By Dr. Marta Adelsman
Verde Valley AZ (August 24, 2012) – It happens a lot. I get behind a slow driver and I suddenly feel all this pressure to get where I’m going fast! Impatience hangs heavy in my gut. I realize that my hurry-up mode has whisked me out of the present moment into thoughts about the future and “getting there.”
It’s fascinating how the mind whips us back and forth between past and future. In the past, it rehashes events and grievances and regrets. In the future, it creates “what if” scenarios. I would imagine the worst in the area of money and finances, and my stomach would tie itself into knots. The fear felt like a fist thrusting into my solar plexus.
Through the years, I practiced staying present. A couple of realizations have supported the learning process:
1) Past and future don’t exist. The past isn’t real. It exists only in memory. Similarly, the future isn’t real either, except in imagination. None of it is happening now.
2) Guidance and direction for life penetrate only the present moment. If my mind happens to dwell in past mode or future mode, I miss the direction that Life shines into the Now. If I’m present, I “hear” it. I perceive where the directional flow leads, and I can then follow it. If I’m in the past or future, the guidance is still there, but I miss it.
When you practice presence, you will experience many benefits. You will feel unencumbered by what used to be or what might be. You won’t become upset about something that happened yesterday or last week or last year.
Worry, anxiety and depression will diminish. In spite of all the anxiety-producing events occurring in the world, you feel peace. Colors appear brighter, sounds more pleasant, and your enjoyment of life more pronounced.
Staying present does not mean that you don’t plan for future situations or events. It simply means that you live in the process without dwelling mentally and emotionally on the outcome.
I have three favorite ways to bring myself present: focus on my breath, be aware of what my five senses experience, and slow down my movements. From now on, when I find myself behind a slow driver, I’ll use all three. I’ll make sure my breathing stays even and slow. I’ll enjoy whatever I’m seeing or hearing in the passing scenery. And I’ll back off the accelerator so as not to tailgate the person in front of me.
So if you see someone tailgating you and you notice it’s me, you have my permission to remind me about this article!
Dr. Marta coaches people to practice Presence in their lives. To contact her, call 928-451-9482 or write firstname.lastname@example.org.