As my favorite yoga teacher and dear friend Aimee began our Friday afternoon yoga class, she shared a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh: " There is no other time but the present moment". To realize that all the happiness we seek is right here and now within each of us is truly liberating. This is by no means new information, yet it is quite a challenge to consistently stay in the now and let go of living in the wreckage of the past or future.
One of the ways I have discovered to stay present is to become aware of my Prana, a Sanskrit word loosely translated in English meaning "life force". While the breath is not exactly Prana, conscious deep breathing gets me to experience the prana that always moves through me in the moment. My daily meditation practice is key to maintaining this awareness as well as remembering to breath deeply throughout the day.
Exercise is is another way I remember to be present. I went on a 45 mile bike ride Saturday on some truly magnificent country roads near Lake Ontario. While compulsive and intrusive thoughts will periodically enter my mind and take me out of the now, I keep coming back to the moment by feeling the sheer exhilaration of cycling and keeping my awareness on the wind in my face and so much of the beauty I observe.
On Monday morning I found myself feeling a gnawing anxiety thinking I needed to be someplace and do something related to my commercial real estate business aka my " real job". I was completely out of the present moment which is typically what anxiety does to me. So I sat down at Starbucks with a cup of coffee and just started writing in my journal without judging what the content looked like. I wrote about the people and situations in my life I am grateful for.
As a society we are driven to distraction, probably why anxiety is so rampant today. When we come to that serene place within ourselves and realize there is only this moment, we are truly channeling our inner rebel and getting to live life as we were meant to.