• Maggie Gold

Awakening to the Present Moment

Have you ever caught yourself so engrossed in your own thoughts that when you step back into present reality, you almost feel as if you’ve been somewhere else?

I’ve had this experience while taking walks, so completely engrossed in my thoughts that when I snapped out of it and looked up, I realized I had been missing the experience entirely. I had so effectively taken myself out of the present moment that I hadn’t once seen the blue of the sky or the leaves on the trees or felt the breeze on my face. I may as well have been somewhere else entirely!

When we are living in our heads, so caught up in memories of the past or worries about the future, we step out of our experience of the world around us. And in doing so, we miss out on life’s simplest pleasures, which are often the most profound—things like the feeling of the sun on your face, the warmth of a shower, or the smile of a loved one. The little moments that make up our lives go by unnoticed.

And yet in every moment is the opportunity to return to the present, where we open back up to all of life’s sacred simplicity. In fact, it takes nothing more than noticing we are out of the present moment to immediately bring ourselves back into it.

To practice opening to the present moment, try the following:

  • When you catch yourself in the busyness of the mind, drop into the body. Take a moment to give your body a gentle scan, simply noticing all of the physical sensations that are there without any need to label or alter them.

  • Consider offering yourself a mini-digital detox and notice how dramatically your awareness of the present moment opens up without a cell phone in hand.

  • Take 5 minutes and try to notice everything: every sound, every sight, every sensation. It’s an overwhelming amount of input but this practice is a remarkable way to raise our level of awareness and teach us to stay in the present moment.

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