Being fully present is a challenge. Very rarely do we devote 100% of time or attention to one task or one person. Why?
Are we so over-stimulated by television, video games, and other forms of multi-media that our highly evolved senses cannot enjoy things one at a time? I doubt it.
Are we so busy that we cannot afford to devote an entire span of time to one person or to one thing? It often feels like this is the case, but it isn’t true.
I think that so many of the tasks and encounters we have on a regular basis are hollow, empty, and superficial. We crave a deep, emotional and spiritual connection to something – anything – and when we can’t find it, we bombard ourselves with hundreds of experiences and sensations on a daily basis, hoping that quantity will fill the void left by poor quality.
It doesn’t seem to work that way. For example, I get more fulfillment from an hour of focused, intense yoga than I do from a whole day of Twitter, Facebook, and SMS interactions! In fact, yoga shows me this theory more clearly than anything else I do: If I am not focused and fully present when practicing my routine, I fall over and am generally quite unable to achieve my desired poses. However, if I can manage to focus and do only yoga for a period of time, I emerge from the exercise feeling focused and invigorated, ready to tackle the other things left to do in a day.
To practice this theory (instead of just preaching it), I’m trying something new. Whether it’s an hour-long chat with a dear friend, an evening spent watching a favorite movie with a loved one, or a run on the treadmill with nothing but the sound of my feet pounding away, I am trying to be as present as possible. So far, the more present I am, the more valuable my experience and the more my spirit and soul feel refueled and refreshed.
- Next time you go for a run or a walk, don’t have the music playing in the background or the tv running in the foreground. Just run or walk.
- Next time you meet a friend for coffee, leave the cellphone in your purse or pocket and focus, solely and completely, on your conversation and camaraderie.
- Next time you sit down to watch a movie, do just that. Don’t knit, eat, write, answer the phone, or tidy the kitchen. Just sit and enjoy.
I guarantee that you will feel more present in your experience. It is well worth it, and it is truly a gift.