Developing Mindfulness; Being Present in the Moment

When it feels like the world is spinning out of control, slow down on the inside.

Many of us are struggling to process the dramatic changes in our lives. We are working from home, we spend more time on our screens bombarded by all forms of social media, news, and electronic entertainment, while being overwhelmed by the upheaval of these times. Many of us are unable to return to the ways in which we used to gather in community or connect to our former methods of de-compressing from stress and anxiety.

As a result, we are more distracted than ever. We’ve lost track of ourselves. The ways in which we center, recharge and reconnect have been radically reduced or altered.

Mindfulness and learning how to be more present in the moment are practices that may be more necessary than ever to recover in the face of disorder, fear and separation. 

There are a few simple anchors that we can focus on to develop the ability to be more mindful and present in the here now:

-feel your body,

-observe your thoughts

-notice your emotional state

-pay attention to your surroundings

-resist the urge to escape, move into illusion and/or avoidance, to space out. Tara Brach calls that dissociative state, ‘trance. Pema Chodron describes it as running away from ourselves or numbing out. 

Throughout the day take moments and simplify, slow down, sit with the here and now, let yourself be with your raw unmasked self. Practice these steps towards presence and mindfulness and take note of your observations. The more you do, the more peace you’ll experience within yourself and your compassion and understanding of the world will deepen. 

 

Another tool you can utilize to achieve stress relief through being present is the mindfulness practice of R.A.I.N. A mediation technique taught by Tara Brach. 

R.A.I.N.

-Recognition (recognize what is happening) Feel your body, is there tension, agitation? What physical sensations, are you experiencing? What emotions? Stay with them. KEEP COMING BACK TO THE PRESENT MOMENT. 

-Allowing (allow life to be just as it is) Accept what your life is in this moment. ‘I trust, I allow, I surrender.’ 

-Investigate (investigate with a gentle, curious attention) Pay attention to and investigate your experience. Ask yourself the difficult questions. ‘What is the hardest part about this? What emotions am I experiencing? If the part of me that is in the most discomfort could communicate with me, what would it say?’ 

-Nurture (nurture with loving presence) Calling on the most understanding loving part of yourself, offer yourself support and a loving message. Bring in a higher power, think of someone you love supporting you, call in what best allows you to feel cared for, loved.