- 30-minute morning meditation
- Read a lot of spiritual books
- Listen to spiritual podcasts
- 30-minute evening meditation
- Journal every day
- Less time on social media
That’s about how, a few months back, I believed that I could be more present throughout my day. I did all these things to be ‘more’ present. As if being present was some sort of achievement. Something I could learn, a skill to be attained, just like writing or video editing is.
Luckily I realized I was wrong.
Questioning This Claim?
You are probably questioning this statement, because well…
There are countless people telling you that you need to practice being more present, or that you need to practice to be more mindful. It’s kind of a big hype.
I bought into this as well. I thought that practices like meditation, reading, and journalling could all make me live a more present life. A more mindful life.
Until funny enough, I read a book by J. Krishnamurti which is called Freedom from the Known. It is this book that completely debunked my belief that being present was something we could practice. That it was something we could, over time, increase.
You cannot possibly be more present.
The Simplicity of Mindfulness
It is very simple to understand. You cannot possibly be more present. That’s the illusion we have created for ourselves.
Often times we say that we aren’t present, or mindful when we are distracted, or if we are unconscious of our thoughts. But you see all these things still happen in the present. That’s why you can’t be more present.
If you think about the past or the future, it is often said that you aren’t present, that you aren’t mindful. Yet this is completely wrong. You are present because thinking is an action that cannot possibly be done anywhere else than in this very moment.
Thinking is an action that cannot possibly be done anywhere else than in this very moment. Therefore even if you are lost in thought you are still present.
It is just that you aren’t paying attention to what’s happening right now. That’s the real problem. That we aren’t paying attention.
Practices like meditation, or journalling have absolutely nothing to do with being more present. What they could help you with is to understand what it means to pay attention to the here and now. Through listening to your thoughts, or feeling your emotions.
What we want is to pay attention to the present moment. We don’t want to be more present because we are already present. It’s simply an impossible task to give yourself.
We are always present, even when we think of the future or the past, or when we are lost in thoughts. All this can only happen in the here and now, the problem is that you are not paying attention to what is happening. But there is a very easy transformation to this.
When we say we want to be more present, what we mean is to pay attention to the present moment. We don’t want to be more present because we are always present. It’s simply an impossible task to give yourself.
Natural and Effortless Transformation
When we are meditating it’s natural for us to get lost in thoughts, which means that we aren’t paying attention to our thoughts anymore and just go with them. Now when we realize that we are getting lost in thought we often say we aren’t mindful anymore, or that we need to be more present.
This is just not true, cause the moment you realize that you were lost in thought you were paying attention again. Therefore you were aware that you are always present.
The thing is when we aren’t paying attention to what is happening here and now we feel that we need to control that or force ourselves back to the present moment. Yet this is only reinforcing the fact that you aren’t paying attention. You think that being present is some kind of goal, something you can practice or do.
Yet it’s much simpler than that. I already explained this, but the moment you realize you are lost in thought, or not paying attention to the present you just go with that flow. You don’t do anything really. Because aren’t you already paying attention to the present the moment you realized that you weren’t?
Read that again, please.
Because aren’t you already paying attention to the present the moment you realized that you weren’t?
This is the illusion. As long as we keep thinking that we can be more present we will never be. The moment we simply realize that we are always present it will be a natural and effortless continuous practice.
We don’t even need to necessarily sit down in a lotus position and meditate. Cause you’ll realize that meditation is done in everything we do. It is not restricted to sitting or laying down or walking. It is done in everything we do.
If You Can Realise This…
If we realize this right now, cause there is no other moment to realize this, that we just need to pay attention wherever we can. You’ll see that you are always present, and that you can’t get back to that place, but that you can only pay attention again.
‘Being more present’ is an illusion created by the achievement and the goal-oriented world we are living in. I urge you to understand this yourself, to not just think about it, but to see if you can feel it, understand it. For if you do you’ll realize the beauty of living.
Be present. Not be ‘more’ present, but to just be present.
At this very moment, we can find beauty in everything. In the dew on the blades of grass, the child crying on the bus, or the music on our headphones. We need only pay attention to the here and now. Be present. Not be ‘more’ present, but to just be present.
Wouldn’t that be a marvelous thing? To naturally and effortlessly be here now. And see that today you live. Fall in love with that life right now, for it is all you got.