The real life is to ‘Stay Present’

Category: Mental Health | December 02, 2019
By Pasin Intarawong, writer and motivational speaker who specializes in Buddhist teachings

Cells in your body can send a message, and you can hear them by learning to live in the present moment. When you eat you should notice whether your body feels good or not, for example, having an upset stomach means that you consumed unhealthy foods. Your body will react immediately because it’s alive. All those cells and useful microbes in your body can speak, but you never hear the voices of your body. Ignoring them means that you’re not living in the present moment. 

Mindfulness and staying in the present isn’t only about diet. The ‘present’, simply put, means your thoughts are related to the functioning of the body. Within a 24-hour timespan, we can see that most people do not live in the present moment at all. For example, while one is eating, one’s head is not focused on the foods being eaten. While one is thinking all the time, the brain does not focus on what is seen or being touched. Staying in the present is easy to say but the most difficult thing to do, because in our lifetimes, we make ourselves used to the sound of thoughts according to our age. Even though it’s difficult, anyone who can stay in the present seldom feels suffering. 

To measure the level of staying in the present, one can measure how much one suffers. Suffering much indicates that one is immersed in thoughts, though what’s in head does not synchronize with what one is doing. The individual who can stay in the present is the one who has achieved mindfulness meditation. Thai buddhist monks who have gone through intensive Kammathan meditation will practice contemplating the diets and reflecting on the taste of foods. Staying in the present can resolve problems arising from thought and any other issues. 

Techniques for staying in the present according to Dharma principle

In the Anapanasati Sutta parable, Lord Buddha taught us to live with mindful breathing. As we sometimes spend our lives without realizing our thoughts, we feel many things without self-awareness. We see things with our eyes and not with our minds. He said that we should focus our mind and thought on our breathing, allowing us to realize when we’re out of focus and be aware when we can’t control our drifting thoughts. Mindful breathing enables us to feel the flow of thoughts. When practiced to a certain point, one will not cling to one’s thoughts, and the consciousness is awakened. 

Therefore, the big problem of human beings is clinging to feelings and emotions, both positive and negative. Our minds do not realize what is good or bad, it just knows whether to cling or not to cling to thoughts. We need to practice letting go of positive and negative emotions, because our mind is programmed to hold on or let go, though it does not choose what to hold on to. Hence if you cling to happiness and don’t let go, consequently you’ll also cling to sadness as well.  
Mindfulness is learning to stay in the present. Though one wants to get rid of negative emotions while holding on to only the happy feelings, the negative emotions cannot be entirely eliminated due to the clinging of the mind. 

In summary, to stay present we can use any method or technique that allows us to synchronize our thoughts and actions. This is the rule of thumb for practicing mindfulness.

Compiled by: Winna Rakkarn
Photo credit: Unsplash