Meditation Skills: Live in the Now (Video & Transcript)

(The following is a transcript of the video above).

Your life is the intersection of your soul and your body in the present moment. Meditation is an excellent way to train yourself live in the now.

In this video, I will talk about meditation and living in the present; how to do it and why you should.

As, I said before: Your life is the intersection of your soul and your body in the present moment.

Your soul is inside of your body now. When your soul is no longer in your body, you're dead. That’s pretty simple, right?  And as we all know, at one moment, your soul will leave your body forever. We don’t know when that is. It could be in the next moment, or it might be in fifty years.

All that you really have is right now. The past is gone and the future does not exist. Life is a series of succeeding moments of you inhabiting your body. Your life is about what you do with your body at any given moment.

Many people are lost in their heads. They are reliving something from the past or worrying about the future or fantasizing. Life is now. By being lost in your head, you are missing out on being alive. Have you ever driven some place and when you got there, not remembered what route you took? If so, then you were lost in your head.

As I spoke about in an earlier video, when we meditate, we should simply sit down, be quiet, observe and accept. Your goal in meditation is to be, not to do. Thinking is doing. Just exist. Simply observe the world within you and outside of you without reaction.

To quiet your mind, you focus your attention on feeling of your breath going in and coming out of your nose. Your breath is the anchor keeping you inside of your body.  When you are not present -- when your minding is wandering off somewhere -- you are not fully inside of your body.

Pull yourself back into your body fully by focusing on your breath. You may have to do this often, because it is natural for our minds to wander. That’s okay. It will happen less as you go along.

The goal in your meditation, as in your daily life,  is to fully experience everything -- both good and bad. Be fully engaged with it. This is your life, right now. Experience it. If you don’t like what is going on in this current moment,  you have the ability to take action to change it.

Being fully in the present is much easier for some people than others. It is something I struggle with all of the time -- while for my wife, it is comes naturally. Many times she notices I am wandering off and asks: "Is Paul here?"  Somehow, she always just knows.

I have had to learn how to do this for myself, just like while I am meditating. I simply talk to myself, saying: “You were weren’t here, “ and then I remember my breathing. This is done non- judgmentally. I am not beating myself up or putting myself down. I am just stating a fact.

There is a kind of clarity coming back to the present. It is kind of like when you go to the eye doctor and you have to look through the machine where they flick through different lenses. There are different stages of fuzziness, until suddenly there is absolute clarity.

A zen garden at Daitokuji in Kyoto.  Photo by Paul Crouse
A zen garden at Daitokuji in Kyoto.  Photo by Paul Crouse

I also remind myself of an old zen idea -- “Be the Rake.” When a monk is raking out the sand in a zen garden, he is told to be the rake.  What that means is that he is totally and fully focused on his work and nothing else. The quality of the raking shows the quality of the mind of the doing the raking.

So, do one thing at a time. When you drink your coffee, enjoy the coffee. When you talk to someone, put everything else down and focus on them. When you ride your bicycle, put your iPod away and pay attention to the road.

Being fully in the present is also a kind of psychic protection. Your mind is an energy field. It is constantly being influenced by the thoughts and feelings of others. Sometimes when you don’t feel fully like yourself, you probably aren’t. Someone else is probably having too much influence over you - either by their actions, what they said to you or the vibes coming off of them. By being fully in your body at the present moment, you push way these influences.

"Shields Up, Mr. Sulu!" I will talk more about this another time.

There are many benefits to living in the present moment. Most importantly, since your life is the intersection of your soul and your body in the current moment, when you are fully aware of your life in the moment, you will not miss any of it.

Also, by being in the present, we push away other people’s energetic influence on us. This opens up a space where we can hear our intuition.

And we will notice all of the wonderful little details in life. The things we did not notice when we were fiddling around with our mobile phones: the smell of the flowers, the joyful sound of children playing, the inner beauty of the person you are talking to.

Pay attention to your life right now. There is no re-run.

Paul Crouse

Paul Crouse is a spiritual teacher and advisor, life coach, writer, speaker and photographer based in Kyoto, Japan. He helps people who consciously want to change their lives for the better. He helps people build a strong inner foundation, while helping them to clarify and achieve their goals. He works with people worldwide via video calling or face-to-face in Kyoto. He also leads workshops and seminars, both online and in person, for organizations and companies.