Star Trek: “Space, the final frontier … to boldly go where no-one has gone before!”
And today I’m going to talk to you about SPACE!
As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve spent this month extolling the virtues of being present, and I’ve delved into the causes of distraction which take us away from the present moment. Until now I have not described the process of how to become present; it’s like explaining the benefits of shelter from the elements, but not providing you with the architecture of an appropriate sanctuary.
So, how do you become present? What tools can you use to direct your mind to the present moment, turning a blind-eye to circling thoughts?
It’s all about SPACE!
Stop … Perceive … Associate … Concentrate … Exercise.
I’m not necessarily talking about sequential activities; instead I’m using the acronym so you remember the different ways in which individually or in combination you can find the present moment. And what’s important is that the present moment is about space, around you and within you. Let’s see how it works …
Stop!For at least one hour of your day stop interfacing with the digital world. Don’t check e-mail, instant messaging and social media; hit the red (off) button on your TV remote control. Spend your time with people in the real world, people you can actually interact with directly, rather than via the medium of eThis and iThat! Or use the time to indulge in an activity such as gardening or cooking, or something you’ve not tried before. Just remember to focus wholeheartedly on the task at hand without thinking back to what you’re missing in the digital realm – that can wait.
Perceive!Focus, and I mean REALLY focus on what’s around you. You’ve been blessed with senses, and even if you don’t have the full set you can still use all that you have to observe. Just perceiving the world around you without judgment or preconceived notions permits you to travel directly to the present. Everything in front of you can become your teacher, allowing you to expand and grow.
Associate!Try to connect with positive people. I recently heard a phrase which has stuck in my head, ‘Vitality Vampires’ – individuals (and occasionally congregations) who constantly moan or blame others – get rid of them. And if you can’t, start to slowly reduce the time and energy you spend on them. Redirect your attention to associate with people who are up-beat, positive and present. It makes a HUGE impact on how you think and feel.
Concentrate!From the outside, move in … and concentrate on your breath. We take breathing for granted and rarely pay attention unless we’re out of breath! Tune into your inner radio, starting listening to your inhalations and exhalations, focus on the rhythm of your breathing. It will quickly bring you the present moment.
Exercise!Try this exercise to bring you the present moment.Sit on a chair with your feet firmly on the ground, back erect, shoulders relaxed and place your hands on your thighs or knees. Feel the weight of your body on the chair, feel the weight of your hands on your legs, and feel the air around your face and your clothes on your skin. Then, bring your attention to hearing; listen to all sounds near and far from you, without judgment. If thoughts arise, do not worry; just redirect them to listening again. Perform the exercise of pulling away from thoughts and back to listening for at least 10 minutes, until you find that you’re spending less time thinking and more time listening and feeling. Try this every day and observe how you feel and create your own experience of meditation.
Stop … Perceive … Associate … Concentrate … Exercise! All of these steps will help you find the present moment and you’ll experience the benefits I’ve mentioned in previous newsletters first hand.
You’ll boldly go where you’ve not been before … into your SPACE.
mi-yogaḥ offers tools to help you become present and find that space within you. Create your experience by trying one of the tools provided.