Do you ever find yourself wandering away from a conversation, meeting or lecture? Do you find it hard to quiet your mind and focus on what is in front of you? Don't worry, a lot of us do. Having an active brain is a normal and healthy function. However, sometimes we really need or want to tune in and be present or be peaceful.
Here are 5 ways to begin that practice:
1. Don't judge yourself or your brain
When we talk about a quiet mind, it doesn't mean it is a silent mind. However, our goal is to observe these thoughts without judgement! And that is the key. When we begin to notice our thoughts and feelings without judgement, our mind automatically begins to calm itself. Amazing, right? The more you fight thoughts, the more thoughts will arise. So just focus on peace and being centered, while noticing and letting go of passive thoughts or feelings.
2. Understand that it is impossible to have a silent brain.
Your brain is a machine that is constantly processing data. It is nearly impossible to stop this. So just go with it. Notice, accept and let it go.
3. Focus on what and how you are doing things
Our brains like routine. Often times, the thing we do are automatic. We do them without processing them. We get to point A or B without much thinking. We go to the bathroom, eat, watch TV, take a shower, etc. We do most of these things without much thought. But one way of learning to be present is to remind yourself of your action. "I am washing my hair. I am washing my arm pits." (please tell me you wash your pits! :) Taking a shower is a great way to talk about another way we can do this, use your 5 senses! We call this a "grounding technique." This helps you be in the moment. What can you smell in the shower? Your soap? How does the water sound? Can you focus on feeling each stream of water on your skin? How does it feel? and so on. You can use this grounding technique in just about any setting. If you find you are drifting away, tap into your body by using your built in senses!
4. Return your focus to the present
You are going to wander away from your goal of being present. Remember, this is a sign of a functioning brain. When that happens, just bring yourself back gently. Like a leaf on a stream, notice the passing thought and watch it drift away. It doesn't have to stop you. Don't quit or get frustrated with yourself.
This is a practice folks! It takes time to develop these habits. They take work and dedication but I know you can do it. Let's practice together!
And remember, let go of what's no longer serving you, so that you too can rise like the lotus.