This month’s doorway to an open heart is being present. But what does it mean to be present?
First, it’s a clearing of the mind, so that you’re not preoccupied by the past or by things you’re anticipating for the future. You’re actually experiencing what you’re experiencing in that moment.
Second, it’s an awareness of your body, and all of the sights and sounds around you. In his book True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart, Zen Buddhist monk Tich Naht Hanh provides several examples of inner phrases that help you become present, including my favorite:
“I see you,” whether you’re addressing another person or something else in your presence, such as a tree or a flower, “and I’m glad that you are here.” Repeating that phrase inside your mind will help bring the present moment to you, and you to it. He explains that “above all, love is to be there.”
In fact, I got chills when I watched the movie Avatar, as the Na’vi beings spoke their greeting, “I see you” as their golden eyes connect with each other. Being present in your mind and body allows your heart to be present – and being present, it can open.
Barriers to being present
Getting things done – Sometimes we tell ourselves that we can’t stop and focus on the present moment because we have too much to do. The point is not necessarily to do less but simply to be present to what ever it is you are doing. I remember hearing Eckhart Tolle say that if you are truly present in the moment, overwhelm is impossible! We can actually achieve a lot more when we’re in the flow of the present moment; more creativity, stronger working relationships and, yes, improved output.
Hiding out – Sometimes it’s easier to keep a distance or shield between us and other people. It takes confidence and courage to truly connect with someone else (and yet, that’s where all of the rewards are).
When you walk through the world with an open heart, you put out a powerful form of energy. When you’re grounded in the present moment, other people will feel it, even if you don’t say a word. And this applies equally to the workplace and the kitchen table, to friends, family or strangers.
When you feel more peaceful and present, other people can connect with you and your open heart can have a ripple effect.
Take this doorway into your day
Let’s revise the freeze technique that I introduced in the last newsletter. This time, when you freeze, notice where you are in this moment – what has your attention?
Even that simple step will bring you into the present moment, inviting you to stop and turn inwards. Once you’ve stopped, try any of these methods to keep yourself in the present moment.
- Take your hand and place it on your heart.
- Connect to your breath – consciously notice your breath going in, nourishing you, and then coming out again.
- Put your feet on the floor and notice the feeling of the ground under your feet.
- Look at something or someone and say in your mind, “I see you and I’m glad you are here.”
- Reach out and make physical contact with something or someone.
- Use eye contact to tune in to the person you are with.