What stops you from living in the present moment?

The internal chatter / monkey mind

The mind can be crazy, talking about all manner of unrelated subjects, jumping from one thing to another. Its wants and dislikes, looks into the future and worries about the past. A book could be written just about the constant chatter we all have in our minds.

There’s no way to be truly in the moment for very long when our mind is chasing thoughts

I like the Buddhist term for internal chatter and the default mind state. They call it the ‘monkey mind’. The funny thing about the monkey mind is that we’re not even aware of how dysfunctional and out of control the mind is. The mind is constantly trying to grasp onto the ‘me’ or ‘ego’ and will do anything to stop us from loosening its grip.

When do you realise the internal chatter?

Focusing awareness consistently on one activity, object or word will help us become aware of the constant thoughts and thinking, even if we think our mind is blank (it’s not really because this is just another layer to cover up the chatter).

Concentrating on one thing like breathing meditation is a great way to Quiet the mind and will lead to glimpses of the ego, me voice, or I thought.

What are the benefits of living in the present moment

  • Freedom from anxiety and depression.
  • Heightened awareness of what’s happening in the here and now
  • No longer stuck in the past
  • Or worrying about the future
  • You will become more productive.
  • Less stress and wasted energy on things you cannot change.
  • Able to find life more enjoyable

What can help you be more present in the moment?

Mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation is very useful tool to bring awareness to this internal chatter. Renowned Western Buddhist author I John Kabbat Zinns definition of Mindfulness is

“The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to the unfolding of experience”

Make Your Own Rituals.

Taking part in rituals takes you out of the everyday

As simple as lighting a candle or as complex as including a variety of different components, they may be tailored to suit the needs of the individual.
Individually or in a group, these can be accomplished.
There are a variety of rituals that might help you stay in the now.
When done with sincerity, rituals fill you up and soothe your spirit.
Even in the midst of hardships, you may maintain a sense of normalcy by taking frequent time-outs from your daily routine.
In spite of what is occurring in the world around you, they serve as constant reminders that you are still here.

Sounds can also bring you into the present moment

Thich Nhat Hanh is a famous Buddhist teacher who had retreats in the United States. Popular for his use of church bells heard while at his mindfulness practice center ‘Plum village’. Here’s an excerpt from one of his books to help you understand.

“we practice stopping every time we hear the sound of a bell. Whether it is the great temple bell, the clock chiming in the dining hall, the bells of the surrounding village churches, or even the sound of the telephone—as soon as we hear the sound of the bell, we take a moment simply to stop, relax, and breathe. We come back to ourselves and to the present moment. If we’re talking, we stop talking. If we’re walking, we stop walking. If we’re carrying something, we put it down. We return to our breathing and arrive in our body in the here and now. We relax and just enjoy listening to the sound of the bell.

Listening to the bell, we enter into a deep relationship with the present moment that embraces limitless time and limitless space. The past and the future are right here in the present moment.”

Mindful activities

The fact that single-tasking is the polar opposite of multitasking is most likely something you predicted (right!).
All that is required is that you devote your whole attention to whatever endeavour you are engaged in.

If you’re working on a computer, keep your attention on a single task at a time.
Close all of the browser tabs that aren’t related to the project you’re working on, no matter how much you’d like to avoid doing so.
This can assist in clearing mental space and, in certain cases, may even aid to produce laser-like focus.

Concentrate on the following points to develop your practise:

Your breathing pattern, how your body feels in your seat or how your feet feel on the floor if you’re standing, the sensation of air or the feel of your garments against your skin are all important factors to consider.

the physical structure and posture of your body.

Extreme activities can bring you into the present moment

Everyone isn’t a fan of quiet, low-key activities.

This doesn’t rule out the possibility of finding pockets of calm elsewhere.

It is possible to find moments of attention even in the most difficult conditions.

These are the times when our hands are sweaty and our hearts are racing, and when our mind instructs our body to “let go” despite all of our instincts.

Adrenaline and the discipline necessary to participate in “extreme sports” have been proved to have a calming effect on the human mind.

Indoor skydiving and other high-intensity activities need you to thoroughly immerse yourself in the moment.
A natural state of awareness can be achieved in this way.

When flying at 110mph, the body releases adrenaline and kicks off endorphins within, leaving little or no place for superfluous thoughts.

It’s a full-body workout that improves our mental agility and makes us more present-oriented.

Apps to help you be in the present moment

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