Today’s episode #023 is titled – HELLO? HELLO? ARE YOU PRESENT? In this episode, we will discuss the importance of being in the present moment in your daily life and with those around you.
How often do you often find yourself physically but not mentally present with not only yourself but in your interactions with your family, friends, co-workers and the world in general?
What does it mean to live fully in the present moment? It means that your awareness is completely centered on the here and now. You are not worrying about the future or thinking about the past. When you live in the present, you are living where life is happening. The past and future are illusions, they don’t exist.
How many of you are in the present moment right now? Are you listening without judgment or thinking of the past or future?
Do you exhibit any of these symptoms of not being in the present moment:
- Are you thinking about what else you could be doing versus focusing on what you are engaged in right now?
- Do you craft a response before people even finish their sentences or not actively listening to what they are actually telling you?
- How often do you interrupt people who are speaking to you before they even finish their conversations?
- Do you mentally shut off your interactions with others before it even occurs because you have already judged the person or persons?
- Do you constantly check your technology (phone, laptop, your watch) in the midst of a conversation or activity with others?
- Lacking the ability to sit quietly with just your thoughts and no outside input. Would you freak out if I said I want you to go into a room for 30 minutes, focus on only you and write down your thoughts, ideas and opinions with no outside stimulation?
Not being present in the moment is an epidemic in our country and its not just the younger generations like everyone believes. In speaking to young adults about not being present, they will tell you that their parents only half way listen to them because they are engaged in every other task but being present with them. It is really impacting them as they do not feel they are being listened to and are imitating us as they grow up.
How many of you have family or friends that are never in the present? I value those family and friends who when we are out are in the moment without any outside distractions. This is such an oddity today that moments like this stand out because of the meaningful and engaging times we have whether it’s being out on the golf course, having drinks or just sitting around talking. I seek to engage with these friends as much as I can. I have one dear friend that due to his lack of being in the present moment we have a rule that when we are together he can’t have his cell phone around when we are driving, playing golf, talking or having dinner because he won’t be in the moment.
The epidemic of not being in the present moment is, as you can well imagine, rampant in corporate America. As a consultant who regularly presents the results of critical engagements that my clients have paid a lot of money for; it is maddening to see most of your audience not present in the moment. They are checking their technology, doodling, not actively listening and/or digesting what you are saying. Clients often tell me Michael be ready because our senior executives are ADD and don’t listen; really? What a poor excuse; not being in the moment is accepted as the norm by so many people today.
So, what are some steps to getting yourself to be present in the moment:
- Remember that not being fully immersed in the present is nothing more than a habit that you have the option of breaking right now, in this moment!
- Discard thoughts of depreciation. When you find yourself depreciating anyone or anything in your immediate present moment space, see if you can substitute a thought of appreciation. For example, rather than being bored by a conversation, shift your thoughts to, “I am going to spend the next few moments just loving this person for who he is, and nothing more.” This removal of judgment brings you back to being fully in the present.
- Take time to meditate. Meditation is difficult for many people because their thoughts are always on some distant object or place. One form of meditation is to label the thought as it appears and then choose to let it go. This practice helps you first become aware of your thoughts, which many of us need to do so that we can return to the present moment.
- Practice enjoying each phase of your meal (and your day!) for itself, rather than having your thoughts on dessert while you are consuming the appetizer or the glass of wine. The essence of the entire message here is to be here now. Is there really any other place to be?
- Detach yourself from your technology and have technology-free times when you are out with your family and friends. If you are out to dinner by yourself, sit at the bar and engage with others in conversation.
When you are present, nothing is missing. Time seems to stretch. And the reason it does is that it’s our thoughts—our crowded, worried minds—that make us feel so rushed.
When you are present, a day seems like a week; a month, like a year. Presence enables you to see that this body, your home, the place you’ve spent years trying to change, is a pretty cool place to be.