Being At Present State Is Such A Powerful Tool

Jeju is absolutely stunning.

As a heterogeneous male member of a multicultural, multisexual, multiethnic, globally interconnected society, I have had my fair share of monthly "male" periods. A monthly period of depression, anxiety, crisis and what not. I guess everybody has had their bad days, days when loneliness is excruciatingly obvious. Days when you don't want to pick the phone up. 

Days when living just doesn't make any sense. 

It's on those days like that being at present is the most effective. A simple definition of "being at present" is well..being at present but you could rephrase it to being at the moment, being here and now and not somewhere kite surfing in Hawaii. Would love to do that though. 

We talk about balanced diet, balanced work-play, but what about balanced mindset? Most anxieties or stress, at least for me, channels from either thinking obsessively about past or future. Type A personality people who are ambitious and goal oriented skew towards future while people who undergo mental depression actually look to past events. Emotions can run high. Brain circuitry can go absolute nuts. That's why a balanced outlook of not looking too much in the past and not thinking too much into the future is an ideal pathway into how people should think and behave. And that my friend, can be achieved by this simple method of grounding yourself at the present moment, right here, right now. 

People have a general tendency of telling you what to do but skipping on the part of how exactly something needs to be done. I used to hear my seniors saying that I should work hard which I did know how to. My version of working hard was to stay put at the library and watch porn. Stimulating the brain, as they say. 

So how exactly can you or me, stay at present. There was no simple answer. A natural step was to meditate and I have written what changes meditation has brought into my life [HERE]. Suffice to say, what a 10 minute or 20 minute meditation trains your brain to do is to catch yourself drifting off to abyss and make yourself come back to the present state. This process is also called being mindful. Mindful about what your senses are responding to, what your eyes are seeing, what sounds and vibrations your ears are listening too, that gush of wind that's flowing past your skin. Just being aware of what's happening at the moment. Being aware of your existence, aware of your feelings and emotions, aware of everything happening inside you. 

The brain, as it turns out, is really bad at multitasking. At any given time, the brain can focus at only one task at hand. It's the same way our computer's operating system works. While it might look like it's multitasking, it is really not. It's switching between tasks at such a rate that feels like real time. The brain functions similarly; we focus on one task at time and leave the rest to our muscle memory training to work on autopilot.

So when we gradually catch ourselves heading too ahead into the future or thinking about past events and we bring ourselves to the present state, the brain has no option but to focus at present. Since the primary reason for all our miseries is to obsess about past and the future, they have a lesser effect on the mind as we cleanse our lens and see what is right in front of us. 

While meditation is a great tool for mindfulness, it is not the only tool. In fact, people become mindful not even realizing they are deliberately practicing mindfulness. I have listed things for me which I have come to understand as being mindful:

A. Taking Cold Showers: Leaves hardly any space in your brain to go anywhere else.
B. Playing Music Instruments: Keeping up with the metronome is incredibly powerful to be at present.
C. Performing On Stage: Great place where you can embarrass yourself if you don't focus on the act
D. Listening The Same Sound Over and Over Again: Think about those buddhist hums that go on for eternity like a broken record.
E. Watching a Great Movie: I watched Trip to Busan (부산행) recently, and I promise you, I thought of nothing else. Pays to notice how focused you can be while watching engaging content.
F. Cooking for Someone: Because you know you have to get this right.

And the list goes on. 

All I have to say is this; if you ever feel down or depressed or anxious, take a moment to sit down and just take in what you feel. Let it flow and slowly bring yourself to the present. You will realize life's not that bad after all. 


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