How to Be in the "Now"


Many psychological and spiritual paths ask us to transcend our bodies; to see them as obstacles to reaching more serene states of mind. Some physical experiences like addiction, issues with food, or preoccupation with appearance can lead to serious problems. But when we are not experiencing these issues, I find just the opposite to be true: to PURPOSELY focus on the body is a great way to move out of a stressful mind.

Here's what I suggest:

1. Start with your five senses. Do a quick scan and bring them all "to attention." Next lower your gaze to just one point. Our visual fields are very distracting, so you are going to limit this sense initially. You may even wish to close your eyes. 

2. Begin with touch. What is your skin, your largest organ, feeling? Can you feel the furniture you are sitting on? How about the clothes touching you? Your hair---is it resting on a shoulder or across your neck? How about your fingertips? Are they cold, warm or moist? Continue to feel as much as possible. 

3. Next, what do you hear? Slow down and notice EVERYTHING you hear. First, the obvious sounds will come in. TV, music, the tapping of a keyboard. Next, move to those sounds we typically block out like the hum of the refrigerator. Can you hear the buzzing of florescent bulbs? How about your own breath?

4. Smell and taste. How does your mouth taste? What smells can you notice? 

5. Now, you can notice with your eyes. Really, LOOK at an object. Whatever your eyes first land on is fine. Notice texture, color, words, scuffs, etc. 

6. Lastly, see if you can sense your vibration. It may start with feeling a tingling in your hands and feet. You can even purposely "zing" these areas by focusing your attention on them.

It almost feels like you are gently tickling yourself and you may smile in response. As you try this more, you will notice even more tingling or vibration in your entire body. 



TIPS:

* Try this when you are in line at the store or stuck in traffic. You will be AMAZED at how much you look forward to being held up. It's a great opportunity to practice being in the now, instead of growing frustrated and impatient.

* When you have trouble falling asleep at night, try this exercise. It doesn't matter the order you do this---my way is just a suggestion---play around with the order and see what works best for you.


*When you are most resistant to this practice, is likely when you could benefit from it the most. Try it when a meeting becomes tense; you are starting to argue with a loved one, or find yourself running around reactively during errands. 

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