How often do we find ourselves on auto-pilot? Just going through the motions without finding true presence in each moment and missing all the details.
“Presence is a state of inner spaciousness.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
Have you ever had a situation where you’ve driven home and completed a task, and upon arriving to your destination you realise you can’t really remember much of the journey? The problem with living life in a blur is that despite reaching your desired outcome, the lessons, connection and potential enjoyment in the process is lost. And this is where the real magic happens.
What about if you applied the same principle to your relationships – how many conversations have you had with family, friends or your children where you’ve either been distracted or couldn’t recollect the details of what was said?
Your presence is the most precious gift you can give to another human being.
Unfortunately we’re caught up in a world where multi-tasking is not only the norm, but is revered. And the current global situation means that this expectation is only compounded – perhaps you’re home schooling whilst working, managing the household with little to no downtime, or have a sense of “being on call” because of course we’re now all online and always available.
As we find ourselves in the grips of this challenging & unprecedented time, we have turned to online platforms to supplement our work, exercise and social interaction. Whilst this serves a valuable purpose, unfortunately it also comes with its own set of challenges. You may remember a time when getting back to someone within 1-2 days was acceptable, whereas now the social norm is to respond in mere minutes, if not seconds.
The result of constantly being switched on and available, with the need to focus on several tasks at once, is that we never stop but are equally never truly present. Plus, in order to navigate through this way of living we keep ourselves in state of alertness all the time. Quite an oxymoron – to never truly be focused but constantly alert.
A lack of presence comes from being too much in our heads and our thoughts, and not enough in the experience of a moment.
If slowing down the pace of life at the moment is not an option, then at least find ways to become more present. When we’re more present we’re more focused and therefore more productive in our activity. When we are present we can differentiate between when we need to be ‘switched on’ and when we can allow the body to relax and let go.
True presence can improve our relationship with others, through genuine connection. When we are more present with our external world, we are more connected with our internal world, and hence more connected with ourselves.
How to be more present in an online world
- Be intentional with your focus ~ choose one thing to focus on. At times multi-tasking can be an effective way to use our time, but often it just means we’re overworked. Be completely present with what’s in front of you.
- Be intentional with your relationships ~ switch from “touching base” online to making true connections. Rather than text, call a friend or loved one, or better yet make the most of our newfound “face time” by organising a zoom or Skype chat.
- Be intentional with your time away ~ resist the urge to obsessively check social media accounts, emails and messages. Choose your work time and outside of these hours switch off your notifications and go digital free to give your mind a break.
- Find ways to connect in a non-digital way ~ regain that mind-body connection through yoga, meditation, mindfulness practices, and self care rituals. Be present with your family by switching your devices off and giving them your full attention.
Most importantly for your own long term health & wellbeing, find that balance between being your “online” mode and your “offline” reality. Explore more Mindfulness Techniques in our previous blog on Exploring Mindfulness Through Yoga
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