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Ep. 1 — The paradox of being present in the moment

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We live in a world where every therapist and coach encourages you to stay present but being present doesn’t seem like an easy task.

If you look at the experts in spirituality and manifestation, like Eckhart Tolle, Joe Dispenza, and Sadhguru, you’ll find the same thing.

“Be present!” is their encouragement.

And I know that because I’ve been consuming their content. Until now, I’ve read Eckhart Tolle’s books (The Power of Now and A New Earth), meditated over 100 hours using Joe Dispenza guided meditation, and watched plenty of reels with Sadhguru on Instagram.

And I agree. Being present is extremely important for living a good life. But what happens when that good life is influenced by yesterday’s or tomorrow’s energy?

What does it mean to be present?

When I hear all these experts saying that you have to be present, it gives me the feeling that I should ignore whatever my past or my future is triggering inside of me and just focus on here and now.

But you can’t ignore something that happened in your past.

You can’t ignore the lack of emotional support your parents should have provided. You can’t ignore the abandonment of your best friend. You can’t ignore the poverty you lived in when you were a teenager. You can’t ignore all these things if they still influence your daily life.

At the same time, you can’t ignore the vision of the future in which you make more money, have better friends, have a healthy child, travel around the world, and so on. That vision is what makes you want to keep living.

And I kept insisting on using the word ‘ignore’ because you can’t ignore it and, at the same time, that’s not what being present is about.

While you can’t ignore the poverty you lived in when you were a teenager, you can accept that it happened and stay focused on the present moment.

While you can’t ignore the life you want to have two years from now, you can accept that it will take you two years to get there and stay focused on the present moment.

The challenge of being present

There’s a metaphor that I really like and it’s about goals and obstacles. But I’ll share it with you because it helps me better share my idea about being present.

The metaphor goes like this:

Imagine you are walking down the road and every 5 or 10 steps, you find a pebble and you put it inside your pocket. The pebble is not big – probably the size of the nail of your index finger.

After the first 50 steps, you won’t feel a difference. But the more you walk, the more you’ll feel some weight inside your pockets.

These pebbles are a metaphor for the obstacles that we experience in our lives. And all these obstacles are static elements on the road that is our life. But as soon as we put them in our pockets, we give them life and they stay with us for the rest of our days.

Now going back to being present, the more you focus on what happened in your past or what you believe will happen in your future, the more you give energy to these realities. So much so that eventually these realities will replace your current reality, which is the present moment.

I was comparing earlier the act of ignoring your past and future versus the act of accepting your past and future.

When you try to ignore something, you automatically invest effort into that. And the more attention your past or future consumes from you, the more effort it will require when you’ll try to ignore it.

On the other hand, acceptance doesn’t require any effort. Acceptance is effortless. Acceptance is letting go of whatever happened in your past or whatever you believe will happen in the future. Accept that what happened was meant to happen and what will happen is meant to happen. There’s no effort in that.

Being present is a juggling act

Imagine someone who is juggling three balls.

In fact, you don’t have to imagine it – when you have the time, just go on YouTube and watch someone juggle three balls.

You’ll see that most of their attention is on the ball in the air.

When you juggle three balls, you have to pay attention to the ball in the air because you’ll need to catch it and throw it to the other hand.

And since I like metaphors, the ball that’s in the air is the present moment. That’s where you have to put your attention.

But, at the same time, you know there’s a future and a past that are part of the process of juggling. The past is the ball from your right hand and the future is the ball from your left hand.

While you’re juggling, there’s no way you’ll be able to ignore the balls that you’re holding while a third ball is in the air. As soon as you do that, you’ll fail.

And that’s enough metaphors for today.

Where do you allocate most of your resources?

If being present is a struggle for you, it means your past or your future is getting more resources than needed. Some of these resources are time, mental energy, or emotional energy.

Becoming aware of how much energy you allocate to your past and future can help you redirect that energy to the present moment.

Therefore, let me help you do that with three guiding questions:

  • For a second, imagine that all your past problems are solved and whatever will happen in the future is what you expect to happen. How does that make a difference in how you feel?
  • What is one thing you overthink about your past? If you let it go, what changes in the way you think?
  • When you think about your future and the way you envision it, how much of that future is about becoming the kind of person that can sustain it?
Fun Fact: 0 % Happier Marriages

Did you know that optimistic people are 76% more likely to have a happy and fulfilling marriage?

All right, what I shared with you until now is what the paradox of being present in the moment means to me.

From now on, I’ll go through some of the things I shared with you and give you some insights.

Since the whole episode is built around being present, let’s start from there. So, how do I currently remind myself to be present in my day-to-day life?

There’s a belief I have and it is a constant reminder to stay present. It goes like this: I’m living my future – every single day.

What I’m living today is the result of all the decisions I made in the past and all the efforts associated with those decisions. They helped me build my habits, my lifestyle, my mindset.

Back then, these decisions were part of the present and in that present, what I’m living right now was the future.

Moving on, I mentioned Eckhart Tolle, Joe Dispenza, and Sadhguru. What are the specific lessons or practices I’ve got from these experts?

There’s a really valuable lesson I learned from Eckhart Tolle and the lesson is that ego depends on time and is fueled by time.

For example, let me ask you this: what are the things you need to be happy?

You may say you need a new car, or to be in a relationship, or to have your own house, or to travel the world. You may say you need all these things to be happy, but all these things require time.

Let me ask you one more thing: why can’t you be happy now?

Because you don’t have all these things?

I bet you can be happy without them, but is the ego that makes you identify with the version of yourself that has the things you want. And guess what? That requires time.

And, on top of that, there’s a trap that the ego has already prepared for you if you try to get rid of it.

If you believe that you’ll need time to have no ego at all, that is your ego again talking and thinking for you. Your ego is feeding with time.

That’s one valuable lesson I learned from Eckhart Tolle.

When it comes to Joe Dispenza, I watched the Rewired documentary and meditated using his guided meditation sessions called Blessing of The Energy Centers. I’ve been doing it since November last year and it helped me relax, be more patient, and have a more balanced life in general.

I’ve tried other meditation techniques or guided sessions in the past, but they never really worked. The guided sessions by Joe Dispenza are the ones I enjoy the most and have provided me with the most results.

One of the struggles that I have is that I get to experience negative moments really intense and the negative feelings can take over my thinking. When that happens, I go back to my body and the guided sessions helped a lot. To be more specific, in these sessions, Joe Dispenza guides you to pay attention to your chakras and focus on the energy around them. When I feel like I have no control over my emotions, that’s why I do and it’s working almost every time.

Moving on to the lesson from Sadhguru, there’s something I’ve been doing on and off since the beginning of this year and that is to think about the beauty of being alive after I wake up. I guess I’m doing it 3 or 4 days per week and it helped me focus on being and becoming, more than doing.

Let’s switch the topic a bit and talk about the past and future. Since I shared with you the idea of being present and how your past and future can get in the way of being present, I want to give more insight on that.

As I said earlier, obstacles are like small pebbles and as soon as we give them our attention, we change their static state into a dynamic state.

There’s one experience from my past that I still keep with me as a lesson. Between 2013 and 2016, I was learning new things from some people that was seeing as superheroes. They’re no celebrities or world-known experts, but I was getting valuable insights from them whenever I had the chance to listen to them.

But by the end of 2015 and during the whole year of 2016, something happened. I started learning more and more from other sources and these new lessons made me question the insights I was getting from those I was seeing as superheroes. So, I ended up being disappointed simply because I invested too much emotional energy into all the lessons I was learning from my superheroes.

I still have that experience with me, in my heart, and I’m trying not to make too many emotional investments into people I don’t know, just because they teach me many great things. In a way, it takes a bit of joy and excitement out of the learning process, but at the same time it helps me live a present life – a life where my emotions don’t drag me back to my past.

On the other hand, the expectation I have about the future that is eating a big slice of my mental energy is being able to do what I love and only that. My vision is to discover the formula for optimism and use optimism to help others live a better life. Currently, I’m trying to find a balance between staying focused on my daily tasks and keeping in mind the big picture connected to optimism. To do that, I make sure that every week I have some time where I do nothing (even for 15 minutes) and meditate on my vision – it can happen before going to sleep or on a Sunday, after I finish dinner.

Let’s move on to redirecting energy and the things I’m doing to make sure I don’t allocate more energy to my past and future than my present.

There are a few things I’m doing, but all of them start with being aware of the trigger.

In my case, when I start investing too much energy into my past or future, I tend to overthink and I literally feel how all the positive energy I have is sucked out of my body.

As soon as I realize it, here’s what I do:

  • I try not to think anymore; any thoughts I may have can easily drag me back into the overthinking process.
  • I try to focus on my body; as I mentioned earlier, I focus on one of the energy centers I learned about from the guided meditation sessions or I simply place my hand on my chest, next to my heart.
  • I try to go for a walk and listen to music; whenever I feel stuck in overthinking, moving my body seems to help.

Maybe there are other things that I do, but this is what comes to mind right now. Also, I don’t know if you noticed id, but I kept saying that I try to do something, not that I do it.

If I’m too engaged in the overthinking process, then I may not remember right away (or not even at all) all these methods and I’ll just stay stuck and keep overthinking. This is something I’m still working on and it feels like it’s the hardest thing to do.

As soon as I calm myself down and get out of the downward spiral, I regain my mental and emotional energy and now I have more of it to invest into the present moment.

With love and optimism,
David

What did you learn?

What are some valuable things you learned about being present?

I would love to know what you think, so share your insights with me using the form below.

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