Darbella’s Articles — Say yes to living life in the present

With the Olympics on, the Cana­da – U.S. gold medal hock­ey game about to start, school work that needs doing, reports loom­ing in the near future, and a busy week ahead – it would have been so easy to decide that I do not have time to write. AND I want to write so I will take the time that I need to com­plete the task.

I have been lis­ten­ing to The Pow­er of Now by Eck­hart Tolle on my Rio play­er while I walk the dog. I enjoyed it so much that I am lis­ten­ing again with pen in hand to make notes.

Tolle begins by telling us that his book is to remind us of what we have for­got­ten. We already have all that we need. We know what we need to know. We know how to be. It is the place inside of you that says, “Yes, I know this is true.” The inces­sant inter­nal noise of the mind keeps us from this place. Our minds are sim­ply mak­ing too much noise.

Your deep­est self – your true nature – is what Tolle describes as “being.” This sense of being is deep with­in every form. It is the feel­ing of “I am.” This is being present. The now is all we have. In this moment, the now is all there is. Just me sit­ting at my com­put­er typ­ing – and yet my mind so often resists being here in the now.

Since being at Haven, I have learned to focus my atten­tion more and more in the present AND my mind still wan­ders. I could sit here and wor­ry about how to get every­thing done by the end of the week when the report card dead­line looms. My mind can very eas­i­ly get into the end­less chat­ter about all that I have to do. In that place noth­ing gets done. When I focus in the now — my list of things to do gets short­er. The future will be what it is when it arrives. No amount of think­ing about it now will change it. Lost in that end­less mind chat­ter — I lose out on liv­ing life.

Most think­ing is repet­i­tive and harm­ful. We all have our own spe­cial tapes that we enjoy play­ing over and over again in our mind. From this con­tent of mind, we derive our sense of self. This false self or ego is a men­tal image of our­selves that we have worked hard to cre­ate. Our mind is quite attached to this ego and does it best to main­tain that cre­at­ed image of us. The mind wants to be in con­trol so it resists liv­ing in the now.

How do we get past this inces­sant chat­ter in the mind?

One of my favourite ways of stay­ing stuck in ego has been to awfulize some event that is about to hap­pen. My mind loops again and again over every awful thing that may hap­pen when I attempt to do some­thing. I think of every pos­si­ble thing that may go wrong. I have become frozen in this place and my only escape in the past was to hide deep with­in myself. The end­less loop or escape — my only appar­ent choice.

What I have learned to do is sim­ply to notice. Tolle describes this as “being a watch­er.” Ask your­self what is going on inside. Be aware — just watch. The most impor­tant part of this is to be aware with­out judg­ing. Notice what you are doing. Notice the sit­u­a­tion and your reac­tion to it. Notice — don’t judge.

When you sim­ply notice, you are in the present. The moment you being to judge and replay all those old tapes, you have slipped back into the past. Again and again, notice and bring your­self into the present. Do this again and again. It takes many rep­e­ti­tions. With time, it will become eas­i­er and easier.

A sim­ple way to prac­tice is to bring your atten­tion over and over again to a sim­ple repet­i­tive task such as walk­ing up the stairs, wash­ing the dish­es, or hav­ing a show­er. Be present in that moment only. Notice and let it go. Strive to achieve longer and longer times of qui­et­ing your mind. With this kind of prac­tice, qui­et­ing your mind in high­er stress times will be easier.

When I get into my “awfuliz­ing” in a major way, I find it help­ful to refo­cus my atten­tion to a time when things did not work out as awful as I thought and then sim­ply notice that this is my pat­tern when I get scared. I have worked hard at remind­ing myself to notice the present and ask myself if there is any­thing I can do about the sit­u­a­tion right here and now. If yes, then I make an informed deci­sion about what to do now. If not, I let it go and con­tin­ue with the present.

This is not easy AND this is sim­ple. Keep notic­ing and move on. The now is all you real­ly have. As Tolle sug­gests — say yes to life in the present and see how it works for you rather than against you. The present moment is sim­ply what it is — watch and see how the mind responds to it.

The game has start­ed. I think I have writ­ten this arti­cle in record time for me. Focus­ing on the present task has now giv­en me more time for a future task. My new “now” will be watch­ing the game and cheer­ing Cana­da on to victory!

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