In my last post, we explored what the cliché of what “Who You Really Are” actually means, and once defined, opened the question of how to access our most authentic selves. This question leads us to our next cliché’ of “being present.”
We have heard the term “be here now” for decades, but aren’t we all here? Now? Ironically, truth be told, few of us actually are, hence the need for the reminder. But why? Why do we need to reel our minds from wherever they wander back into the present moment?
Because, in my experience, the present moment is where we find the doorway to our authentic selves. A bit akin to the magical doorway to Narnia, by bringing our awareness into the present moment we are able to step through the doorway into our authentic self. It cannot be accessed while thinking about the future or the past, or the greener pastures on the other side of the fence, or in the midst of a fantasy or drama. Our authentic selves can only be accessed by being present in the moment.
How do we get into the present moment? All I can share with you is the way I do it; there may be a thousand ways. I do it by taking a deep breath while simultaneously moving my attention from my mind to my heart. It is literally and figuratively as if I take a “down elevator” from the workings of my mind into my body. I tap into the present through my senses. I notice what I hear, smell, feel, see, and sense. I bring my awareness to the breeze on my skin, the pressure on my feet, the draping of my clothing, the depth of my breath. Once I begin to notice what is happening all around me and within me, I feel the door to my heart, the inner temple, open. I don’t know whether at that point I enter the temple and experience peace or whether when the temple doors open the peace flows out becoming all pervading, but it doesn’t really matter which it is, if peace is found.
Swami Prabhavananda said in his book, How to Know God, “If the body is thought of as a busy and noisy city, then we can imagine that, in the middle of this city, there is a little shrine, and that, within this shrine, the Atman, our real nature, is present. No matter what is going on in the streets outside, we can always enter that shrine and worship. It is always open.”
So, in practical terms, when you are going about your day and start to feel stressed out, or a bad interaction with another is about to take place, imagine WWYHSD (what would your Higher Self do)? Become self-observant of what qualities and characteristics you are tapping into: those of your authentic self or those of your ego mind? Notice whether your choice is serving you. Take a deep breath and transcend your ego. Bring your attention to the present. Take another deep breath. Bring your full awareness to where you are now, and when you feel more alive, more connected, more centered, balanced, and grounded, you will begin to see things from a different perspective: one that is wiser and one that operates less from a than a win-lose, right-wrong mindset into more of a win-win one.
Once we have gotten present and stepped into our own sacred center if you will, we can then look to the past or the future and make wiser decisions, anchored in our wisdom, intuition, creativity, etc.
It is my experience that all the cliché terms that we throw around haphazardly have deep roots in powerful lessons, we just sometimes have to take a step back and think about them for a moment. Then we peel away the layers to reveal a deep and meaningful truth.
In my next post, let’s take a peek at the “ego” … what exactly is that and how do we know when it is ruling the roost?