Be Present: “… He who lives in the present lives in eternity …” ~ Ludwig Wittgenstein
“… being here now becomes a beacon drawing us home …” ~ Peter Russell
Right here … right now … this moment … is the endless now … and it is truly and literally all we have … as Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us: “Life can be found only in the present moment” …
And yet … our lives are largely bound up in two “not-now pursuits” : dissecting/analyzing what has been (past) and anticipating/imagining/fantasizing what’s yet to come (future) …
The result? … the seemingly “unavoidable” experience of the present is somehow “avoided” or missed ??!! … because the attention is elsewhere …
And almost all of us fall prey to it … most, if not all, of the time … baffling, isn’t it?
To make matters worse, an unfortunate consequence is that a large part of our “avoidable or unnecessary” suffering stems from these two pursuits.
Given that dissolving suffering is one of the key aims of every tradition, it is not surprising that many teachers, scholars, authors, and wise ones talk about “being present” – each offering a clue to its power:
“This – the immediate, everyday, and present experience – is IT, the entire and ultimate point for the existence of a universe.” ~ Alan Watts
“Hold to the now, the here, through which all future plunges to the past.” ~ James Joyce
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have … the only thing. It’s all there is. The eternal present is the space within which your whole life unfolds, the one factor that remains constant. Life is now. There never was a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
It seems obvious – even without the words of the wise ones – that being present holds the key to dissolving much of our suffering … so today, we’ll consider some reminders about how to be present – via Peter Russell.
In the aptly titled chapter Savoring the Moment from his book Letting Go of Nothing, Peter offers 3 simple yet powerful ways to be present, each with deeper and impacting benefits … and he posits that when we are savoring the moment, we end up reinforcing being present … which inevitably “… becomes a beacon drawing us home …” … so, in this post we offer the full chapter … as part 4 of our multi-part series providing an in-depth preview of his book through excerpts …
… Part 2, was the 1st step in letting go, which is Letting In as per Peter (covered in a chapter named as such) …
… Part 3, was about the gifts of pausing via the chapter Just Pause
This book is An Eckhart Tolle Edition (an imprint of New World Library – the publisher of Peter’s book) that offers “… life-changing works, both old and new, that have been personally selected by Eckhart Tolle … books that can powerfully aid in transforming consciousness and awakening readers to a life of purpose and presence.”
All italicized text below is from Letting Go of Nothing: Relax Your Mind and Discover the Wonder of Your True Nature by Peter Russell and is published here with his generous permission. Peter has also generously offered a free downloadable PDF of the Table of Contents (link is at the bottom of the post).
Here are all of Peter’s posts on Stillness Speaks … and his website – a treasure trove of wisdom: rich, diverse, and valuable content for your journey … and his YouTube channel where he posts videos regularly.
Savoring the Moment: Being Present
Now is the only moment we will ever know. Our memories of the past are experiences in the present. So are our thoughts about the future. So when we talk about not being present, we mean our attention is not on the present moment. It is focused on thoughts about the past or future.
We can be present in three ways. First, we can live for today, not worrying about yesterday or about what tomorrow may bring. This attitude has its value. It can help us take life as it comes and not get so troubled by unnecessary fears and concerns. But it does not necessarily lead to fuller awareness of the present moment itself. We may still be as caught up in thoughts as before, even if they are thoughts about today rather than about yesterday or tomorrow.
A second way, common to many meditation practices, is being aware of our current experience. Whereas most of our thoughts are about the past or the future, our sensory experience is always “now.” This is why basic meditation techniques often focus the attention on the body — the heartbeat, the breath, or some other sensation. The feelings in the body are always in the present.
And there is a third way of being present that can develop from this: being present to how it is to be present — not so much noticing your experience of the moment but noticing how it feels to be in the moment.
You may have a sense of ease, of relief and relaxation, of deeper contentment, inner peace, joy. Perhaps a sense of openness or spaciousness. Or a gentle delight in the mind being quiet, an appreciation of the inner stillness. However it feels, allow yourself to savor it. To soak in it, as you might soak in a warm bath.
Savoring how it actually feels to be present motivates us to return here more often. As we do, the familiar, delightful feeling of being here now becomes a beacon drawing us home.
~ Peter Russell
Stay tuned for more from Peter’s book …
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Consciously “practicing” being present, inevitably, helps us see our “oneness” … a natural consequence of which is more compassion and kindness towards others … so in that spirit let us help the victims of Hurricane Ian in whatever way we can … and to that end here are some options:
2) Go Fund Me: How You Can Help: Donate to Hurricane Ian Relief.
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We are all facing financial challenges but IF your situation allows you to donate and help then please do so …
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