Being Present

I’m practicing being present all the time.  It’s really difficult for people like me who are analytically-inclined.  I’m reminded of my improv teacher in college who told us at the beginning of the class: “This class is really hard for Stanford students because it requires turning off your judgment and simply going with the flow, and by virtue of you being here, I know that does not come naturally to you.”  At the same time, being present is the easiest thing in the world to do.  You were born with this natural ability, and everything else about you has been added on since.

  • Dorian

    Sorry, I was thinking about something else while I was reading this…what?

  • Anonymous

    I’m curious about what you mean by we were born with this ability? Do you mean that babies are naturally “present”? If so, why is this relevant to adults? Babies are born with lots of things that the natural course of biological maturation changes.

    Or are you saying that adults would naturally have this ability if we developed in the ancestral environment? If so, I’d like to see your evidence.

    • Rafe Furst

      babies are naturally present. adults forget how easy it is to be.

      • Anonymous

        This doesn’t seem very interesting then. We know that infant brain structure and operation is quite different from that of adults-that these differences are in fact programmed into the development process.

        I don’t know understand why you’re holding up this particular aspect of development as an ideal. Babies can’t control their bladders, coordinate fine finger movements, or hold their heads up either. In fact, these could all be relate to why babies seem more present.

        • Rafe Furst

          if you’ve heard of “beginner’s mind” from zen, this is what i am referring to

  • Chris H.

    I waver back and forth to such a high degree that it causes me a great amount of frustration. Some days I will sit at my desk and 8 hours fly by — I am in the moment, producing great work, incredibly productive, and satisfied with my day. Other days, my mind is everywhere but the thing in front of me. I’ve never been able to master controlling which mindset will show up, despite numerous efforts to try and puzzle it out. Sometimes, my brain is excited about something, and I just can’t shut it up.

  • Marissa

    I love observing my cats - they are the epitome of being in the present.

  • Being present is better than being asleep to the fact that you’re never present, but if we don’t then APPLY ourselves and start building memories/past and relationships, then we’re going to be in a very lonely place. In the beginning of Inception the quick sequence of dreams is similar to being in the present, one moment at a time. The ending is also a reminder that it is really up to you to decide when to FLIP from awake to asleep. The Neverending Story II also hits on the idea that being in the present moment leads to loss of memory and past. That’s the application to the individual. Now what do you think about the global situation? It seems like we’re expanding further and further into the present moment as individuals and compromising our memories because we can upload a decent record of things onto the cloud. A movie or a picture or a status update is surely a much more accurate account of things, particularly since we tend to re-record our memories based on how we tell our stories and not how things happened. I think it’s interesting that we still have to make a conscious decision to pause the moment and take record if we want to actually remember anything. Memento?

  • Sarahsenergy

    Being present is being alive and noticing the small things that seem minuscule but are actually very big which make up the sum of the large picture which is all connected.

  • Enkhbat Volodya

    Yes it is not easy to be present every time. I think, most people don’t understand the purpose of being present, the benefits from it. As I know human mind operates in two modes of perception, i.e sensing and thinking. It means, we cannot think while sensing (for example seeing) or cannot sense while thinking.  Our attention is jumping between two sense fields but we often don’t aware it. Being present in my experience is being conscious every moment what our mind is doing or in simplest way to be aware of your attention.