Colleen M. Doumeng
Are you tuned into the Present Moment?
I am NOT an author. My roles are wife, caregiver, mother, grandmother, admin, volunteer, certified meditation teacher - student of meditation.
Recently, I attended a retreat led by teacher, author, and current master of wisdom, davidji. I can recall my feelings telling this giant that I was asked to write an article on meditation. “So, how is it going”? I was embarrassed to tell him the truth. It wasn’t. I declined the opportunity. Why? I surrendered to my inner critic and to feelings of fear and inadequacy. davidji encouraged me to write the article on how I feel when I am NOT living in the present moment. Here it goes!
When I am not fully present I lose “awareness” and go on autopilot. I get caught in my story lines, melodramas and spin off. Sitting center stage in my mind is “I am not good enough” and “you probably will never be.” Emotions overwhelm me. The words I speak become harsh. Sometimes I shut completely down and pretend to be fine. My responses are knee-jerk. I feel out of balance, shaky, afraid. I become a master of scaring myself and could win first prize playing the “what if game”. Here I borrow the worst possible scenarios from the future. When I am living in the past I replay conversations, revisit decisions made and sit way too long with familiar feelings of disappointment, regret and guilt. I feel victimized and stuck. Clarity, intuition, creativity and patience vanish along with compassion and selfcompassion. I become self-righteous rigidly attached to my own ideas and lose the ability to see multiple interpretations of events as they unfold. I am posturing, imposing my will, not listening, resisting, and unable to receive. I fall back into old repetitious habits and addictions. I assign myself the role of General Manager in charge of everyone I love and their happiness. This leads to feelings of exhaustion and resentment. I cling to false beliefs that I am this body, my possessions and my reputation.
The present moment is the power moment. Everything happens to us in the present moment. But how many of us are truly aware of our thoughts, our emotions, our actions and the words we speak? It’s a practice that we can cultivate.
I started practicing meditation (mindfulness) to help me connect to the present moment. The simplest way for me to describe meditation is that it is awareness training. Each morning I sit in awareness training (meditation) because it sets the trajectory of my day and helps quiet my mind. Throughout the day my life becomes the meditation practice as I become more aware in each moment. I use the “pattern interrupt” breath which is simply taking a deep breath in, holding it for four seconds and releasing the breath slowly to anchor myself in the present moment.
The present moment is sacred and contains infinite possibilities. I have learned that I choose how I respond in each moment and that I am the author of my magical life.