Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Living in the present

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength."

-  Corrie Ten Boom

When you are trying to complete a task are you totally focused in that task or are you thinking about the next task you will have to complete after this one is done?

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and realized you didn't actually hear anything they said?

Have you ever gone for a drive and not remembered how you got to your destination?
The truth is things are moving faster and faster. Life is getting busier and busier. If we don't slow ourselves down life will pass before we even knew what happened.

I am sure everybody has heard of meditation and probably just thinks of it as some silly thing people do sitting up straight with their legs crossed. The truth is meditation is so much more then that. Something we all could use to find peace in a life that probably seems pretty chaotic most of the time.

Meditation is really about being present. It is about seeing all the little things around us that most of us miss on a daily basis. It is about focusing on your task at hand. It is about living without judgement and negativity.

There are so many different ways to meditate. If you just stop for a second during your busy day and focus on your breath for even just a minute. Feeling the air move in through your nose and into your chest. Feeling your chest or belly rise and fall with each breath. Really feeling how that breath affects your whole body. When you take a deep breath this activates the parasympathetic nervous system which gives you a relaxation response. Which I know almost all of us could use more of. Being stressed all the time causes disease, decreases your quality of life and happiness.

Kids actually meditate all the times but aren't really trying to and nobody thinks of it like that. Have you ever noticed for the most part how much happier a child is then an adult. They haven't developed judgements and negativity yet. When a child falls down they don't think of themselves as clumsy or compare themselves to the kid across the street saying I bet they don't do that. When they are exploring a new object, scent, or hearing something new they are not thinking about what they will be doing after that. They are totally in tune with what they are experiencing at the present moment. As an adult just imagine if you close your eyes and pick up a leaf but when you pick it up you didn't know what it was right away. As soon as we recognize the object we say oh yeah that is a leaf and we are done with it. Imagine if you didn't let yourself realize what it was you were touching and just let yourself be totally focused on how it felt without judgement. Every leaf feels different and if you just recognized it was a leaf and set it down you would miss the whole experience. This type of focusing is actually considered meditation. Focusing on the present task at the present time. Washing dishes, brushing your teeth, or taking a walk. Anything can be used as a meditation. And when you learn how to focus on the task at hand you will increase the quality of everything you try to do.

When you walk out to your car in the morning do you hear the birds chirping or are you in such a hurry that you miss it?

When someone cuts you off on the street do you make up a story about that person and why they are such a jerk? Truth is we have no idea why they cut us off. Maybe they are late for work or maybe they are on their way to the hospital for an emergency. For whatever the reason we will probably never know so when we get ourselves all upset and call them nasty names we are really only hurting and upsetting ourselves. This won't affect them at all. It will just bring negativity to our life. What if they cut you off and you just responded by saying gosh I hope everything is ok with them and their day gets better. Would that change things for you?

These are just a few things to think about to help bring greater awareness and happiness to your life. Try focusing on your breathing and seeing how it makes you feel. If your mind is cluttered with thoughts don't get angry that they won't go away just let them pass by. Just be like it is not time for you right now I am being with my breath. Another thing you can try is repeat this mantra to yourself and see how it makes you feel.

"May I be happy and peaceful. May I be healthy and strong. May I be safe and free. May I care for myself with ease and joy."

Now I know you may feel like this is a bit cheesy but remember you are doing this without judgement. You are your own best friend or your own worst enemy you make the choice. Be kind to yourself. And if life isn't going the way you want it to what can it hurt to try something new. Find what works for you whatever it is and make that part of your life.

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