All of the happiness and fulfillment that human beings yearn for exist in the present moment. In the now, time ceases to exist,and we experience a presence that is all-absorbing, completely at peace, and totally satisfying.
Nothing could be closer than the present, yet nothing slips away faster. In an instant our mind can carry us far away into memories of the past or fantasies about the future. Or we may get caught up in a race against the clock, feeling like there’s never enough time. We say things like “Time is flying,” “Time is running out,” or “There are never enough hours in the day.”
We can choose whether to make time an enemy or an ally. We can shift from time-bound awareness into timeless awareness . . . to the ecstasy that can only be found in the present moment. If you want to have all the time in the world, you can train yourself. This week, choose one of the three practices below as your focus.
As you set your intention to transform your relationship with time, remember that being present does not require effort; you can’t work to be present. The key is having a willingness to discover that aspect of yourself that is timeless.
Practice #1: Transform Your Internal Dialogue
The way we talk to ourselves has a profound influence on how we perceive the world, how we feel, and ultimately how the events of our lives unfold. Instead of letting your internal dialogue bully or scare you with endless commentary about time running out, use affirmations that empower you and fill you with a sense of ease and wellbeing. You can use these affirmations or come up with your own:
I have all the time in the world. I always have plenty of time.
This moment is exactly as it should be.
I follow my own rhythm and my mind is at peace.
Throughout the day, whenever you notice that you’re rushing or having anxious thoughts about time or the need to get something done or be somewhere else, silently repeat your affirmation to yourself and take a few deep breaths, coming back into the present moment.
Practice #2: Focus on what you are doing now
Choose one mundane activity that you do every day, such as brushing your teeth, making the bed, or washing the dishes. Instead of rushing, put your complete attention on this task. If your mind is impatient or prods you to move on to more “important” business, ignore it. Don’t judge yourself; simply return your attention to what’s in front of you right now.
This simple daily practice of focusing your awareness on one activity can create a powerful ripple effect that will expand your experience of present moment awareness throughout the day.
Practice #3: Listen to the Messages of Your Body
While the mind tends to dwell in the past or in the future, the body lives in this present moment and that is where all the magic happens. Like many people, you may have been trained to rely on your intellect while ignoring, distrusting, or simply being unaware of the signals of your body.
No matter how long it has been neglected, the body is your go to guy or gal, and will respond when you begin to connect. This week, try the following exercise for tuning into your body.
• Begin by setting a phone or clock alarm for three times throughout the day – such as 9 a.m., noon, and 5 p.m. Whenever the alarm sounds, take a few moments to check in with yourself.
• Close your eyes, put your hand on your heart, take a few deep breaths, and then ask yourself, What am I feeling right now?
• Wait for the answers to come to you. It might take some practice to identify your body’s messages, so be patient with yourself. Start from your heart outward, and see what comes up for you.
• Once you receive an answer, take some little concrete step to fulfill the need you have identified. It may be as simple as the need to get up from your desk and stretch your body, to go outside for a few moments and take a quick walk, or to call a friend.
As you practice checking in with yourself on a regular basis, you will connect more deeply with your body, and may begin to identify greater needs, such as, “I need to make time for myself,” I need to develop a career not find another job,” or “I need to make new friends that don’t take advantage of me.” As you honor these needs, you begin to honor yourself.
As I read over the article above, I have no recollection of having written it back in February when I was researching the concept of our relationship with time. It seems that I was taking notes, summarizing what I read, and writing this article at the same time. Has this ever happened to you? I think I may need a little more practice on present moment awareness. 🙂
Try these practices out for yourself and see how your relationship with time, and yourself, improves. I know mine has. Thanks for reading.