In touch with the now
Part of being aware of the present moment is to recognise that you cannot be anywhere else. There is no need to try to be in the now because you are already there. The only way to escape the present moment is via your thoughts which may drag you into the past or future. Being aware of your surroundings, your body and your thoughts at any given moment puts you in touch with the now. You might think of it as an invisible timeline on which we can add dates and times; or an empty bowl before adding any “content”.
Losing the present moment
The illustration shows several examples where you may detect that your thoughts are trying to take you away from the present moment. This can build an inner resistance to what is happening now. Your thoughts may take you so far away from what you are doing now that you actually lose what you are doing in this moment. You might be here wanting to be there. You might be reading a book and wishing you had finished the book.
Here wanting to be there
Slowing down and enjoying each moment enriches the experience. Your mind may want to race ahead. If you recognise this, you have brought awareness to what you are doing and can be more aligned with the activity and enjoy it more. If you are here wanting to be there you may notice the inner resistance and perhaps label it as impatience. The mind can create the illusion that you need to rush when very often you don’t need to. You might be painting a wall and want to be the other end and have the job finished. If you concentrate on the paint going on and enjoy the painting in the moment each step is enjoyable rather than projecting your enjoyment to having finished the wall. Postponing happiness in a sense – “I won’t be happy until this wall is painted!”
The best method for staying in the present moment is to have no method. To simply “be” wherever you are whenever you are. There are techniques to help you become more present yet ultimately staying in the now requires no effort other than awareness. Being aware of your surroundings, your body and your thoughts in every moment puts you in touch with the now. For tips to help you stay present see the Present Moment Awareness Mind Map and Blog Post.
See also: Three points of awareness Mind Map