is constantly changing and fluid, the only thing that is certain is now. Typing this blog right now is certain! Who knows what will happen when i finished typing it or even if i will finish typing it. This presumption and projection into the future is very often our downfall!
Instead of just focusing on the task at hand we are projecting and reminiscing left, right and centre, completely missing the now moment and causing ourselves unnecessary distress and worry.
"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate your mind on the present moment" Buddha.
Have you ever been in full conversation with someone and find yourself thinking about something completely separate to the conversation, which will involve the past or the future? This is because our minds are so busy all of the time it is very hard to focus our whole attention onto just one thing.
The myth of multi-tasking is just that, a myth. How can you truly do a job to the best of your ability if you are doing several jobs at the same time? Somethings got to give, so all the jobs are done at maybe 60% effort rather than 100% effort and very often have to be done again as they are incorrect or not up to scratch. Why were we taught that being able to multi-task is an admirable quality? Actually it shows an inability to focus and an undisciplined, probably chaotic mind.
Trying to solve too many problems or do to many things at the same time will only lead to anxiety and raised stress levels. The only way to be the most effective version of yourself, is to do one thing at a time with full concentration and focus.
This sounds easy, it isn't!!!
The mind likes to wander and fantasise! The mind likes to think about the past, which if not perfect, can cause regret and depression. How many people do you know that have absolutely no regrets in life? Not many, which is why depression is so high in our current society. The mind also likes to take you into the future causing worry and anxiety. We worry about how something may turn out when in actual fact, we only have limited control over this if any. Both depression and anxiety can not only cause severe mental health problems but also affect the physical body, causing an array of illnesses.
So being in the moment is not only good for the practical aspects of life, it will also keep you physically and mentally well.
"i think therefore i am", Descartes
I allowed myself to be identified by my thoughts ,which very often led to a bruised or inflated ego. I now recognise that my thoughts are just that thoughts, not defining, certain truths, just passing moments that can change as quickly as the wind.
Beyond the craziness of my mind, beyond the constant chatter, is the stillness that allows me to unlock the true essence of who i am. It allows clarity of thought, the freedom of creativity and an deep understanding of who and what my purpose is in life!
How do we do this?
Through consistent, simple breath meditation, that will allow us to control our thoughts and to stay present in the moment of what we are doing, rather than allowing our mind to runaway with us.
In order to take back control of your mind you just need to meditate 10 minutes a day twice a day to start off with.
When you wake in the morning, give yourself time to wake up properly and the mind to start to get going. Then sit comfortably, upright and focus your attention on your breathe. The inhale and exhale and the rise and fall of your body. As your mind starts to wander, which it will, recognise this and gently bring the attention back to the breathe. The mind can sometimes wander constantly throughout the meditation and this is normal. It's like training a muscle or disciplining a child, eventually they will concede and follow the rules, as long as you are consistent.
Alongside consistent meditation there are many books i can recommend to help you understand the benefits of being in the NOW and meditation.
The first book i read relating to this was THE POWER OF NOW, by Ekhart Tolle. This book completely changed my perspective on life, living and myself! A must read!!
GETTING UNSTUCK, by Pema Chodron, is also a fantastic read. Pema, is a Buddhist nun based in Nebraska and has lived a colourful life that allows her to fully demonstrate the power of meditation and being present.
THINK LIKE A MONK, by Jay Shetty, i refer to this book a great deal and use this book extensively to introduce mediation, gratitude and journaling practices. Easy to understand and very practical.
There are so many books i have read over the years, that have guided me and helped me grow both spiritually and as a person.
If you would like any further recommendations then please don't hesitate to contact me.