In case you haven’t already guessed, I’m a huge nerd.
I legitimately enjoy physics and biology…a lot.
I can’t complete a single training session without wondering what my skeletal-muscle cells may look like under a microscope at any given point in time…
Oh, and a decent portion of my free time is spent plowing through my Universities online database in the hopes of finding some long-lost or undiscovered study which may lead to the next big breakthrough in the fitness industry.
I think my favorite of the many nickname’s bestowed upon me by friends and family is, The Geeky Meathead.
In addition to my fixation on all things pertaining to training and nutrition, I’m deeply involved in the field of personal development (PD); more specifically in regard to the present moment and learning how to live, experience, and enjoy it as vividly as possible.
Often times when the idea of presence surfaces in conversation, people aren’t entirely sure of what I’m trying to convey. They don’t fully grasp the meaning of presence or what it’s supposed to “feel” like.
Allow me to explain as best I can:
I remember as a child I could entertain myself for hours on end with nothing but my imagination. I could be on a long car ride, in my back yard, hell I could be in an empty room and still be the happiest boy in the world. I’m sure most, if not all of you can relate.
As all children are, I was curious; I was unsure of, yet oddly interested in my surroundings. I would touch, feel, smell, and even taste everything I could get my hands on. Obviously this made my mother’s life rather difficult as she was constantly making sure I wasn’t going to inadvertently poison myself; to my knowledge, she kept me from eating anything too harmful, but I can only speculate.
This state of curiosity, inquisitiveness, and utter content, void of all worries and fears, is what many refer to as a state of being. There is no thought process involved; there is no past or future…there is only now, and as children are so adept at doing, they enjoy it.
They don’t question their feelings; they embrace and accept them. If they are tired, they’ll take a nap. If they’re angry, they’ll get mad. But one thing a child never does is dwell. They experience each and every emotion as it comes; a child will recognize the emotion, feel it as deeply and fully as possible, and will soon after let it go. They will revert back to their natural state of being. They are, in other words, fully present.
It seems as we age, we acknowledge the present moment less and less. Granted, we take on more responsibilities, have more obligations, and can no longer spend 3 hours in the back yard seeing how far we can blow dandelion seeds. However, simply having more appointments, assignments, projects, and commitments should have no bearing on our state of being.
No one is too busy for now.
Objectively analyze your current lifestyle to determine how often you find yourself dwelling in the past or concerned for the future. I’m willing to bet the majority of people spend more time brooding and worrying than they do simply being and enjoying what the present moment has to offer.
Perhaps a professor graded you unfairly. Do you call your friends, siblings, parents, and classmates to discuss how much you studied, how hard you worked, and how this will inevitably hurt your GPA, resume, and chances of getting a job?
Maybe you had a poor training session. Do you let it ruin the rest of your day, or even the entire week? Do you worry that you’re getting weaker, could be doing more, and aren’t as advanced as you should be?
Or maybe you’re swamped with work; you have so much to do and seemingly no time to do it. As a result, you can’t have a meal with your family, watch a t.v. show, or go to sleep without constantly worrying that time is being wasted.
Well, let me ask you this: Has worrying ever helped? Has worrying ever solved any of your perceived problems? Has worrying ever made anything better?
The answer is no. Worrying has never done anything for you.
What if I told you, right now you have nothing to worry about. Right now there is nothing to bother you. Right now, there is no reason to be concerned.
I bet you’d immediately reply with a laundry list of tasks, obligations, experiences, and issues which you have recently dealt with or must be handled in the near future.
Allow me to clarify what I mean by “now.” I do not mean the poor grade you received from your professor yesterday morning. I do not mean your big presentation scheduled for this coming Wednesday. And I do not mean the credit card bill which must be paid by the end of the month. Each of these situations have either already happened or have yet to occur; they are not now and therefore have no bearing on the present.
Right now you have nothing to worry about.
You may be thinking: “But if I don’t worry about the future, then I won’t be prepared for when it becomes the present.”
While I understand this train of thought, it’s simply wrong. As I made clear above, worrying has never helped you achieve anything; it has never gotten rid of any issues and it has never made you any better.
Worrying will do nothing to improve your performance, capabilities, or life situation. Practicing, preparing, and diligently working towards your goals is the only way to ensure your success in any and all endeavors.
As Eckhart Tolle, world renowned author and spiritual teacher, wisely says “Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.”
He’s absolutely right.
So, we know that worrying is a futile and pointless habit which, ultimately will do nothing to help us achieve or maintain any of our life goals. But this begs the question, “How do I stop worrying?”
And the answer to this lies in one’s ability to live in, and fully appreciate, the present moment.
When a person truly understands there is no past and future, that “…the present moment is all you will ever have,” they will begin to realize that worrying is pointless. So…they stop.
Simple as that.
They understand that worrying will not help them. They are conscious of the fact that the present moment is the only moment.
If there is work to be done…they will do it. If there are places to go, people to see, tasks to accomplish…they will do it, and they will do it now. They “Accept – then act. Whatever the present moment contains, [they] accept it as if [they] had chosen it. [They] always work with it, not against it.”
So how do you stop worrying? Simple, just stop.
Let me ask you this: If someone were to put a hot coal in your hand, what would you do? You would drop it, would you not? You know it is not going to help you, and eventually it will actually hurt you, so you drop it. Done. No more hot coal.
Worrying is the same way. If you feel yourself begin to worry, brood, or concern over past or future issues, simply take a deep breath, put your entire focus on the present moment, and drop the worry as if you were dropping a hot coal.
Take note of your surroundings. Notice the colors, textures, smells, tastes, and sounds all around you. Whether you’re on a train, in your apartment, or at your office, there is always a surprising amount of beauty which can be found even in the most unlikely of places.
Instead of viewing your daily bus ride as a means to an end, take that time to enjoy yourself and your surroundings. Look for things most people don’t see, as they’re too busy living in the past or the future. Take into account all of the beauty each and every situation has to offer, but most people are too busy to enjoy.
If you have work to do, do it! But don’t be angry, upset, or grumpy; realize the work must be done, and being angry will do nothing for you or those around you. Dive into the work and try to enjoy each moment.
If you want to be lazy, be as lazy as possible!!! Be the laziest you can be. Enjoy each moment of your lazieness, and do not think or worry about work which you have yet to accomplish. As a very smart man once said, “Time you enjoy wasting, is not wasted time.”
Enjoy the NOW. “Enjoy the present moment, because in reality, that’s all there ever is.“
The idea, concept, and practice of living in the present moment can be extraordinarily challenging on numerous levels.
It’s important for you to note this piece only touched upon a fraction of how to start fully living and enjoying the present moment. You can be sure that I will write about it and many of its other aspects in due time.
For now, I hope each and every one of you have taken enough from this article to begin implementing a small bit into your lives on a daily basis.
In conclusion, I want to leave you with a personal favorite quote by Eckhart Tolle:
“Always say “yes” to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is? what could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? Surrender to what is. Say “yes” to life — and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.”