I spend lots of time working with individuals, corporations and businesses to get them engaged in the present moment. The reasons I think this is important in business as well as personally are drawn upon toward the end of this article.
My center here in Bournemouth used to sell a wide range of books and one that I used to stock was a book called "The Power of Now" by a guy called Eckhart Tolle. Lots of people that came to classes, workshops and consultations at the center would often tell me how great it was and give me snippets of information about its content and for a number of years I would occasionally think “Yeah, I really should read that book” then kept on deciding that I would wait until later (yes, I am fully aware of the irony in this!) Nevertheless, I am already sold on the power of the present moment, for a number of reasons:
My First reason - Only this present moment exists.
I think this is by far the most compelling reason to put your attention on the present moment. Yesterday doesn’t exist, except as a memory, with all the unreliability we know to be true of memories; when you experienced yesterday, it was n-o-w. Tomorrow doesn’t exist either, except as an imaginary construct; when you experience tomorrow, it will be n-o-w. And as it’s all that exists, it’s a good idea to experience it, so, have a go at doing the following…
1) Sit with your feet flat on the floor, in a comfortable, aligned position (spine straight, hands on your thighs or at your sides, breathing comfortably.) With your eyes open or closed, allow yourself to become aware of the different sounds, sights, smells and sensations around you. This is the present moment.
That's right. This is the present moment, and there are a number of good reasons for keeping your awareness in the present as much as possible (in addition to the first reason I gave.)
My Second Reason - There’s a whole lot more of it in store for you.
If you stop for a moment, you will realize that all the experiences of your life will take place in a present moment. The more comfortable you are with the present moment, the more comfortable you’ll be with those future presents.
My Third Reason - The present is where you are.
If in doubt, look at your hands. Your hands only exist in the present moment. Rub your fingers together, feel how it feels to be in this moment. Because it’s where your hands (and the rest of your body) are located, so…
My Fourth Reason - The present is the only time you can take action.
You can wish you took action yesterday (so many do; they rue the day that.....), but yesterday no longer exists, so it will remain a wish. You can plan to take action in the future, but when you take the action, it will be in the present moment. The only time you can take action is in this hot second.
My Fifth Reason - Wherever you’re headed, you presumably want to enjoy it when you get there. Get in the habit of enjoying the present now and you’ll be even better at enjoying then when you get there.
I took some amazing insight from my running experiences with my younger brother. When we ran and trained together and competed in races, he always enjoyed the race and commented on our surroundings whereas I always had my eye on the finish line. So much can and has been said about enjoying and engaging in the journey rather than always focusing on the future. Have a go at this one too....
2) Gently place the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth just behind your front teeth (continue to breathe easily.) Imagine you are holding a tiny droplet of oil between the tip of your tongue and the roof of your mouth.
I originally got this idea from Eric Robbie on a training he did with Michael Breen and I tinkered around with it a bit, and it’s a great way of turning off your internal dialogue. Turning off your internal dialogue is an excellent way of allowing yourself to focus on the present. This is particularly important if you want to be able to pick up the clues that people give you about how they’re thinking. Maybe I'll write another article about that internal dialogue.
"The only way to live is to accept each moment as an unrepeatable miracle, which is exactly what it is - a miracle and unrepeatable."
-- Margaret Storm Jameson
So, how do you relate this knowledge and my rantings to ones Business or day to day life?
Business and life today seems to operate at a faster and faster pace. People have lots of demands on their time, & need every advantage they can get to be more effective. When I do corporate and business consultancy, one of the most common ‘challenges’ that people want to deal with is being focused & making progress on important business objectives or life goals.
As I’ve investigated how people avoid being focused, I’ve found that, they are often not centered in the present. Instead, they are thinking about what’s happening tomorrow, or what happened yesterday, or running through a list of things that they need to do later. As a result, their attention is not in the present.
I used to work in Victoria in Central London and if you have ever been there during the rush hours it is a hectic place. What I find interesting is that you can tell who is engaged in the moment and who is thinking about their day or the next day. Those people whose awareness is within their heads, mulling over their day or dreading what's in store tomorrow are the ones bumping into people or veering off in wrong directions. Whereas those people whose awareness is outside their heads and engaged in their surroundings are those that are balanced, poised and agile, like a panther!
When you bring your attention and energy into the present moment, you can accomplish things more quickly, solve problems more effectively, and enjoy the process more than you might expect. So, thirdly, have a go at connecting with the moment more and more in your days...
3) Before starting an important task, take a moment to center yourself and relax. Then, get clear about what you want to accomplish, then begin.
I wish you all the very best and hope to engage in the present with many more people here.