“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” — Eckhart Tolle
In this age of intense busyness, information overload, and multitasking, the idea of slowing down can feel like a waste of time. Have you noticed when you let yourself get too caught up in the busyness of the world you can lose connection with yourself, with others, and most importantly with your soul/higher Self. For many of us, to be mindful, to be present in the moment or in the NOW is a dance of then not NOW, there not NOW, or ideally both NOW and there. More on this, but first let me give you a quick update :
A Quick Update
If you’ve been following my blog posts you may have noticed that you have not been receiving my usual bi-weekly posts according to schedule. Please know that it is my intention that every post will be a reminder that will serve you. But I confess as you continue to read this post you will probably soon realize I am writing this post mostly as a gentle reminder for myself to live in the NOW.
For the past month, I have given myself a stacation from the frustration and learning pace and space of creating an ebook, developing a new website and the marketing side of online business. Coincidently or maybe not, the title of my book is Life’s Balancing Act, Living with Less Stress, Creating More Ease and Grace. Hmmm! do you agree that we teach what we want to learn?
Being in The Then and There
Juxtaposed to my stacation I was stunned a couple of weeks ago when my daughter, Sharon, family and friends, Peggi and Regina surprised me with a birthday party three months ahead of my actual birthday. As a result, I have been in-between reliving the memories of the love that I experienced at the actual event (then) and looking forward to the Hawaii vacation that is included as a part of the surprise gift (there).
Hmmm! A joyful excuse to expand my stacation for another month as I look forward (there) to a week’s vacation in one of my favorite locations. But it also offers me the temptation and choice of not living in the present. However, making the NOW my primary focus is the work that allows my awareness and connection to the Divine Presence to grow and deepen.
I belong to the school that believes your soul is what you are. It is an eternal, powerful, purposeful part of your essence designed for your growth and unfoldment. In other words, there is nothing that happens in your life that isn’t for the purpose of growing you spiritually to your next level of personal evolution of who you truly are and have come here to be.
Gary Zukov, author of the book Seat of The Soul makes the analogy that the soul is like a Mother Ship that knows where it is going and sets the direction of why you are in the water. To follow the analogy he adds that the personality part of us, are little boats learning to sail in the same direction of the Mother Ship. You (little boat) can respond . . . or not. It is always your choice.
Some experience the call of the soul in a blinding flash and immediately respond and commence the journey/voyage of aligning with the Mother Ship. For most of us it is a gradual journey of up and down, in and out, here and there, now and then journey/voyage of finding our way of honoring, harmonizing and becoming in alignment with the flow of our authentic life.
Being in The There and Not in The Now
An example of finding her way is Karen Armstrong, former nun and author of her memoir The Spiraling Staircase. She felt her soul’s call at age 17. She shares that a few years later, she joined the convent in search of God (there). She wanted God to no longer be a remote shadowy Presence, but a vital reality in her life. What she discovered was, while she could focus in other areas of her duties and life, she couldn’t pray (there). Her thoughts took over and as she says, “went in every scittering alley.”
Imagine being a nun who can’t pray. Try as hard as you may, you are unable to concentrate your thoughts during designated prayer times. Karen acknowledges as a nun that was a huge drawback. As she says, “A nun is nothing except for the quality of her prayers.” Can you imagine how shameful you might feel?
Being in The Here and NOW
The good news is Karen discovered a practice in which she experiences the connection with her soul’s longing that she had been seeking. Later, after leaving the convent, immersing herself in her studies (here and NOW). Much like the Jewish thirst for study of the Torah as a form of prayer, Karen found the connection and vital presence of God her soul had longed for.
Both Now Here and There
Most of you are aware of the classic story of Brother Lawrence, author of Practicing The Presence of God, who felt the call of his soul around the age of 19. At 25 he joined a monastery. He was uneducated and therefore was unable to become a monk, so they put him to work in the kitchen peeling potatoes and washing dishes. He stayed in the kitchen for the next 55 years.
Because of his busy job in the kitchen (NOW) he was not often released by his superiors to go to the set times of community prayer and worship (there). So brother Lawrence decided to make the kitchen his Sanctuary (NOW). He developed a way of life that he called “Practicing the Presence of God (NOW).” Before too long he had such a radiant peace and constant joy that the monks began coming to him in the kitchen for counsel and help.
The most famous quote from Brother Lawrence is probably this one, “The time of business does not differ with me from the time of prayer (there); and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great a tranquility as if I were up on my knees at the blessed sacrament.”(NOW)
Think about it, over three hundred years later the conversations that he has written down are still in print and a part of the Library of Spiritual Classics.
7 Practices That Support Us in Cultivating Being in the Now (adapted and modified from Bro. Lawrence and others):
- Recognize that Infinite Presence is always intimately present within you.
- Practice continual conversations with your inner Presence.
- Let go of everything that you recognize does not lead to God.
- When doubtful ask the Divine for assistance to align with your soul’s purpose to serve.
- In all things give thanks.
- When you remember that you have gone awhile without being mindful, do not dwell on it, simply go back to thinking about and talking with the Lord of your Being.
Mandy Hale gives this lovely reminder of being in the NOW, “Dance. Smile. Giggle. Marvel. TRUST. HOPE. LOVE. WISH. BELIEVE. Most of all, enjoy every moment of the journey, and appreciate where you are at this moment instead of always focusing on how far you have to go.”
Aah, take a deep breath and relax (NOW)!
Finally, I offer David, the Psalmist reminder of our connection to the Divine, “Where Can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to Heaven, you are there; if I make my bed and hell, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the far limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.” Psalms 139: 7 – 10
I would love hearing from you. What are your mindfulness practices for being in the NOW?
Please comment in the comment box below.
As we know, we are what we think all day long. Let’s align ourselves with the Infinite Source of Life and let Life flow through us as right action and true expression.
As always, on this site, there are, affirmations, and meditations to support you on your journey to self-empowerment.
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LOL = Lots Of Love