What are your criteria for the Now being ok?
Mindfulness can be seen as a practice where we become aware of what takes us away from being present, of what keeps us from not accepting the present moment.
Why is that so important the mind might ask?
When we are not accepting of the Now we live in resistance to what is – we pretend or are off with the thought fairies. We live parallel realities between what is and our thoughts, like fingers in the ears… ‘la-la-la.’
Of course not all thoughts take us out of the present but thoughts easily become a veil between us and what is. Our thinking ideally is a tool for life, not an obstacle for experiencing life.
Living identified with thought causes stress, rumination, more misery and pain than necessary, we miss out on joy and beauty. Often we feel overwhelmed, disconnected from others, and perhaps also we don’t feel that we care that much about others and the list goes on.
In the Now is life; out of the Now is thoughts about life, ideas about life but not life itself.
The thoughts that take us out of the Now, come in various formats:
- ‘It is not right’
- ‘He/she/they are not right’
- ‘I am not right
The ‘it is not right’ might be that the traffic is not flowing, the body is not the way it should be, the world is not as it should be, the house is not as it should be, it isn’t fair, it isn’t right.
The ‘he/she/they are not right’ might be that the employees or colleagues are not as they should be, our children, parents, partner, politicians, public figures etc. are not how they should be. It also includes comparing; ‘they are so rich, beautiful, clever, successful’ this leads us straight to: ‘I am not right’.
We can be curious around our interpretation of the other. Are we concluding that a certain aspect of them is them in toto. Are we not allowing them to be what they are but wanting them to fit into our idea of how they should be? If ‘yes’, what are we missing? Are we seeing them or blinded by our projection?
The ‘I am not right’ comes in many forms; ‘I should not have said that, I am ugly, I am inconsiderate, I am not a good parent, I am not good enough, I am really special, I am unique, I am shy, silly, stupid, weak, bossy etc. etc.
When we feel disconnected, we are disconnected from the Now, be that presence with others, nature, the body, or with our senses. The disconnection stems from feeling disconnected through rushing, habits/autopilot, poor attention management or identification with thought, as described above. Sometimes the disconnection arises as a lingering dissatisfaction based in the body, just looking for some thoughts that can become the cause or that justify the dissatisfaction. Tricky little system this human-being!
In mindfulness, our practice is to notice our resistance to, and disconnection from the Now, and then to be with that resistance in the body, as a body sensation. In effect we process it through the body as a body sensation.
So in the midst of all the thought noise take time to:
Be still – and notice what arises.
Be still – and notice the contents of this moment.
Be still – and notice the body.
Be still – and notice the heart beating.
Be still – and notice your essential beingness.
Tolle says the most important thing is this: ‘Can I sense my essential ‘beingness’ at all times’. Naturally this ‘beingness’ can only be noticed in the Now. As soon as we still the mind our ‘beingness’ arises.