During my recent trip to Costa Rica, I had a moment of inspiration. I was laying in a hammock and focusing intently on the words I was reading in the book Proof of Heaven. For a long while, there were no thoughts in my head, only the mental comprehension of the words. When a thought finally popped into my head, it came in the form of a question. I wondered if part of the reason I’ve always loved reading is because it is an activity that allows me to be intently Present. In fact, reading almost forces a person to be attentive – maybe you’ve also had an experience where your mind wandered and you had to go back and re-read an entire section!
The extension of my thought about enjoying reading for the Presence it elicits is that we tend to like activities that call us into the Now. This can easily be seen with adrenaline activities (try jumping off of a 100 foot bridge if your mind is elsewhere!), but it is also evident when it comes to things like sex, alcohol, drugs, and situations that evoke intense emotional reactions. I wonder if this principle could also be applied to travel – when you’re in a new city everything is fresh and you’re very attentive to your surroundings.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with engaging in activities that center you in the Present, but I do think it’s important to note that we can experience Presence outside of circumstances. After all, it’s all internal! I really enjoy frequent meditation and yoga – I find these two things in particular really facilitate presence.
I’d love to know if you’re on board with the thought that everything we do is trying to draw us into the moment or if you think there’s more to the picture! Also, what activities do you find really center you in the Now?