Monday, 6 February 2012

What is it to be present, without judgement?

I'm just back from leading a Process Coaching weekend and I have been 'struck' by how hard most of us find it to 'simply be present to the moment that we are in'. It sounds simple doesn't it... So, lets give it a try.

Firstly, find a time when you know that you won't be interrupted and you have a couple of minutes to just be. Now, find a place where you can just relax, you can be seated, lying or standing, it matters not a jot. So, find your place and your body position and start to get present to what is in the here a now, notice your breathing, is it shallow or deep, as you notice it and get present to it you may notice that you automatically start to breathe more deeply. Now, focus your attention on your breathing and simply notice the path of the air as it travels into your throat, past your larynx, down your wind pipe, through your chest, behind your heart and into your lungs. Continue to follow the path of the same air at it travels in the reverse direction back out of your body. For a simple and more detailed version of this see 'Taming your Gremlin' by Rick Carson, page 35ish.

Now you should be present, so scan your body and put your attention on (or be present) to what you notice, from the top of your head, imagine that there is a body scanner slowly scanning the whole of your body, what do you notice about your brow, your temples, your nose, your jaw, your teeth, the skin on your face, are you relaxed or tense? As you notice any tension you might want to breathe into that part of your body and just let the tension go on the out breath.

Continue to do this exercise and travel down the whole length of your body. The art of this exercise is to move your attention from in between your temples and focus it on your body. Get out of your head and into your body. Simply notice what you notice and without judgement, it is what it is..... and what it is, is just fine. Remember judging it, doesn't change anything at all. What it does do, is take you out of your body and into your head. Although 'heads' are lovely things, they are overrated in my opinion, we spend far too much time, judging and making things wrong or right, having an opinion etc on thing that don't actually matter.

Practice being in the moment every day, the more your practice the easier it gets, you have to do something 28 times to create a new habit, and for 10, 000 hours to become masterful (or something like that) so, don't just stop when you have tried a couple of times and it doesn't seem to be working. Have tenacity and keep going, I promise it will get easier the more you practice.
The thing I want you to notice most of all is how your body feels when it is stress and tension free and know that, this is how were are meant to live our lives. This is our natural state of being and we create all the stress and tension ourselves from not being present to the moment we are in and judging ourselves and others to be good or bad, right or wrong, hard or easy etc etc.

Here is an inquiry for you, What is it to be present? How would your life be different if you were present in each moment? To your kids when you are with them, to your work when you are doing it, to your customers, to your lover, to your friends and more importantly to yourself?

What if, instead of judging yourself, you just noticed, what is going on with me? What am I noticing about myself right now? How is this working for me? Is this serving me or not?

What do I mean by is this serving me or not.... OK is this working for me, is it helping me to stay calm and present, or am I making myself wrong, or anxious or stressed. If its the former, I would say it's serving you, if it's the latter I would say it may not be serving you.

The present moment is rich and fulfilling and changes from moment to moment. In my experience the biggest gift we can give ourselves is to practice being present and 'in the moment'. Being in the moment does not require any preparation, being in the moment, you don't have to get it 'right or wrong' you just have to be.

There is a reason why someone coined the phrase 'practice makes perfect' and for that matter 'analysis paralysis'. Take some time to practice being present and simply notice the impact it has on your life. If you get the urge, please let me know what you notice.