Why Bother being present?
There is so much talk about the benefit of being present in the moment.. at the moment… and I think it’s fair to say that if we asked ourselves, “would we like to be more present in the moment?” we would say yes… but why? What do we want?
Quite often when we say we want to be more present in the moment we unsurprisingly often think about good moments.. beautiful moments, sunsets, walks on the beach, conversations with people we love...
Its possible we may rarely think.. “you know where I want to be more present? Difficult moments…” But the cost of not and the rewards of being present still apply to these moments too.. in fact… could it be just as important to be present when situations are difficult and unpleasant?
OK so if you are not present what happens.. well you miss out on things, and NO ONE likes missing out on things… SO if we are not present… where are we?
Caught up in Thought
Regardless of the type of situation, we could get caught up in our thoughts and prejudgments about ourselves, about other people, about ‘last time’ or similar situations we have been in before or anything relatable. This however, would mean that we are not seeing what is in front of us. We are spending time wrestling with these thoughts, trying to disprove them, make them go away.
“Don’t say that you will look stupid”…”Don’t say anything stupid” “They don’t like me”….”Last time I was here X happened”…. “I’ll never make anyone laugh like they can…” “I don’t like them anyway” “I have to get out of here..” “ooo a text..” “better check Insta”…
Why does this happen? Our minds are very good at amplifying pain and discomfort in the pursuit of protecting us. They don’t want us to experience the potential, inevitable pain of the world. They want to keep us safe! it is our old ancient cave-person instincts of avoiding potentially threatening situations. But what feels good in the short term, the ‘relief’ from a potentially uncomfortable thought, can have long term implications… we miss out…
So what do we miss out on? We miss out on the opportunity to do what matters to us. If we are spending our energy getting caught up in all these unpleasant thoughts based upon past experiences, future worries, rules and judgments we are missing out on connecting with what really matters to us right now.
Imagine if we could truly see what was going on around us. A true awareness of what we are engaged in and what is going on right here right now. This is one of the most powerful choice making tools you can have. This awareness means allowing these potentially difficult thoughts to have less impact on us, giving us an opportunity to in this moment check in with what really matters and take action in that direction. So there it is… one of the number one benefits of being in the present…
So we can actively choose what we do next based on what really matters.