I start all of my yoga classes with a brief meditation on the breath. The reason I do that is to help my students become aware of the present moment—the eternal now. Our bodies are always present in the current moment and in our current location. Our minds, however, spend most of the time in the past or in the future or somewhere else other than here and now. The practice of focusing the mind on the breath brings the mind back to be present in current moment and the current space with our bodies. For this reason, yoga refers the breath the link between the mind and the body.
It sounds so easy, doesn’t it? Just focus on the breath, and it will bring you back to the present moment, the here and now. And it really is that simple. It’s also that difficult. Anyone who has tried meditation knows just how challenging this practice really is. And yet, everything we will ever do or accomplish in our lives must be done with our bodies. All of our actions, all of our communication, all of our work in this world happens via our bodies, which are always present in the here and now. It makes sense, therefore, to spend more time with our minds joining our bodies in the now to maximize our accomplishments.
This doesn’t mean that there is no value in thinking on the past or the future, however. The past can be a rich source of learning as we uncover lessons we have learned, patterns we keep recreating in our lives, or practices that we can make use of now. Thoughts of the future and the goals we hope to achieve can be very important in keeping us on track to continue growing and learning and becoming the people we wish to be. The problem comes when we want to live in some place and time other than the here and now.
My personal measure for determining whether I am consulting the past or the future for useful information or whether I am trying to live in the past or the future is to check my emotional barometer. When I am checking the past for lessons that might be useful to me today or envisioning future possibilities to help me make decisions or set goals, my emotions are those of curiosity and detachment. I am in a place of learning and inquiry. When I am living in the past by obsessing over things that have happened to me or dwelling in the future by worrying over things that I cannot do anything about in this moment, my emotions tend to be anxious, sad, angry, or discouraged. Most importantly, though, I am not learning. I am not detached. I am not curious.
When I find myself in those spaces (and I often do), I find it helpful to start with a deep breath to bring me back to my body in this moment in this place. Then I can acknowledge the emotions that have come up and inquire about what I can learn from my sojourn in that other place and time that can inform my actions in this moment. By being curious about what it can do for me now, I don’t invalidate my feelings or my concerns, but it reminds me that I can only act in the here and now where my body is.
Here and now is all I have. It’s all you have too. What strategies do you use to bring yourself back to the here and now when your mind has gone off to another place and time?
This post is part of a blog hop series sponsored by students and graduate Coaches of ICA. Please hop on over to their posts and see what else you can learn about ”The Power of Now.”
Esme Gosling – Money Coach http://bit.ly/xu0bLi
Sandra Seibert – Joyful Growth Coach http://joyfulgrowthcoach.com/2012/02/the-power-of-now-a-moment-of-stillness/
Renee Vos de Wael – Intuitive Coach http://reneevosdewael.com/2012/02/20/is-the-power-now/
Namrata Arora – Life and Career Coach for women in transitions http://aboutcoaching.wordpress.com/2012/02/18/the-power-of-now/
Tracy Coan – Bodacious Possibilities http://bodaciouspossibilities.com/2012/02/choose-you-choose-now/
Jayde Gilmore – Wings LifeCoaching http://wingslifecoaching.tumblr.com/
Brandy Morris-Chaudhry – Illuminated Perspective http://www.illuminatingpotential.com/
Nuria Lencina – Coachinu http://coachinublog.com/2012/02/20/the-power-of-now/
Pamela Rudisill – In Sight Life Coaching http://insightlifecoaching.co/2012/02/20/the-power-of-now/
Louise Gray – Communication Coach, Learner Focused Coaching http://learnerfocusedcoaching.com/2012/02/20/what-was-i-saying/
Jenn Brockman – Kick Ass Website Coach http://kickasswebsitecoach.com/the-power-of-now
Rebecca Macfarlane – Turning Stones Coaching (Business Start Up and Career Coach) http://wp.me/p1xmJl-dZ