Habit 6: Listen for silence.
In The Power of Now, Mr. Tolle suggests listening for moments of silence in-between sounds we hear or in-between words in conversations. By listening for the gaps in the sounds we hear day-to-day we need to be vigilant and focused… in other words, we need to be present.
Last week, I was curious to try this idea in New York, a place known to be loud.
I was shocked at how easy it was to find those moments of silence – even when there were many people around!
In particular, I found the quietness of the subway in the morning most interesting. Had I not paid attention to the silence, I never would have noticed how quiet the subway is in the morning in-between trains. Instead, my mind’s internal chatter would have covered up the silent pauses and I would never have believed that so much silence could exist in such a crowded place.
Habit 7: Exercise mindfully.
This habit is a powerful one. Much like mediation, mindful exercise like yoga, running, or walking can help us calm our internal dialogue and divert our attention to our body in the present moment.
By turning our attention our movements, we are more likely to experience presence.
Habit 8: Use the Calm.com app.
Calm.com is a great app that provides 2-20 minute meditations. You can use it on your phone or on your desktop, and the meditations can really help you connect back to the present moment when things feel stressful or you need to refocus.
And of course, other similar meditation tools or practices can be helpful, this one just happens to be my favorite.
Habit 9: Monitor your body.
This suggestion comes from The Power of Now. Mr. Tolle suggests checking in with how we feel internally in order to discover how present we are at any given moment.
When doing this practice, I’ve been surprised at how frequently I notice a slight sense of unease or discomfort. Mr. Tolle describes that uneasy feeling as the body’s reaction to non-present thinking.
By putting attention on the uneasy feeling inside, we are able to accept it and ultimately to breathe through it until it retreats.
Habit 10: Clean your home.
Last but not least, our external environments affect our internal environments. So if we want to feel calm, peaceful, and present in our lives, we can help increase that presence by decluttering our physical space.
Because I use the same space as an office, living room, dining room, and kitchen, I make sure to put away work supplies before dinner and I clean the kitchen before work (at least most of the time).
If you haven’t tried to declutter in order to gain presence in a multi-use workspace, I highly recommend it!
Though these habits have worked for me, they may not be ideal for everyone. On the other hand, we cannot assume that our current habits will maintain our focus forever.
As I mentioned in the first post, no matter what we do, we cannot make one change and have presence forever. Over time, new interruptions or routines will pop up in our lives.
Distraction is a moving target.
So our job, as presence-seeking beings, is not to find a “silver bullet” that dissolves our distractions forever, but to realize that we will need to remain aware of what interrupts our presence on a regular basis and make changes accordingly.