Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. – Buddha
Difficulty Finding Flow
I’ll put it out there; I find it difficult to switch off and find the present moment. Are you in the same boat?
For about 80% of the day my mind likes to be on: what will I eat? When will I go for a run? What do I need to achieve today? What will I write in this paragraph?
I manage to find the present moment in the remaining 20% when i’m doing things I really love such as running or playing football. There’s no worries, intended outcome or distractions. My mind feels still and there’s no desire to think.
Trekking the Himalayas
In summer 2013, I was trekking the Himalayas when I met a beautiful Australian couple who I became very good friends with. In 2014 they invited me to their wedding in USA and I decided to hitchhike 7,500km across Canada to get there. It was a memorable experience but that’s for another article.
I remember the first time we met. We decided to team up and trek together for the day. After several hundred metres of inclination and hours chatting to them about life, I asked them what the best advice they’d ever been given. Very simply, they replied:
“Be where your feet are.”
Ever since, this simple yet powerful mantra has stuck with me. I’ve programmed myself to use it as a short and succinct reminder that helps put what I’m doing into perspective and brings me back down to Earth.
My Advice for Finding the Present Moment
So, if you’re like me and sometimes struggle to “be where your feet are”, then here are a few things to try/remind yourself:
- Use the mantra daily to remind yourself that life is experienced where you are, who you’re with and what you are doing RIGHT NOW.
- The future hasn’t arrived yet and the past has been and gone, therefore the only useful place to live is the present moment. Remind yourself that experiences are always first created in the present moment.
- Observe your thoughts, become self-aware of your state as a neutral observer, and notice when you are acting outside of the present moment. You can only change your state by consciously becoming aware of it.
- Ask yourself the question: What do I desire? Think about what you love doing, and go and do that without trying to think about the implications too much.
- Go for a walk – especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed from overthinking. I find it’s very useful to get out there and reconnect with nature. It’s amazing what a bit of fresh air and movement can do. This is one of my favourite things to do when my mind is thinking too much.
- Calm the mind through meditation and yoga – yoga is something that i’ve started recently and I’ve found it very helpful for calming my mind and relaxing my muscles. I started with very basic 15 minute beginner Youtube tutorials which have been great so far. The most crucial thing is that you consistently show up – maybe 3-4 times a week to start with. Start really small, build a good habit that sticks, then increase the intensity and duration of your session.
Although the past and future are useful for shaping the present moment, thinking about them outside of the present moment, independently, is futile.
The present moment has immense power. Whether we experience joy, happiness, sadness, anger or love, these feelings are created and experienced in the present moment.
Without presence, life passes us by.
Remember: Be where your feet are.
This moment is all that really exists. Embrace it.
Thanks for reading and all the best,
Daniel Beaumont, Monday 11th January 2016
About the Author
Hello everyone, I’m
I discovered that travel, if approached with the right mindset, can be life-changing, and a trip combining travel, purpose and introspection is a great way to learn, challenge oneself and change for the better. Now my mission in life is to share what I’ve learned to inspire others to embark on their own journey of self-discovery and use travel, entrepreneurship and technology as a means to make the world a better place.
I’m also the founder of Podstel – a vision to help humanity belong and grow by creating a worldwide network of ‘homes’ that bring locals and travellers together to share their stories, passions and skills. The first two Podstels are open and thriving in Bucharest, so if you’re passing through, be sure to come and say hi, or stay the night with us.
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