The Practice of the Present Moment
Do you have the courage to step out of your business and into the stillness of your true nature?
As technology advances, so do our tasks. We are able to explore on the internet and chat with people all over the world. But sometimes it feels like we are the tools of technology instead of the other way around.
Are you able to unplug and give yourself a rest from your devices? As we have more interactions and communications, we are becoming more and more dependent on our phones and computers. It does take courage to have a time out — time for sanctuary, self-care, meditation, contemplation, prayer, and retreat.
I heard about an institution somewhere in Asia where people paid lots of money to voluntarily put themselves into a jail-like setting where they were forced to give up their cell phones and computers. They lived in an empty cell for days, seeing no one, and their food was delivered through an opening in the door. It was advertised as a way to get back in touch with yourself. You were not allowed to leave or get your phone back even if you asked. You had to sign a contract and were committed to stay for a predetermined time period.
We may not need such extreme measures to exercise our choices about how to best take care of ourselves. Not just by putting self-care on a list and making it yet another thing to do but by embodying it and living it.
We are the experiential organs of creation. We are the energy that beats our hearts and spins the planets and dwells within every cell of our bodies. We are of the Earth; our primal instincts keep us alive. We are Spirit, the intuitive relationship with all of life. We are the bridge between heaven and earth.
When we move too fast, over-do and get out of balance with the rhythms of nature, we feel separate and out of touch with ourselves and each other. Our families, communities, and whole world reflect this imbalance and dysfunction. When we get too tired it seems as though taking care of ourselves is a task. It can seem like there just isn’t enough time to rest and retreat as well as get everything done.
Nature is our great teacher. Would Nature work too hard or get too busy? The trees rest in winter and dormant times to be renewed in the Spring. The intensity of day becomes the receptivity of night.
We do have time and space for sanctuary, right here right now, as close as our breath. When we bring our awareness to the breath, even for just a moment, it’s a beautiful thing. I call this the Practice of the Present Moment. It’s not really a practice but our ground of being. What we practice is bringing our awareness to it.
Become aware of your breath. No need to regulate or change it. When your mind wanders, that’s OK; bring awareness back to the breath. Feel the in breath deep and full. Before you exhale, feel a pause, a space, then exhale long and slow. If you have a lot of mental activity, breathe out through your mouth. Let it all out.
Let the breath be deep and natural and feel your inner sanctuary. You are experiencing this through your body, so be aware of your senses. You may notice a texture of smell, taste or sound, a feeling, inspiration, intuition, or guidance. This is where every choice or action may come from. The deeper knowing guides us if we take the time and space to cultivate it.
You can bring your awareness to your inner sanctuary anytime, especially in the midst of your daily activities. It’s like a nap or a mini-vacation. This refuge of remembrance and regeneration interrupts the cycle of constant thought and concern. The Practice of the Present Moment allows us to do less and be more. We can’t multi-task the present moment.
As we integrate this practice fully into our lives, it ultimately becomes the Prayer of the Present Moment. Every breath is a prayer.
Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com on August 15, 2016.