When you hang in circles devoted to success or happiness, you will certainly hear people talking about being “present.”
And yet, it can seem as elusive as the leprechaun with a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow to many people.
The people I know who practice being present consistently have two things: lives they enjoy and lots of people that love and admire them. Who doesn’t want that, right?
It isn’t a complicated, difficult path. In fact it’s simple (like most universal truths). Here are five principles that will help you become more present:
1. Your mind is a tool.
A great tool, in fact. Without it you wouldn’t avoid dark alleys, circlejerks, moldy leftovers or street-corner zealots. It’s like your MacBook: it gives you great information, it can create amazing things, it can calculate probabilities for you—but it isn’t you. You are not your computer, and you are not your mind.
In order to play with being present, you have to understand that your mind chatter, your thoughts, even your precious feelings are not you. You are the observer, the one watching and listening to all of your drama—not the one creating it. You are the pure, unbroken, perfect spirit.
2. Don’t. Push it.
Don’t push it real good. It’s perfectly natural to want to push away unpleasant feelings or situations, but the fact is: if it is happening, then it is happening.
What you resist persists, because resistance is intense focus, and focus is a whole lot of attention. And what you put your attention on grows! You can not want to be fat all day long, resist the pounds, but your attention is still on your big ol’ booty (and not in a good way).
Push and pull have the same amount of energy, but can’t occupy the same moment. The more you can welcome (pull) what is and what you want more of, the more authentic you get with life and the more present you become.
3. This is it. This is your life.
This moment is it (and look how smart you are—you are using it to read this blog!). The past and the future are just mental concepts. If you spend your life spinning past events in your head like a never-ending washing machine or worrying about the future, you miss the gold. Now is the gold, here for your taking. Take it.
You get to decide, each and every moment, whether you are going to be downtrodden or delighted. This is a choice. Situational happiness (just like situational sadness) passes, and if you are always searching for a means to be happy, you will find many fleeting circumstances, but nothing of true substance. True, substantial happiness is a choice that you make. Make it.
4. You are you.
You can’t be anyone else. You can’t be any different in this moment. You can’t have made different choices in the past; the only choices that you can make differently are the ones you make now. So, quit beating yourself up and comparing yourself to others. Embrace your “youness”—it is what makes you unique and amazing. Like Dr. Seuss says, “You are you, that’s truer than true. There is no one alive that is youer than you.”
When you are in your mind comparing and judging, you create a barrier to authentic relationship with another person. It’s not only a disservice to you: it’s a disservice to the other person. Try instead to cultivate gratitude for that which you admire in others. Bring your awareness to the fact that they are not just an extension of you. Now…aren’t you even more brilliant than ever before?!
5. Get perspective.
Step back from playing that character with your name. Instead of remaining deeply entrenched in this person’s thoughts and swept up in their drama—yes, yes, they’re your thoughts and your drama, and they’re oh-so-important—broaden your awareness.
Put your attention on the physical world around you and the experiences in your body, without adding meaning or judging. Just see what is there, see what your body sensations are. Repeat.
The more you observe, the more you naturally take your seat as the observer and can move out of your obsession with your mind. You also get the opportunity to fall in love with the world as it is, right now.
If you fully embrace these five principles I guarantee that people will feel differently in your presence, and you will also be a happier and more successful person. In fact, I believe that if you practice these principles with conviction, there is nothing you can’t accomplish.
Your presence is the greatest gift you can bring to the world. Bring it.
Briana Borten is a peace engineer and entrepreneur who works with people to decrease their pain, increase their relaxation, optimize their health and get exactly what they want out of their lives. She’s on a mission to create a more peaceful world through more peaceful individuals! Find out more about Briana here.
Editor: Jayleigh Lewis