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The Power of the Present
What does being present really mean? It means being here, completely here, right this moment. It means that this is all there is. There is no tomorrow or even a yesterday or a later today. Now is all that exists. Harnessing the power of the present means having your full awareness on the task at hand and merging with the moment. It’s realizing that this instant in time is unlike any you’ve experienced before or will experience again. The now is here, and that’s all there is.
Being present is the art of the soul. Your mind is at rest because there is nowhere else to go and nothing else to do. There is no past to haunt you or pull you backward. And there is no future to wish for or fantasies to maintain. Being present is truly the demonstration of “this is as good as it gets,” because nothing is real except this very moment. And now that that moment is gone, there is only this moment. Time passes, but you remain in the eternal state of now ... the state of love.
When you become present to these words and let go of wrestling with time and resisting what is, you will feel a level of peace, relaxation, love, and contentment that can be accessed only in this moment. This is why it is called the precious present - because when you are in it, it is the greatest gift you will ever give yourself.
Being present means being completely aware of all that is. It means you’re not in denial, you’re not pretending, and you’re not avoiding. When you are grounded in the present - feeling your feelings, listening to your body, tasting your food, and expressing your ideas - you do not build up toxicity. You digest your experience as you go. If you just found out, for example, that a friend of yours got hurt or that you’ve lost a family member, you will feel sad. But if you allow your feelings to move through you and be digested, you’ll discover that you don’t have to drag the feelings of that moment into the next moment.
While your past can inform you and your future can inspire you, the moment of choice exists in the here and now. By relinquishing your obsession with the past and your fantasies about the future, you can tap into the power of the present, and feel the force of love that resides inside of you.
• As you go about your life today, imagine that the present moment is all that exists. There is no past to overcome and no future to race toward. Ask yourself if what you’re doing, thinking, feeling and experiencing in this moment is bringing you joy and fulfillment. If it is, continue doing what you’re doing. If it’s not, make a different choice.
• Start a present-moment awareness practice today. For five minutes each hour, practice getting present. You could:
- Go outside into nature and become aware of your surroundings. Get present to the earth, to the sand, to a tree, to a flower.
- Lightly run your hands over your body to get present to your own skin, and then tune in to the sounds around you - a plane flying overhead, a dog barking, a bird tweeting.
- When you’re on the phone with a friend, listen to them as though you’ve never heard such beauty and inspiration. Listen to the sound and quality of their voice. Listen to their words, even if a complaint, with awe and fascination. Feel your body as you’re listening. Tune in to all the sensations. Allow your awareness to take in the taste in your mouth, the thought in your mind, the motion in your body, just as they are.
• Take a shower and become present to all that is going on in and around your body. Notice your skin, your heartbeat, your breath and the feel of the water traveling from your head to your toes.
• Write out a letter to yourself today. If you were completely present to the sacred vessel and vehicle of your body, how would you care for it? What would you want to say to it? What love and gratitude would you want to express?
Check out April 2010's Spiritual Cinema Circle Luminary interview with Debbie Ford:
Visit Spiritual Cinema Circle's Luminary interview page to see exclusive one-on-one interviews with inspirational thinkers, writers and filmmakers.
From Chapter 13 of The 21-Day Consciousness Cleanse by Debbie Ford. © 2009, Reprinted with permission from HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins publishers. For more information visit www.debbieford.com