Are You Here? Are You Now? Are You Present?

No matter how much we try, plan, plot, arrange, have things to do, leave the house at the same time each day, arrive at the office the same time, pick up the kids on time, we still do not know what will happen next. Each day can so easily seem the same when we follow a routine of going to work, sitting at the same desk, coming home the way we always do. Did you ever feel like it is always Monday morning as the week goes by so fast, or as if you are always brushing your teeth, as the days seem to vanish?

When we were in England, Ed was chatting with a Buddhist nun named Avis. He said, “Some day we will all die and meet up in heaven.” And Avis replied, “Yeah and we’ll look at each other and say, ‘What was that all about!’”

Normally, we spend our time either living in what-could-have-been or what-might-have-been or if-only, or in the expectation of what-could-be or what-might-be. Of course, we can learn from the past. As challenging as it may be, the most painful experience often turns out to be our best teacher, and we may feel enormous gratitude as we learned so much. However, memories can also be like comfortable old shoes we are reluctant to part with. We put them on now and then to enjoy the familiarity, but we do not have to wear them every day. Ed trained at the Bihar School of Yoga in India and one day his teacher looked at him and said, “Man’s memory is like a fools paradise!” Constantly living in either the past or the future is like being in a dream, as it limits our capacity to be in the wonder of the present, just being with what is happening now.

Although everything may appear so predictable the reality is that life changes in every instant, we just don’t notice it. We used to live next to a river and walked beside it each day. But as much as it looked like the same river, even the same water, it was constantly different as it flowed into the sea. Just as we may look the same, the cells in our body are forever being formed, growing and dying; we are continually changing as we renew ourselves in every minute.

We can stay open to these moments of change by simply being aware of them. Right now, just stop and take a deep breath. As you breath out, just notice how your body feels, the chair you are sitting on, and the room you are in. That’s all. It only takes an instant to be in the present.

Contrary to common belief, it can be immensely liberating to have nothing going on, to discover that the whole universe is contained in this moment. To realize that nothing more is required of us than to just be aware and present. What a relief! Finally, we can experience this reality just as it is, without expectation, prejudice, or longing, or without the desire for something to be different. This invites a deep sense of completion, that there really is nowhere else we need to be or go. It is impossible to think of somewhere else as being better as the grass is vividly green exactly where we are. Someone once asked Ed if he had ever experienced another dimension. He replied, “Have you experienced this one?”

Meditating In the Moment

When we meditate by simply watching the flow of the breath, it naturally brings us into the present. The breath is just breathing, and yet it is never the same, each breath is completely different to the last one. You can silently repeat, “I am here, I am now, I am present! I am here, I am now, I am present!”

Practice: Being and Breathing Meditation

Sit comfortably with your back straight, hands are in your lap, eyes are closed. Spend a few minutes settling your body, being aware of the room around you and the chair you are sitting on.

Now bring your focus to your breathing, just watch the natural movement of air as you breathe in and out. Silently repeat, “Breathing in, Breathing out.”

Stay with watching your breath. If your mind starts to drift just see your thoughts as birds in the sky and watch them fly away. Then come back to the breath.

Anytime you get distracted, bored, or stressed, just come back to the breath, to this moment now. Silently repeat, “I am here, I am now, I am present! I am here, I am now, I am present!”

You can do this for a few minutes or as long as you like. When you are ready, take a deep breath and let it go, open your eyes, and move gently.

What keeps you from being here and now? Do comment below.

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48 comments

Emma S.
Emma S.4 years ago

It's true about the moment, isn't it? I find it easy to run ahead, either with dread or with anticipation. After reading the article, I sat in the chair and stretched, looked out into the night, listened to Ian Dury, and thought life wasn't really too bad in the present moment!

Treesa Math
tia Math5 years ago

thank u :)

Janine F.
Janine F.6 years ago

thanks for the post.
I find it dificult to stay in the present. depending on my mood I either worry about what I have done or what I may face in the future. At best I plan the things that I would like to do in the future. It is suprisingly hard to stay in the present, but I am getting better at it.
About a year ago I became awear that I had been trained over many years to continualy think about what I will be doing next it the interest of efficiency , multitasking and increased output. I also became awear that it was making me stressed, unhappy and inefficient as I was failing to give my full atention to what I was doing now.

Catherine Smith
Catherine Heckel6 years ago

I am always plannig for the future, never in the now. Thanks for this article. I stopped and and looked around my room and said, "That is ..., this is... and I did get a small sense of being in the present. I just need practice. Many thanks.

Ed And Deb S.

jo K - Thanks for ya comment --just to let you know we offer our blog/article at no cost at all. Hope you benefit like the 40 others who have said they appreciate it!

Also the cd's and books have helped thousands-

Treasure Yourself - Ed

Luana C.
Luana C.6 years ago

that's one lovely article :) thanks!

Mike Masley
Michael Masley6 years ago

Be here now.

Kelsey C.
Kelsey C.6 years ago

Thank you.

Linda Mills
Linda Mills6 years ago

thanks

Lloyd Sevigny
Lloyd Sevigny6 years ago

@Victoria, Living in the moment is not supposed to feel like a forced regimen. If we observe carefully we always live in the moment.. did you think we had choice in this matter? The only choice is surrender, surrender to life as it comes to you without judgement, anticipation, anxiety or fear. There is also requirement for acceptance. If I may suggest, try to understand that you are not your thoughts, nor the emotions which come from thoughts. These things are a desire place to be in control, and this is impossible, for if it were everyone would be enlightened as easy as falling off of a log. The attachment to thoughts is the desire to attachment. To follow your thoughts without a care. This is also impossible. Just watch your thoughts as they flow by, why give preeminence to one thought over another? That is the way to insanity. And don't feel bad, most of our fellow humans are living the lives of drunken monkeys. It's not their fault nor are they at fault. The mind is an exquisite tool, but you must be the master and watch the mind.. otherwise it will dictate your every action and reaction in your life. Just look "inside" find what makes you smile and be content with yourself. You are a beautiful being of love and light. So I say to you, Namaste!