How to be present?
When I need a bit of support in my meditation practice, I use the Headspace app. Doing one of the guided meditations this week, Andy Puddicombe (the founder and 'voice' of Headspace) asked that I set an intention for my meditation - to think about why I'm meditating today and what impact it will have on those around me.
In that moment, I thought about it helping me come from a present and loving place with what I say and do with those around me - friends, family, colleagues, clients.
Afterwards the thought stayed with me. Why be present?
There's a lot of talk of mindful leadership, being present with our loved ones and in the workplace, but why?
When you're in the present moment, you notice more how you feel - emotions, reactions, sensations in the body. When you know how you feel, you're better able to communicate what you want and what you need from those around you, to set your boundaries and respond instead of react.
Being more present minimises your physical, emotional and mental stress or anxiety about what might (or might not) happen in the future. It reduces the amount of energy you spend getting lost in thoughts or memories of something that happened in the past that causes you sadness, shame or anger in the present.
Being present allows you to fully be and give in the moment - for and to the people you're collaborating with, leading or loving.
Meditation is one way to develop a practice of being more present. Developing this mindful awareness or presence can also come from small practices like;
Eating a meal without looking at your phone/watching the TV/reading
Taking a bathroom break without your phone (c'mon we've all done it!)
Closing your eyes and taking 3 deep breathes at your desk
Walking from A to B and noticing the sights, sounds and smells around you
If you're new to meditation and want to practice, you can try this 1minute meditation or an app like Headspace, Calm or Insight Timer.
I know it was a longer one but if you've stayed present and got to the end of this without rushing off to see to the next thing on your mind, I salute you!