Mankind for all these years has been identified with “thinking” as a means to work out life. Very few humans, in the past, have transcended thinking to experience a higher way of living which is rooted in the intelligence of the pure consciousness or presence.
However, the present age is the time of awakening, and more and more humans are waking up to the truth of their nature, to their true identity, which then allows them to live in a new way.
The Practice of Being in the Present Moment
The practice of living in the now, or present moment awareness, is an opening into waking up our “consciousness” from being identified with a pseudo-identity created by the mind. Once consciousness becomes free of mind identification it leads to “self-realization” and a new way of living free of suffering and struggle.
Awakening is a process of self-realization where we realize that who we are is essentially “pure consciousness” and not an image based “ego” identity created by the mind. The ego by itself is not a problem but once consciousness loses itself into believing that it’s the “ego” it leads to suffering and struggle, as experienced by most humans.
The practice of staying in the now helps free the consciousness from this identification, and leads to an awakening. Many people who are new to this practice have questions about being in the present. Here are a few pointers which will guide you with this practice.
1.) The Now is All There is, Stay Conscious of It
Many people who start practicing staying in the now (or staying present), are confused about how to focus on the now.
Staying in the now is not about “focusing” on a moment in time, but about staying “aware” or alert, instead of being lost in thoughts.
When you initially start practicing “presence” you will notice that you cannot retain your presence for more than a few seconds before your consciousness is dragged into thoughts.
As your practice continues, your presence will become stronger and stronger, while the hold of your mind will become weaker. It won’t be long before you realize that you are not the thoughts, or a thought based identity, but pure consciousness who is the “witness” of everything.
This “awareness” is who you essential are and it’s eternal, the creator of all forms, the one being and when it becomes aware of itself it awakens to it’s existence – this is awakening or enlightenment. Once it wakes up to itself, it moves away from it’s preoccupation with “thinking” and moves into “being”, which is a highly intelligent state of existence.
2.) Presence is a State of No Thinking
It’s important to know that the state of presence is about being alert without “thinking”, but that does not mean that no thoughts will arise in the mind. Thoughts may arise in the space of your mind, and move in and out, but your practice should be to stay aware without being taken up by these thoughts.
Presence is a state of being not a state of thinking, but thoughts can arise in the state of alert presence. Once “awareness” becomes strong, it will not be taken up by thoughts, but will stay as a steady current of consciousness, which in essence is a state of high wisdom and intelligence.
3.) Being Present Will Take Some Effort
Staying in the present moment is a state of alertness, and initially it does require effort on your part. All along you have been addicted to thinking, and there is a tremendous attraction created by every “self based” thought that enters your mind.
To stay in the now one has to start disengaging from this addiction to thought, and like all addictions it takes time and effort to get kick the habit. Once you put in the effort to strengthen your awareness, it’s only a matter of time before you wake out of your mind based identification and move into living life directly from the presence of your being, in pure awareness every moment of your day.
Remember that “you” are “awareness”, and it’s only due to language that it appears as if there are two, when there is only one.
4.) Be Steady with Your Practice of Staying Alert
Don’t be discouraged when you see yourself getting pulled into thoughts while you practice staying in the now. It will take time before your awareness becomes strong enough to resist the pull of thoughts.
It may take a few months to a year, before your consciousness wakes up fully from mind identification and starts moving through life without constantly being pulled into “thinking”.
When consciousness starts moving by itself, without needing to check up with the mind, it moves in a highly intelligent manner and the power that has created this universe is unleashed to start creating autonomously, this opens up the potential for untold grace and abundance.
5.) Being Present is About Waking Up Awareness
All spiritual teachers have pointed to the normal waking state, in un-awakened humans, as a “dream state” where awareness is identified with thoughts and though based identity.
Awareness “thinks” of itself as a person and takes on all the limitations of that come with the external human conditioning – this is a highly powerless state. Nothing in the world of forms has any true existence without the light of consciousness shining on it, that’s the power of consciousness.
But when this consciousness is lost in thoughts and is identified with the mind, this pure intelligence becomes powerless.
When you stay in the now, by keeping your attention on the present moment without being lost in thoughts, this consciousness, which you are, start waking up from mind identification and automatically becomes “self aware” i.e awareness becomes aware of itself as awareness.
This is the goal of staying in the now, and once this is accomplished, awareness will automatically start taking over from the mind and this will lead to a way of living which is free of fear, suffering and struggle, and is full of abundance and well-being.
So in summary the question of how to stay in the now can be answered in three simple pointers:
- Keep your awareness from being lost in thoughts.
- Stay only as awareness without needing to gain identity from the mind.
- Don’t fall for the mind which will try to constantly trap your attention.
If you keep at the practice of being in the present moment, your consciousness will grow in power and will start becoming free of mind. Just be patient with yourself, this process usually takes close to a year before consciousness is truly free of the mind and realizes itself as being the one true “reality”. Once consciousness starts moving as consciousness, it creates beautifully, without any struggle or suffering.