Presence is a word you’ve probably heard before, likely tied to mindfulness, meditation or yoga. “Be Present” is a common quote on social media, blogs and self-help books. But what is it exactly and why does it matter?
Presence is, quite simply, when your mind, body and spirit are in the same place at the same time. It is now. You become one with the present moment, aware and alive with what is happening only in that space and time. You are no longer lamenting about the past or worrying about the future. If only for a brief moment, you are one with yourself and the world around you. Ah.. doesn’t that sound wonderful?!?
Why being present matters.
The benefits of presence are endless. When you’re present, your body and central nervous system settle down, allowing for natural healing (e.g. lower blood pressure, improved immune system, less stress response flowing through your body). It slows the engines, even if only for a few minutes.
Your spirit is lifted and you feel lighter. When experiencing being present you are closest to your higher self and the most connected to your higher power, whatever that may be. A space opens when you’re quiet with yourself, a space that begins to be filled with clarity, creativity and peace. It’s truly a beautiful thing.
And for busy people, like most of us, being present brings us the gift of experiencing all that life has to offer in the here and now. When we’re too busy worrying about things that have already happened, might happen in the future or are out of our control, we miss out!! All we’re guaranteed is this moment so don’t waste a minute of it. At the end of your life, will you ever look back and regret spending more time being present with your kids, grandkids, family or friends? Can you say that about work?
Presence is always available to you.
This magic isn’t just available just to yogis and Buddhist monks. You certainly don’t have to sit in meditation for hours to find your peace. Mindfulness can happen anywhere, at anytime, and is accessible to everyone right now. It takes some conscious practice though, but you’ll find that once you get a taste of this brand of peace you’ll keep coming back for more. As a bonus, you’ll also find that it opens the door to more joy in your life.
Try a little mindful exercise.
As a certified mindfulness practitioner, let me tell you that mindfulness is a pathway to peace. You can take a mindful minute while eating lunch, taking your dog for a walk, or even brushing your teeth. While you’re doing an activity, think about each of your senses. This keeps your monkey mind at bay, allowing for beauty of the moment to be present for you.
Run through each of your senses:
- What do I see as I’m walking, eating an orange, or looking at a tree? Notice every detail of the object if that’s your focus or everything around you.
- What do I hear? Listen for all of the sounds, even the faintest whispers.
- What do I smell? Acknowledge each smell from the outdoors, the food, etc.
- What do I touch? Tune into whatever is touching your body – the orange, fork, wind, clothes, or your feet against the pavement.
- What do I taste? If you’re eating, identify each taste one at a time.
Give it a try and let me know what happened for you. Notice how your body, mind and spirit feel before and after the exercise. If you’re used to running 100 miles per hour, it may take a little practice but keep at it. The benefits are worth it.