18 Portals to the Present Moment
Although many teachers would rightfully say that mindfulness and meditation ultimately do not have any goal, let us be honest: the basic aim of these practices is entering the state of Presence. It is a thoughtless state of mind, which we could also call Pure Consciousness or Awareness. Meditation and mindfulness practitioners aspire not only to remain in this state but to deepen and expand it as much as possible.
However, it is not an easy task, especially for beginners. This time we will focus on entering the thoughtless state. Here are a few pieces of advice on how to do this quickly and efficiently.
1, Focus on here and now.
This is the most obvious and very simple way of entering the state of Presence. You have to become aware of yourself, the surroundings, and everything that is happening in you and around you at this moment. Be here. Become aware of the present moment, enter the now. You will dive into the thoughtless state of Pure Consciousness immediately. If any thoughts, emotions, or external events distract you, just return to the here and now.
Focusing on the present moment is the essence of mindfulness practice.
2. Become aware of yourself.
Ask yourself: "Who is watching this?" or "What is watching this?" This is a variation of the practice of self-inquiry, which can ultimately lead you to spiritual liberation, but meanwhile, among many other benefits, it will always anchor you into the present moment. It is thoroughly described here.
3. Verbal interruption.
This is the quickest way of discontinuing the stream of thoughts. Just say swiftly and decisively to yourself: “NOW!” and feel the Now, which consists of the totality of your experience at this moment, here and now, including the feeling of your body, your whole being, and auditory and visual sensing of your environment. Or, for example, say “STOP!” and become aware of stopping every activity, including your thinking process.
Feel free to use any other word or phrase that might work fine for you. For example, “ENOUGH!” “HERE AND NOW,” “SILENCE,” “STILLNESS,” “I AM,” “I EXIST,” “WHERE AM I?” “ATTENTION!” “I DON’T KNOW” …
You may speak these words out loud to yourself, or say them in your head.
4. Dissolving the Temporary I (DTI).
Being one of the basic Reintegration techniques, the DTI is certainly one of the most efficient methods for entering the state of pure consciousness. This method will not only bring you into the thoughtless state for a while, but it'll do a more useful thing - removal of your unwanted mind content (thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations).
5. Conscious breathing.
There are several variations of the mindfulness of breath. In all of them, you should consciously follow the movement of air into your body and out of it, along with any sensations that the movement produces. However, you could focus on other areas of your body.
For example, you might prefer concentrating on the sensation of flowing air, moving in and out of your body in its entirety, however you feel it. Personally, I prefer this variant because it takes me more easily into a state of self-awareness. In this approach, you are trying to be fully conscious of your chest’s motions during inhaling and exhaling, of the whole volume of air going in and out from you, and of the entire feeling of its gentle contact with your inner organs—nostrils, throat, and lungs.
You may also practice breath mindfulness by focusing only on the sensations within your nostrils during inhale and exhale circles. Alternatively, you could orient your attention to the sensation of the air filling and emptying the interior of your lungs.
Try out all these approaches. Use whichever one is most suitable for you and enjoy mindfulness on many occasions—immediately after waking up, during driving, walking, working on the computer, while doing various daily errands, in the midst of emotional bursts, before sleep, or many other situations, at your will. Mindfulness of breath can bring you deep peace in every situation, help you in releasing stress and raise your overall level of consciousness.
6. Become aware of space.
The perception of space or nothingness generates deep peace and tranquility in our being. Some people even call the sensing of space the "shortcut to enlightenment."
Become aware of space (or nothingness) within you, the room you are in, in the background of everything you see. Imagine space extending from you in all directions, infinitely. Sense its vastness. This will quickly bring your mind into the so-called alpha state, in which your brain functions at a lower frequency of neural waves. It is a deeply relaxing, tranquil, and creative state of being, in which you will feel the present moment easily.
 Excerpt from Inner Peace, Outer Success.
See The World While You Can
Author: Larry Mager
Readybrain.net | firstname.lastname@example.org
Travel is not something you should put off until retirement. It is one of the only real ways to open your mind to other cultures and to experience all the world has to offer. Traveling can serve as emotional therapy and may even help you better appreciate your profession. If you’re considering walking away from it all for a spiritual, mental, and physical sabbatical, here are a few things you can do to prepare for your extended absence.
Let go of fear
The first thing you have to do is learn to let go of the fear that taking time away will hurt your career. Chances are, it won’t, and when you return, you will have an interesting story about your “pretirement.” If you’re worried about returning to your industry after a sabbatical, Monster.com offers tips on how to explain your sabbatical during the interview process.
There is no doubt about it, if you want to get the most out of your personal retreat, you will need to plan ahead, and that means planning for how you’ll afford your journeys. Obviously, you need to have money saved up, but it does not hurt to have a source of income while you’re away. One great way to do that is to set your own home up as a rental property. This starts by getting it ready. You will need to stage it, stock it, and secure it. Angie’s List recently published a guide on rental property preparation, it’s a five-minute read with plenty of great tips. Also, don’t forget to plan for your pets, let your neighbors know what’s going on, and alert the Post Office.
Know when to go
Timing is everything. There are a couple of considerations here, and it starts with talking to your boss well ahead of your planned departure. The more notice, the better, especially if you are working on a crucial project. Give your employer at least a six month’s heads up so that you can coordinate your leave for a time when it will not be harmful to the company. Even if you are not a full-time employee (such as a freelancer or consultant), this is necessary if you do not want to part ways on bad terms.
Even if you rent your home while you’re gone, you probably will not have the same amount of money coming in as you did when you were getting a regular paycheck. Transunion recommends saving the equivalent of one year’s salary for a sabbatical lasting six to nine months. This will keep you from running up your credit and give you a small cushion of funds to live off of when you return.
Have a purpose
Finally, and most importantly, know what you expect to get out of your time away. This is an excellent opportunity to connect with your higher power and make your trip a meaningful travel experience. Plan to do things that put you in touch with your inner self and remain mindful at all times of the beauty of your surroundings. It doesn’t matter if you are traveling alone or with your closest friends or family, make it purposeful and you’ll take away more than memories. You will gain a new perspective and may find out who you really are along the way.
If the idea of taking an extended vacation is intimidating, keep in mind that the longer you wait, the more entwined you become with your current surroundings. The last thing you want is to become so involved that you can’t break away.
Many people have a problem of succumbing to the demands of others repeatedly and are afraid of saying no. They feel that it may hurt the other person and provoke revenge. Or, they are afraid of themselves and their own reactions in a possible conflict.
On the other hand, saying yes to others seems to be ingrained in our nature as an effective evolutionary strategy. It allowed our ancestors to support each other and jointly defend themselves from various threats. Also, a genuine yes to people and circumstances generally is a good thing, which means accepting the present moment as it is.
However, agreeing with all external requests would have been the perfect strategy if all people were genuine and honest. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Often burdened with heavy negative emotions, many individuals may behave egotistically and even cunningly toward us. If we are always naively open to their demands, they will inevitably hurt us. I am sure you are familiar with that feeling, unfortunately. Many times, all of us were betrayed or hurt unexpectedly, even by our close friends or relatives. Our life experience tells us that we should always be alert and cautious to avoid such unpleasant surprises.
The problem is that we habitually say no out from fear or anger. Also, we say yes frequently from fear or desire. So, the root of our reactions, whether “positive” or “negative” ones, is at least very questionable.
The underlying source of our reactions is our ego. Typically, we don’t respond. We react. That’s a big difference.
Saying No and Saying Yes
Therefore, if we want to learn how to genuinely say no to other people’s demands, we should examine the complementary action – saying yes. Those are the two opposites that are inseparable. Acceptance and denial, submission and refusal, agreement and dissent, yes and no; they are two sides of the coin. They must be taken into consideration together.
Only from the state of Pure Consciousness, we can respond genuinely to every challenge. Pure Consciousness, or Presence, will truly enable us to either accept or refuse the requests of others. On the other hand, if we are burdened by thoughts and emotions, our choices will be clouded and distorted. The genuine decisions are made only from the state of Presence, the thoughtless state of mind.
However, even if we learn to live in the here and now, to be mindful most of the time, we still could react improperly in numerous circumstances. Some persons or occasions may easily kick us out from the state of Presence. Their actions or mere appearance could trigger our previously suppressed emotions such as anger, fear, or sorrow, so our reaction to their requirements will not be genuine. Whether that reaction is submission or refusal, it will not be authentic. In the long run, its consequences will be suffering.
The genuine decisions are made only from the state of Presence, the thoughtless state of mind.
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