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.
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.
Dealing with Hardships
We all want to be happy and to avoid suffering. These are the two tendencies that characterize the entire living world. Every life form will strive to satisfy its needs and thus be content, but also to avoid any form of suffering.
Although being self-aware and highly intelligent, we humans are also unable to avoid pain. Whether it be physical or emotional, pain is inevitable even to the most mature or spiritually developed people.
However, Buddhism claims that one can become entirely free from suffering. That final stage of human existence is being called Nirvana, or Enlightenment. It is not our topic here, at least directly. Still, if we cannot completely transcend suffering, at least we can diminish it.
I will describe here instructions for dealing with various difficulties. These guidelines are based on three stages related to the hardship:
Note that it’s essential for your inner work to accurately recognize at which stage you are at that point in time.
Here are the three-stage instructions:
1. Prevention - the crucial stage
In your normal, everyday life conditions, in which you don’t feel any pain or suffering, you must take some time for the work on yourself. It is not only the work on preventing the hardships; it is rather the work for achieving inner transformation in a positive sense.
In other words, we must face the negativities of our life, but it is not good to focus on them too often and too much. We could define it only as a preventive work, but that would imply avoiding something negative. Instead, to be more aimed at a positive transformation, we will also call it the happiness work.
It should include:
We must face the negativities of our life, but it is not good to focus on them too often and too much.
This work should be well organized and scheduled. It would be great if you could create an everyday habit of meditating twice a day, at least 15 minutes in the morning and the same duration in the evening. These sitting sessions should be scheduled for the same periods of the day, if possible. This regular practice should also include loving-kindness meditation.
It would be great if you could create an everyday habit of meditating twice a day, at least 15 minutes in the morning and the same duration in the evening.
There are countless types and variations of meditation out there. For example, you may practice vipassana, breath meditation, body awareness, walking meditation, pure awareness meditation, Kriya Yoga or something else. Or, you can concentrate your mind on something, e.g., on a single dot on the wall, on a figure of Buddha or another divine being, on a flame of a candle, etc.
However, the Reintegration System has several meditative practices to offer, too:
In all of these methods, you don’t ignore or suppress the emerging thoughts and emotions during the sitting. On the contrary, you reintegrate them entirely with your whole being. Check out the above links to learn how to meditate.
An essential part of your sitting practice should be the loving-kindness meditation. So, don’t forget to include at least 5 minutes of this practice into your regular meditation sittings, preferably at the end of each.
An essential part of your sitting practice should be the loving-kindness meditation.
Meditation brings you:
These are not claims; these are the facts. Scientific research has confirmed them, and you can check it out on the Internet and numerous scientific magazines.
What’s more important for some practitioners, meditation, together with mindfulness, will expand your consciousness and can ultimately lead you to spiritual liberation or enlightenment. The veils of ignorance and suffering will gradually (or even suddenly) lift up, and you will eventually experience Pure Consciousness as a permanent state of being.
Another vital part of your regular happiness work is mindfulness. It simply means to live in the present moment consciously. If you want to be mindful, you will have to do any activity in such a way that you are fully conscious of yourself and of the activity itself.
Although many people don’t consider mindfulness as strictly spiritual, it is indeed a spiritual practice. It leads you to your True nature while dissolving your inner conflicts softly and imperceptibly. Moreover, conscious moments in the Now will gradually accumulate and make your whole life easier.
When mindfulness becomes your natural way of living, you will enjoy every task; you will become light and, in a strange way, even transparent. You will start sensing some inexplicable joy and deep inner peace. You will feel love more and more, both for yourself and for people around you.
Mindfulness will abate or even prevent challenges.
Author: Brad Krause
"It’s my calling to help people. We all have the potential to be the best versions of ourselves we can possibly be, but it comes down to prioritizing our own wellness through self-care."
We often hear of self-care as a complement to other areas of our lives, such as supporting a fitness goal or reducing our work-related stress. Self-care can also be instrumental in helping us make personal growth decisions. Much more than pampering, self-care methods such as mindfulness, meditation, and yoga helps us see deep inside ourselves to find answers to important questions. Here are some of the benefits of mindfulness in personal development and ways to harness the power of meditation in your life.
Personal Development Challenges
There are many hurdles to growth and happiness in life. One of the biggest obstacles is indecisiveness. Because of our difficulty in making decisions, we often stay in situations or avoid changes in life that can provide us with more joy, income, and opportunities. There are several ways to seek guidance in personal development, including self-help books, discussion with mentors, scanning online forums and practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is particularly helpful because it doesn’t return generic advice, but rather insights directly related to us. Mindfulness lets us know who we are, what we want, and what we need for happiness.
What Mindfulness Accomplishes
Introspection unlocks some under-utilized powers of the brain. It changes the way you handle stress by putting life’s challenges into perspective. Mindfulness helps people of all ages deal with life’s struggles, from a child having problems at school to a retiree struggling with senior life. It’s been effective in lowering anxiety, countering depression, aiding in addiction recovery, and dealing with eating disorders. Meditation has also been found to stimulate brain development, so your memory and cognition improves -- both of which help you make informed decisions in your quest for personal growth.
Meditation is also recognized for its ability to boost career growth. In addition to relieving stress -- which can kill productivity -- meditation improves focus, creativity, and emotional intelligence. This emotional intelligence helps people collaborate more effectively with others.
How to Meditate at Home
A home mindfulness retreat is easy to create. Ideally, the space should be separate from your work and living areas. A quiet room with minimal decoration is a good starting point. The area should be away from the noise and distraction of your home, too. If you do not have a room to spare, you can create a mindfulness zone in any room -- just make sure it is quiet and distraction-free. Meditation requires concentration and a low-stress environment, and we are profoundly negatively affected by disorganization and clutter. If you want to meditate in your home office, for example, it would be helpful to clear away papers and work materials that will draw you away from introspection and back into outside noise.
Meditation is Not the Only Path to Mindfulness
Although quiet contemplation and inner reflection is the easiest way to attain mindfulness, there are other methods for those who do not like meditation. The following are additional tools to tap into calm self-knowledge when you cannot (or don’t want to) meditate:
Mindfulness opens us to possibilities that are often closed off to us when we are scared and in the dark about ourselves. Meditation and other techniques help us find answers that propel personal advancement in all areas of our lives.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
Total Acceptance is such a powerful practice that its regular utilization in everyday life can profoundly and irreversibly transform our individual reality.
What is Total Acceptance? (I’m writing these words in capital letters to point to the specific meaning of this term.) It’s a state of the complete openness to any experience. It means to fully embrace all arising impressions, without a slightest inner resistance. Here, the word “Total” is maybe even redundant, but I have added it just to emphasize the absence of any resistance.
We can say that Total Acceptance is Pure Awareness and, at the same time, the state of Not-Knowing, which signifies an absolute openness to the Unknown. It is a temporary absence of mind and its habitual thoughts. In other words, it is the state of Presence.
However, Total Acceptance is not a dry, cold indifference. Somehow, it’s filled with deep love, as it requires not only the stillness of the mind but also the openness of the Heart.
Here is an excellent quote from A Practical Guide to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy by Steven C. Hayes and Kirk D. Strosahl: “Acceptance should not be confused with tolerance or resignation, both of which are passive and fatalistic. Acceptance involves taking a stance of non-judgmental awareness and actively embracing the experience of thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations as they occur.
Total Acceptance is not a dry, cold indifference. Somehow, it’s filled with deep love, as it requires not only the stillness of the mind but also the openness of the Heart.
Another important aspect of acceptance is the strong inclination to cope with all experiences, to face everything, either pleasant or unpleasant: “Acceptance refers to an attitude of nonjudging or openness about experience, and refraining from attempts to avoid or escape it.” - Fabrizio Didonna, Clinical Handbook of Mindfulness
Everything we resist, persists. Even more, it’ll grow up over time. Therefore, the remedy for any unpleasant state or content of the mind is to accept it completely. Whenever we entirely and honestly accept any thought, emotion or sensation, we become free of it. It will not bother us anymore. It will disappear from our individual universe, as we have learned that lesson.
Total Acceptance has a transformative power virtually in every field of our existence – spiritual, mental, emotional and even our physical life. For example, its strength is fully harnessed in one of the most effective methods for overcoming physical pain, “Accepting and Dwelling in Pain,” described in this article: 5 Powerful Pain Relief Techniques.
The bottom line is: whatever you Totally Accept, it disappears from your field of consciousness. You become free from it.
What’s also important is that this practice will not take you into passivity and non-action. On the contrary, the fruit of a regular practice of Total Acceptance will be your perfect action, whenever needed, just at a right moment. It will also yield a great deal of creativity.
Nevertheless, the balance between action and non-action will be naturally achieved.
Whatever you Totally Accept, it disappears from your field of consciousness. You become free from it.
Could It Be Dangerous?
When we Totally Accept something, we have embraced it wholeheartedly. But there is a troubling question that naturally arises: Is it dangerous to embrace negative, or harmful things? Can accepting an aggressive person’s behavior, ugly gossips or our friend’s problems jeopardize our security?
It cannot. If it does, that only means we haven’t accepted it completely.
By accepting the negativity, we are removing the negative burden on our mind and heart which has been attracting those circumstances. Moreover, the very fact that our heart is open and our being is filled with peace and love, deeply ennobles and transforms everything we do and anything we embrace. That indeed makes us safe and leaves us unharmed.
By accepting the apparent negativity, you are actually accepting the Greater Good within you that is trying to emerge in your life through apparently harsh experiences. Tell yourself: “I totally accept that which is trying to emerge through me,” or “I totally accept Greater Good that is emerging through this situation.”
The very fact that our heart is open and our being is filled with peace and love, deeply ennobles and transforms everything we do and anything we embrace. That indeed makes us safe and leaves us unharmed.
Yes, for the beginning, you can accept apparently evil, harmful or dangerous things and situations with your mind only, without opening your heart. You can say something like “OK, that’s it, I don’t care.” That means you can simply become indifferent and neutral toward the experience. No repulsion, and no attraction. No warmness, no embracing, no “risk.” It is an entirely disinterested position which blocks the experience to reoccur in your personal reality. But that’s only temporary. Without opening your heart completely, you cannot fully face the experience. Therefore, it may come back to you one day.
Remember, your Essence, or True Self, cannot be hurt or endangered. Ever.
Without opening your heart completely, you cannot fully face the experience. Therefore, it may come back to you one day.
Ultimately, you will have to open both your mind and heart to all experiences. It’s similar to the state of Not-Knowing – total openness to the Unknown is also a genuinely transformative attitude.
If you are still concerned that Total Acceptance of negativities could open your inner door to those things to happen to you, the solution is to Totally Accept its opposite, too. But first accept that very concern, your fear of any negative reperccusions. Then accept the negative thing itself. Finally, accept its opposite – a normal state, or a wanted, positive thing.
If you cannot accept any of these, you might be dealing with a complex subconscious structure. Those structures should be thoroughly reflected and processed with some of the main Reintegration techniques (preferably the Inner Triangle), or with some other psychological or spiritual method.
Finally, with both polarities Totally Accepted, while being free from the ingrained fear, we’ll be able to act from Presence genuinely.
How to Totally Accept
The skill of Total Acceptance should be learned progressively. It is always easy to accept something you like, or you are being neutral to, but accepting unpleasant or painful experiences is a completely different story. Therefore, we should start learning acceptance on neutral things first (because you have no intimate relationship with them), then on positive ones (although you have a positive relation toward them, it is still a kind of attachment), and lastly on the negatives.
Here is an exercise for learning this skill thoroughly:
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