What Does It Really Mean To BE HERE?
Ellen Langer, social psychologist at Harvard says "Most of us are not here now enough to know that we’re not here now.” So what does it mean to BE HERE?
No really. What does that actually mean? When I first began meditating 26 years ago, I had NO IDEA what the heck everyone in my yoga class was doing. I would sit there all folded up like a human pretzel and would peek out of one eye and quickly look around the room at everyone else and think “What is everyone DOING???” I simply could not understand what I was supposed to be doing with my busy crazy mind and all the thoughts zipping in and out. Week after week I would sit there pretending to get it. And I just simply didn’t.
My teachers would routinely say, just BE HERE now. I would get so frustrated trying to figure out what they meant by that. "I am here!!” my impatient mind would yell. I would mentally squirm in discomfort and resist all my thoughts and argue with the reality of what was occurring. It was painful and uncomfortable and completely annoying.
And for some reason, I kept trying.
Today, after years of practice and training and retreats and more practice and teaching others, I finally get it. Or at least I think I do. :-)
To be here now really means to experience the moment fully as it is occurring without judgement or resistance. To allow what is. Ellen Langer, defines Mindfulness as “the simple act of actively noticing things."
Often we resist what is by drifting, or drawing our attention away from. This is a habit we form early on in life. When we feel uncomfortable, we move away from that feeling. This makes perfect sense of course. However, there is a price to pay that we are often unaware of. While we find temporary relief when we distract ourselves from uncomfortable feelings, we leave behind a bit of "discomfort” residue. Like a dirty window screen, we can still see through it, but it is not quite as clear or vibrant. When we look, the trees are not as green and the sky not as blue. There is a something getting in the way of seeing clearly. And when we repeatedly distract ourselves the residue builds up over time.
Equally we resist the good stuff. We resist joy just as much as pain. We do not allow ourselves to fully take in the blissful moments, because frankly we are just as uncomfortable with joy unfortunately. This is one reason so many of us are so attracted to babies as they remind us how to squeal in delight when joy is present.
To really BE HERE we must be willing to do a few simple things
- slow down: tune in: pay attention
- allow what is occurring: do not resist
- accept: be willing
This is where mindfulness practice comes in. Mindfulness is about buildingyour awareness muscle. If you can learn to tune in, and notice what is occurring as it is occurring, you are cultivating presence. This is the real gift of a mindfulness practice.
The key to building the awareness muscle is practice, practice, practice. Malcolm Gladwell say that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. While that may be true, research suggests we only need 21 days to shift a habit.
Why not start today?
Just 10 minutes a day. Together. Join me. I’d love to have you!
STARTING MAY 7TH
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form