Living in the Present Opens us to Experience Life 

Salt Flats 01 By Steve Back

Salt Flats 01 By Steve Back

I often receive messages into my heart that everything will be as it should, that opportunities with people and experiences will arise and all I really need to do is keep the portal open to receiving them. Being present enough to recognise and receive them is the challenge. 

On a personal level, the universe sends me frequent messages to keep my options open! It bombards me often with advice. When I’m walking out and about I hear, ‘Smile.’ When I’m meeting new people I hear, ‘Be accepting of who you find.’ A new opportunity or experience may arise and I hear, ‘Be open to new things.’  I’m feeling the need to be open to life, to keep the portal open and let life stream in! And I need to be present for that to happen.

It’s not easy to fall into judgment when you view life in this way because people, places and experiences become things you encounter; there seems little point in judging. Every day I move closer into the belief that life happens, that all will be revealed in the fullness of time and whatever is part of my life plan will happen and grow or wither, accordingly. The challenge is again to be mindful that this is how I want to view life. 

It reminds me of a story my son tells. It’s about a spiritual guru who was constantly being asked questions about what the secret to his contentment and happiness was. In the end his simple, yet profound answer was, ‘I’m okay with whatever happens!’ When you think about it, it’s a brilliant life philosophy and one I’m trying to incorporate into mine.

Life is also full of the unexpected and sometimes we can be upset when challenges and opportunities that come our way are not exactly as we had anticipated. Like many of my generation, I had a pretty solid plan of how my life was supposed to look and for a long time I kept to the plan. Now, not so much! I believe the universe had other plans for me and my own plans became overturned. Interesting because as I became more open to letting go of the plan, the more interesting life became with new opportunities presenting themselves.  The more present I am, the more I see them and the braver I become in accepting them and living through them with some working out and others not so much. 

Not that I think my earlier life experiences were wasted – far from it!  The learnings that took place in that earlier life are so useful to me now, but in a way that I hadn’t predicted. Life skills are life skills and will always be useful no matter what path our life takes.

It’s easy in our attempt to set ourselves goals that we actually lose sight of all that life offers in the present moment. By keeping ourselves open to whatever comes our way we are really allowing the universe to help move us through instead of spending time thinking about what could have been and imagining what might be – better to open to what is, in my opinion!  I’m coming to trust the universe to inspire me and move me forward. I encourage myself to give up the blinkers and I aspire to be brave enough to be open to what life offers. 

Being mindful will help me move to that place. To keep the portal open means to be in the present moment. We can’t see what’s there if we are constantly thinking about the future or the past. Those opportunities can easily pass us by if we aren’t looking for them in the here and now.

Being in the Present Moment with Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle via Holistic Dublin 

Eckhart Tolle via Holistic Dublin 

If you’re reading this blog then I think we are in agreement that some more mindfulness in our lives is a good thing. I was privileged to see how that can happen in real life a few nights ago when my daughter, Louise and I joined a large crowd to attend an evening with Eckhart Tolle at the Brisbane Convention Centre.

There is no hype that surrounds this genuine man – he simply sits on a chair and talks! His only acknowledgment of technology is the presence of two large screens behind him on either side that allows his audience to interact more fully with him. But there is no sideshow of a moving background, only a true representation of a simple man sitting and sharing his thoughts.

There is no gesticulating, no walking up and down the stage or on a centre catwalk, no raised voice to make a particular point. It is a bland delivery for those used to the enhancement of modern technology but one that is truly engaging and shows a man living his own truth, showing the world how to be present and being entertaining at the same time.

This realisation led my daughter and I to ponder afterward how one can sit still for 2 hours and engage an audience simply by speaking – did he actually prepare for it, how does he remember it all if he does or does he simply let whatever wants to come up, come up? I loved Louise’s summary when she said, ‘For two hours he allows the presence to flow through him.’ I think that is the essence not only of his presentation but also to the heart of his message. It is possible to engage not only others but also yourself if you are really being in the moment. Then you are not relying on outside distractions and not paying attention to that debilitating voice in your head, insisting you need to prove yourself over and over when engaging with others.

He made many memorable points but there were a couple that I found especially relevant and easy to remember and use to encourage and practice, not only for ourselves but for our children and all our family members.

I loved this line, ‘In the doing remember to bring in the being’. We all have commitments and for some of us, there are many but we can still use those times to be present in the moment, to not be in our heads focusing on past events or ones yet to come but instead to be mindful of focusing our attention on what we are currently doing.

He’s very passionate about this one, ‘Time without social media is essential.’ It’s one that can take over our lives, one that is important to remember and for our children as well as ourselves. It is easy to distract ourselves from life by engaging in what we deem as incredibly important messages, posts, clips etc rather than to give ourselves the opportunity to ‘be’ and to do nothing at all!

His challenge was to be that person who can happily sit without technology supporting us. It used to happen before technology became so easily available ‘round the clock’, people used to sit and just be but now it is rare to see people without the mandatory phone in their hands if they are required to wait in a queue, for example.

He explained how his love of being in nature and the expansiveness it offers to our thinking can be coupled with the notion of ‘no technology’ to be more present in our lives. He encouraged us to use time in nature to begin the process of being with ourselves, rather than with our phones. He says it is the easiest way to be present – look at the sky, those few seconds of wonder can be the start of being in the present, do it more often and for longer and it will become part of your being. Then, over time, challenge yourself by moving into a busier location and apply the same principles – just sit and look around you, take in your surroundings, acknowledge the noise but don’t let it take you over. You will find over time that presence is possible wherever you are and no matter how challenging the surroundings.

via StellaMuse

via StellaMuse

I needed to look no further that Eckhart Tolle himself to believe what he says is true – he is a living personification of his principles and those of you who have read my past blogs will know that I am inspired by people who are brave enough to live their own truth and he is one of those people for sure.

He is not only a world-renowned speaker whose sessions are numerous on UTube but also a prolific writer. I’m going back to re-read a couple of my favourites, ‘The Power of Now’ and ‘A New Earth’ and I invite you to join me in exploring his wisdom but also his immense personal portrayal of living in the present.