In fact, it is more complicated to escape the present moment than to be in it.
The problem is, we are naturally complicated!
We learn early in life to avoid the simplicity of the moment and live inside an entangled mind-mess.
So, back to basics!
We connect to the present moment through our five senses. In this article, we’ll review simple ways to use three of your senses to sweep away the mind-mess and just be present. No drama. Just present.
The trick is to avoid making meaning. When you make meaning, you must go inside your mind. It is so easy at that point to make meaning that is emotionally upsetting.
All of us need a break from the internal commotion.
For me, the external present is the break I need. It is so calm and mundane – no mind chatter, no worry about the future, no regret, no problem. We cannot spend all of our time aware of the immediate now, but spending some time here every day is extraordinarily calming.
The key to getting really calm is to pay attention to the consistent and mundane. We can do it by listening, feeling and seeing in particular ways. Here are some examples. Do not just read….do!
Listen: Choose white noise and tune in fully. The sound of a fan. The hum of the refrigerator. The sound of running water, such as when you are in the shower. Mundane, consistent white noise is what you want.
Tune in, just listen and do not try to relax – just tune in to the sound. After a few seconds, you will feel yourself “settle.” Research has proven that this settling is related to your brain’s Default Mode Network (DMN). It switches off when engaged in this kind of conscious task. The DMN is the brain’s autopilot – which is commonly called the “inner commotion machine.”
Feel: Feel textures and temperatures in your immediate environment. The feel of the texture of your clothing on your skin. Feel the temperature of the table, or something cool. Feel the rough texture of your blue jeans against the back of your hand.
Put all of your attention on the feeling and forget everything else. You should experience the same settling after a few seconds. When you settle, you have arrived in the calm of the here and now!
See: See patterns, shapes and textures. Don’t see “what” things are. See how they are. Textures, shapes and patterns are everywhere! When you look at your house, see the texture of the siding. See the overall shape of the home and the pattern or texture in the brick, stone or stucco, for example.
The visual is more complicated because we are so used to labeling things, making meaning out of them and getting lost in that meaning. However, when you simply see patterns, shapes and texture, you see the world differently – much calmer.
I hope you found this article useful. If the exercises were mildly beneficial, then you might want to investigate the iNLP Center Tame the DMN stress relief program, which takes further steps to clear mind clutter and expands on these methods to enter the present moment. Click here for more information.
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Last reviewed: 3 May 2013