Given the chaos of our times, all of us suffer, on some level, an anxiety about what might happen next. Where will the next threat come from? What’s coming that will impact my family, my livelihood, my security and peace? So today I wanted to talk with you about some ways you can maintain your sense of balance and equanimity by returning to your personal point of power. The key is to learn to learn the knack of mindfulness, or living in the Now.
Of all the moments you have ever lived or ever will, the present one is the one that holds all the gifts–this very moment, right now.
Now–and only now–holds the miracle of your beating heart, the power to direct your attention, the power to experience the richness your senses provide. Now is when you feel. Only now holds the power to notice, to imagine and to choose. Now is the only moment in which you can act.
Because now is the moment where your spirit intersects your body and where consciousness infuses your mind, now is you point of power.
Freedom from Anxiety
When you’re wholly focused on what’s happening in this instant, allowing yourself to accept whatever it offers, you place yourself in a position where you can enjoy its multiple layers of dazzling richness. Your feelings of worry and anxiety dissolve, because both are based in fears focused on an imagined event in a non-existent future moment, not on what’s happening right here and now.
Even if the present moment holds a crisis, by bringing your attention fully to it you center yourself, allowing you access the full range of your inner resources.
The mind simply can’t ride two trains of thought at the same time. Bring it back to the present and you will be in the only place where it’s possible to create the decisions and actions to move you toward an outcome you prefer.
In his Introduction to his book The Power of Now, spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle gives this advice:
“Realize that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the Now the primary focus of your life. Whereas before you dwelt in time and paid brief visits to the Now, have your dwelling place in the Now and pay brief visits to past and future when required to deal with the practical aspects of your life situation. Always say ‘yes’ to the present moment. . . Say ‘yes’ to life—and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.”
Practice Makes Perfect
Because we’re creatures of habit, learning to be mindful of the present–and to return to it when our thoughts and emotions carry us off down their accustomed paths–takes a little practice. Those familiar paths, even when they’re unpleasant, are built right into the neural pathways in our brains. The more you practice, the more you aid your brain in building new pathways, ones that lead you to the here and now.
The peace and freedom of being in the present can take a little getting used to. Compared to all the intensity that negative fantasies generate, it’s easy to feel disoriented in the present. We’re not sure what to do with it, and rather than stay here and explore, we let familiar habits draw us away. But its openness to the present, a willingness to explore it, that brings us freedom and peace, allowing us to experience the ultimate truth of our own being.
The Now is not some static place where everything stops. It has endless depth and breadth and motion. Attend to it and you experience its kaleidoscopic, ever-changing nature—and the nature of the Grand Awareness, which, at your core, you are.
One interesting way to anchor yourself in the present is to tell yourself in words what you are doing: “This is me, reading about my point of power,” or “This is me, stretching.” It’s a helpful practice to play with.
Your senses are always bringing you information about the present. You can practice directing your attention to the sounds you can hear, to what your skin is feeling, to how the light is casting shadows, to what fragrances are in the air.
You can practice paying attention to your breathing, focusing on the movement of your stomach and lungs, or on the changing temperature inside the tip of your nose as air flows in and out.
You can find more detailed information on practices that will bring you into the present in my article “Mindfulness by the Minute.” Or you may enjoy practicing with one of the brief, helpful videos provided at Instant Mindfulness.
If you’ll weave increasing visits to the Now throughout your day, it won’t take you long to appreciate the clarity of mind they bring and the enhanced abilities they provide to focus on whatever task you choose to do and to make more enlightened decisions.
The present truly is your point of power. Dip into it often. It will let you make the most of life and bring you gifts of great awareness, peace, freedom and effective action.