One of the first times I had considered the idea of presence was when I picked up Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth. Like the loyal Oprah groupie that I am, I bought it to keep up with her book club and well, I got like a chapter in and my head hurt. Huh? Wait. What? I think I get it… wait no… let me re-read that. Fast forward to a few years later into my spiritual practice and I devoured it and it spoke to me.
It had me realizing I had the key to life... if I could actually do it.
Being present to our life is not a concept that can be really understood with the mind. In fact, that's the whole idea, that we are not our thoughts and that we are much, much, MUCH greater than our minds. I still live in my head but more and more I am able to disrupt that with presence, which is pretty much like hitting the refresh button on life.
I highly recommend Eckhart’s writings but as a starting point I decided it would be more effective to illustrate via an infographic so that you can visualize the concept. Below I also outline some mini-meditations Mr. Tolle shared in a podcast that will help you create spaces of presence…
Mini meditations to step out of excessive thinking:
- One Breath: Breathe in, breathe out and start to become aware of the moments in between each breath. When you are focusing on your breath, your awareness shifts from the past and future to the present because it can’t do both at the same time.
- The 5 Senses: With any activity that you do often that is a means to an end, start to engage as many senses as possible. Say you are washing your dishes… instead of thinking of all you have to do after, notice the water falling on your hands, smell the soap, hear the splashing of the water or any other sounds, etc.
- Inner Body: Focus on the energy and aliveness pulsing through your body, one body part at a time. Place your awareness on your hand. What does it feel like inside? Notice the buzzing, tingling, warmth or vibration. Then move that awareness to the arm and keep going.