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Monday, November 7, 2011

Why Presence Is the Key to Happiness

In this world of chaotic change,
I Am at peace.
Breath of tranquility
Calms my restless mind.
Just being Present
Blocks emotional turmoil,
Reminding me
What is Real.

When you are enjoying your time, you are PRESENT; You\'re focusing on whatever you are doing, without thinking about the past or future. See if you can bring this awareness into your daily activities. The more you practice controlling your attention, the easier it becomes, and the more you focus this attention outside of your head, the more you will find joy in the simplest things. Be mindful- PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR LIFE AS IT HAPPENS.
The act of being present is an awareness of your surroundings in a new and exciting way. You will appreciate nature, perhaps feeling the sun on your face, hearing the sweet melodies of the birds, or noticing other stimuli that would normally be drowned out by your thoughts. You will enjoy your meals with new vitality, savoring each bite, allowing the flavors to fully be tasted. You will become more conscious of your own body, feeling the joy of each breath as it enters and exits your lungs. You will come to realize that the act of being present will draw your mind away from thoughts of the past, and worries of the future. All that will matter is NOW, because you will be actively engaging your senses in the present moment.

Being present as much as possible will enliven your life. When you are fully present, your awareness is in a different state of attention. In this state of attention, you are aware of your present moment of activity, and you are also aware of your thoughts. Many people are in a constant state of unawareness. They will go about their day, rarely being present, and barely aware of their surroundings and what they are thinking. More often than not, they don’t understand why their emotions are out of control.

Exercise:
Practice being present.

Choose at least one activity that you normally do everyday. It can be anything at all, eating, showering, drinking coffee, exercising, etc. Whenever you do this activity be present as much as possible. Start by bringing your attention to your body and senses. What do you feel physically? What do you see, smell, and hear? At the same time be aware of your thoughts. It’s natural to have thoughts. The goal isn’t to eliminate them, but to let them pass by like trains in a train station.
Walking: Be aware of the physical sensations; Feel your muscles contract as you walk. Feel the heat or cold on your skin. Feel the textures of your clothing. Be aware of any sounds; listen to the sound of your own breath as it flows in and out.

Eating: Take time to enjoy the taste and aroma of your food. Savor each bite as if you never tasted it before. Pay attention to the texture, the way your tongue moves as you chew.

Really focus on staying present. When you find your mind drifting to other thoughts, gently pull yourself back into the moment. This exercise will demonstrate just how much you are caught up in your thoughts versus being present.
Be where you are.
Do what you are doing.
Experience life as it happens.
When we live inside our heads, thinking about being somewhere else, doing something else, or thinking about the past or the future, we are missing out on living. You will enjoy life more if you actually live it as it unfolds.

Don’t judge your efforts. Even if you can only be present for 5 seconds at a time you have successfully begun your journey towards being happy now.

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