The Art of Being Present
Presence is a state of attunement. It is a state of being connected. It is being connected to the self, to other people, and to the experience in the moment. There are immense emotional benefits to developing the ability to be present and it all starts with understanding what being present means.
The brain is always scanning your environment. Why? It is searching for threats. It constantly searches for any changes or disruptions to what it has learned. The brain predicts, then simulates. It is never in the present moment. It is constantly trying to match its past experience to what it present in its environment. If we experience something traumatic, the brain then searches so hard for a similar event, it will eventually find it because of the filters it creates.
The mind, which is constructed of both the body and the brain, has the ability to observe what the brain is doing if we train it to do this. The mind can observe the many thoughts we create and make assessments of their viability. One way we can accomplish this is to slow things down. We can slow down our breathing to bring attention to our breathing and the sensations our body is producing. This helps slow down our thoughts. We can also journal our thoughts and feelings. This forces us to be even slower with our thoughts. As we slow things down we create space. We can be more present.
Reframing past events so that we are more understanding of them also helps this process. Why? Because if we can soften a response to a traumatic past event, we won't be as anxious of it occuring again.
Developing a practice of gratitude and appreciation for the smallest things works to create presence also. When we can be in a state of gratitude, we alleviate emotion creating a calm and safe base.
Everyone's brain comes ready made with the default settings of chaotic, distracted, and worst case scenario thinking. If you want to be able to elevate to the transcendent state where you can be more present, it requires you to upgrade your brain to an optional package. This comes with time, commitment, and perseverance. The brain is more than capable of this but you first have to know this, want this, then put in the work for this.