I’d like to talk about my experience of being present and how I came around it. Something that wasn’t only a realisation in my mind but a feeling in my body as well.
A knowledge of how one IS when they are present in the moment.
I have started doing some regular meditation sessions. I’m using an app called Headspace, and without being affiliated with the company – I’d recommend it to anyone. When you sign up you start with ten meditation sessions lasting 10 minutes each. When you finish these you can continue to the next ten 15-minute meditation sessions. And then off to the 20-minute long ones. So in the course of 30 session (30 days if you manage to do it every day) you have established a good and steady routine of meditation practice. I am currently on session 25.
It is very clever and beautifully done. At the end of the day, it’s all about building the practice and training the mind – getting some much desired headspace.
Gradually I became aware that my goal with meditation and mindfulness is that I want to be able to integrate that feeling in my daily life. When I’m undergoing some stress, I want to be able to realise what that is and come back to my breath and the present moment.
I can give you an example. I recently started driving – I’ve had my driving licence for 8 years, but since I came to Ireland I haven’t used it. It was time to revive this forgotten skill and I started to drive in carparks at first, then in quieter streets, and gradually moving closer to the busier roads. I was also with my partner in the car.
Then a day came when he couldn’t come with me and I had to pick up my son from school on my own. I have been doing this route for a while and it wasn’t unfamiliar. But nevertheless, I was so nervous that day, knowing I have to go out driving by myself, that I felt queasy and nauseous.
Recognising what that was I still couldn’t calm myself down. I’ve given my mind so much power that I was powerless in reasoning with it. I kept rehearsing the route and winding myself up for failure. My mind was ruthless and I was at its mercy.
On this occasion I performed well. But then on another occasion – I nearly cut out the car while trying to start on a hill.
Well, I didn’t cut it out. But still, for the rest of the day I kept repeating the scenario in my head and experiencing the discomfort. I was going back, analysing what I’ve done and overthinking the “incident”.
I didn’t give myself any credit for the fact that I managed to bring my son back home safe. But I kept beating myself up for NEARLY cutting out the car!
I got so puzzled by my own self. Or should I say my mind. I couldn’t believe that my mind was so relentlessly repeating that record in my head, completely oblivious of any other significant achievements.
I was puzzled but I could understand why. And yet, I felt so bothered and bogged down. I felt weary.
In fact, I realised that this is how I feel most of the time – weary in my head, which also transmutes into physical tiredness.
I also realised why this is happening.
A few weeks later I experienced an awareness in my body that I feel weary because I constantly want to do something else. And it so happens that I can’t do that particular thing at the moment. I either have to take care of my son, take care of the house or other chores, but I don’t get to do this thing that I want to do (which is obviously not any of the above mentioned).
And there’s always something. I always find a million things I’m interested in and want to check them out. On top of that, I have my social media profiles and a mail app which makes sure to notify me of every coming email straight away, throughout the day. And I also want to keep up the writing, I want to read, I want to do something creative and I want to exercise.
Tug, tug, tug…
I realised these things keep tugging at me every single moment. Thus preventing me to be in the present moment and enjoying what I’m doing at that exact time.
Furthermore, these things keep hijacking our thoughts and our minds, taking them somewhere else – in the past or the future. And I realised that this other place where my mind wanders off is anywhere but home, anywhere but with me. It is always concerned with the world, the others – all external things. Always there, but never here.
And I became aware that this is why I never get to enjoy myself, my presence.
I never enjoy what I AM doing, whether it is playing with my son, cooking a meal, or doing the stuff I like.
I don’t even get a chance to see myself. I don’t know myself.
And that’s why I don’t love myself. I’ve never really been with myself.
And that’s why I’m not living a full, complete, contented life. Because I’m never here, I’m never home for myself. And I ache and my relationships with others suffer.
Come back to the breath. Be with the thoughts and feelings and noises in and outside of your head. But then gently come back to the breath. Come back to yourself.
Greet yourself and start building this relationship. You have been waiting for this a long time.
And I am sure you will fall in love.
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