On the fourth day of Christmas, Alexis said to me….
There is nought to do,
In the first three videos, I talked about how our evolution gave us incredible natural capacities, that we experience everything via our thoughts, and that we have our light on a range of settings from brighter to dimmer at any given moment, and this affects what we are aware of.
All of these factors help to understand presence in the moment and what takes us towards or away from it.
That is all very well, you might be thinking: Accepting that it is through presence that we are in touch with our natural gifts, do our best thinking, and experience higher levels of consciousness, then WHAT DO I DO TO BE MORE PRESENT?
Well, this may be good or bad news…
There is nothing to do.
That is, there is no one size fits all, all purpose technique that will make you present.
However, you are in a fantastic position to observe when you are most present. When do you fall into presence? When do you tend to get caught up in thoughts? When do you feel most at peace?
Because we experience everything through thought, then it is our thoughts rather than our circumstances which take us into (or away from) presence. This is why there is no technique that works one way for everyone, no situation you can contrive to work 100 per cent of the time. We all think in different ways, and at different moments, so returning to presence depends on what is happening in our minds, which is always changing. That means that being awake to what occurs to you in a particular moment will be the best way to see your path to presence.
However, that is not to say that what is helpful for one person might not be helpful for another. You have to be the judge of what is helpful for you, and what is most appropriate to what you are experiencing.
In this video, I talk about what I have found helpful in my own everyday explorations of presence. You might be surprised at how simple and straightforward presence can be.
I just want to add that I talk about getting sleep in the video, and I know that can be tricky for pregnant ladies and mums with babies and/or frequent night-wakers. I myself am mother to a two year old who wakes often, sometimes to breastfeed, sometimes to snuggle, so I feel your pain. Believe me. However, I do notice that presence helps a great deal in how rested I feel on a smaller amount of sleep than I would ideally like, or when I want to go to sleep, but have an eager toddler clambering on top of me muttering ‘bbbbbeeeaaaadddd’ (breast).
While in the video I am describing some practical ways I became more present, I would like to describe how my thinking changed as I began to slow down and realise the possibility of being more present and what that could offer my experience:
I began by noticing my thinking. I started to see when my mind was really busy and moving very fast, and when it was slow. I had always believed that being able to do lots of thinking was good, so not adding extra thought to my mind on purpose was quite a big change for me, and I found that it did help me feel calmer. I needed to clarify that it was indeed good for me to do this, but once I saw that I had a better experience and was more productive as a result, I continued with the experiment.
Another thing was that I began to notice how much time I spent imagining things, like how I wanted my life to look once I had sorted everything out to my liking. Catching myself doing this, and instead looking at enjoying the experiences I was actually having made a big difference to my sense of wellbeing.
Then, as I slowed down a bit, I began to see the value more in everyday experiences which I found an annoying responsibility, like getting the washing up done, or driving in and out of town. I began to see these as intervals where I could let my mind relax and quiet down. It was seeing the value in these experiences that allowed me to do this.
I also began taking pressure off myself to perform lots of tasks when in a low state of consciousness, and knew that at these moments the best thing I could do was as little as possible. Though rarely did this mean actually doing nothing, it meant focussing on a minimum of essential tasks.
Another thing, was experimenting with dropping thoughts about everything that needed to be done, even just for a moment, in order to enjoy a quiet moment of connection cuddling a child or watching them play at the park. Again, with the confidence that if I let my mind quiet down during these times, then I would be able to get whatever needed doing done in a much more equable manner.
What naturally followed from that was dropping things that I thought I had to do, because I was more in step with what I wanted to achieve and what I could achieve in a sane way.
This occurred over a couple of months, as I had a series of insights about the inside-out nature of experience, that experience happens through thought, natural resources, and consciousness.
Here are some helpful links…
This is a great podcast with Lian Brooke Tyler and Jacquie Forde, where you can hear a lovely take on getting more present for Christmas.
An oldie from the Positivity Blog. Certainly a few practical shortcuts to presence:)
The most important thing is not to beat yourself up when you realise you have not been present, but to be grateful that you are when you are:)
What helps you get present?
I would love to hear about your experiences.
Feel free to share any of these posts. Spread the Christmas Presence. The more, the merrier!
Lots of love,