You are the Present
This phrase can be interpreted in many ways, and together these perspectives form a kaleidoscopic view of your life and place in the world. The kaleidoscope offers a colourful, enchanting window into a vision that seems bathed in synergy and harmony. Yet the astonishing thing about it is that it’s created through symmetrical fragmentation in the apparatus of the optical instrument.
Put simply: what you see as a gorgeous interplay of shapes and colours on a perfectly formed canvas is actually a broken tapestry that coalesces into a beautiful unity.
What does being present mean?
Let’s explore this interesting phrase further:
“You are the present” can mean that the most powerful representation of yourself is the one living the current moment. Your sense of being can only be fully appreciated when you’re immersed in the condition of the present.
It can also mean that you can bring the gift of presence to others in your life, thus becoming a “present” yourself. Being present in key moments in your loved ones’ journey and your own nurtures a deep bond that is rooted in the act of giving. “You are the present through your presence”.
Or you might think that “you are the present” means that the very concept of you can only be understood in terms of the present. The past you is a different being that can’t be magically conjured back, and the future you is yet to take shape. So the only you that is real and immediately accessible, in a sense, is the present you.
Consider these three complementary interpretations. By being present, we enter the flow of natural time and become the unified kaleidoscopic vision, avoiding the trap of locking ourselves up in the disruptive, jagged corners of the bigger picture.
How can you be present?
As you would in a yoga class, leave distractions at the door. Smartphones and other technological gadgets can be a great assistant for daily tasks, giving you the illusion you can be anywhere, anytime in modern life. This is simply a convenient lie.
You can only give your whole self to one thing at a time, and the more you try to split your attention to serve many different agendas, the more diluted your effort and achievement become.
If you’re in a noisy environment, try stepping out into a quieter place. If you’re overloaded with stimuli, try focusing on your company and initiating human interaction. If you’re running scenarios about tomorrow’s workload in your head, let go of the tension and let the future – with all its trials and tribulations – come as it will.
Disconnecting from the clutter that engulfs us everyday is the first and most important step to rejoining hands with the present moment.
The breath is sacred and central to yoga practice. It has a physiological root that activates a horde of psychological benefits when truly mastered. We take breathing for granted as it’s one of the unconscious actions of the human body, so we don’t need to think about it to do it. This doesn’t mean we automatically breathe well!
An average of 23,000 breaths a day normally sees a person fluctuate from the shallow, ‘staccato’ breaths of excitement to the deeper, longer breaths drawn during sleep. Be mindful of your breathing and try incorporating the full yogic breath in phases of anxiety or stress to revert your consciousness to the present. This also converts the unconscious act of breathing into a conscious act regulated by your mind, which forces your wandering consciousness into the here and now.
Stress is often the result of the “cutting up” of our normal flow of consciousness by negative assumptions based on past occurrences or future fears. The more you concentrate on attending to the present moment through your breath, the quicker these unnecessary burdens melt away.
Connection is the pathway to fulfillment, and this starts with the present. Consider the fallacy of the anxious and lonely man, who in his desperate quest to form a long-term relationship that will see him well into the future, fails to live in the present. He will feel his “valid” self is tied to a future concept of his identity which may and may not materialise, leading to problems in self-perception.
Connecting with the present comes with enormous difficulty to the man but is imperative in establishing fertile ground for his desire to be satisfied. This is the man who worries about being forever alone and avoids intimate human contact while craving deep interpersonal connection.
Preoccupied with thoughts about the future, he neglects the present and the richness of possibility it offers. A friendly approach from a stranger, an invitation to join a group activity, a genuine display of selflessness all go shunned by the reflex reaction that the present doesn’t matter as much.
Which side do you want to be on? The anxious man or the benevolent presence? Connect with your fellow human beings, your favourite things, your passions and your dreams as these form the kaleidoscope of your life. We are all the present!
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