Staying Present

How often do we allow the past to interfere with the present. Something that happened two days, two years or twenty years ago continues to play over & over in our mind. We think about it frequently. We stay stuck in negative thought patterns. It haunts us. Without realizing it, we give away our power and we suffer.

This is particularly true in relationships.  Something our partner did upsets us. It’s in the back of our mind. Whenever we get into an argument, we throw it at them. We can’t let it go. We resent them. Sometimes it even involves something our partner did before we met them.

The same holds true for the future.  Quite often, we find ourselves worrying about something in our future, perhaps a public speaking engagement.  We worry, because we’re afraid of what ‘might’ happen.  The truth is, this is needless worry because we can’t be 100% certain that it will happen.

When we stay stuck in a negative thought pattern about a future or past experience, it serves us in no way, and we need to resolve it.  One of the ways we can do this is to continually bring ourselves back into the present moment.

Buddhists have developed a simple technique for staying present.  Simply say, ‘I now place my mind in the present moment.’ The moment you realize that you are thinking negative thoughts, repeat this line, then just look around and observe. If you’re outside, look at the trees, look at the clouds in the sky, look at the birds, listen to the wind.  You might notice that things look like they’re in 3-D. Colours are much more vibrant. Feel the euphoria. It’s awesome!

If you are inside, look around the room you are in. Look at the pictures on the wall. Bring your attention to whatever task you are performing. For as long as you are in the present moment, that negative thought is gone. It no longer affects you.

Another technique, is to focus on your breath.  In karate class, I teach the students to breathe like a dragon or snake … sssssssssssss!  Even if you do this for one breath, you will experience the benefit of living in the present moment!

Quite often it is unresolved emotional pain from a past experience that is causing us to stay stuck in a negative thought pattern.  Letting go of this emotional pain frees us to live in the present moment.  One way to do this, is to recognize that it is ego that causes to hold onto it.  By this I mean, when we have an unpleasant experience, the conscious [spiritual] aspect of ourselves accepts this experience as part of the flow of life.  Our ego-self, on the other hand, thrives on drama and holds on to the bitterness, anger, fear, shame, etc.  What is more, this ego-self continues to relive the experience over and over through our thoughts.  In order to let it go, we need to be aware of the ego-self and how it is working against us.  How it is holding on to this emotional pain and creating the negative thought patterns we are experiencing.  The more we are aware, the more quickly we dissolve the ego, and hence, return to the present moment.

Have an awesomely present day!

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