A common cause of human suffering is the incessant thinking mind. Many of our thoughts, when observed, are not necessary for our daily living. They mostly serve as distractions and hinder our potential to be in the moment and to be happy.
As we perform an activity, we can be in that exact moment without thinking about the other "stories" currently weaving their way through our existence. These stories involve worrying, planning, and obsessing over the challenges we may encounter when faced with difficult trials or the people around us.
The reason many of us LOVE and cherish our yoga practice is that it helps us create space to take a block of time to think about nothing but the movement of our bodies and our breath. It is valuable, necessary, and a welcome reprieve for our "monkey minds". What does that mean exactly?
Taming the monkey mind
Many of you know this Buddhist term. Our “monkey mind” is our brain unsettled, restless, and confused. This is the part of us that is most connected to our ego, the constant critic telling us we can’t do anything right. The ego suppresses our creativity and keeps us from pursuing and giving in to our passions. The monkey mind is loud and proud, demanding to be heard at all costs, and it takes everything in us to calm it down and keep it quiet. Being completely present, staying in the moment, focusing on whatever task at hand, alleviates the monkey mind. How do we do this? How do we become completely present? While not easy, engaging in a Presence Practice helps us silence that ego, that monkey mind.
The art of practicing presence
Presence Practice is a key part of my yoga and meditation classes. These few minutes of guided mindfulness pull you from being lost in yesterday, take you out of getting caught up in tomorrow, and bring you into the here and now to embrace your true authentic self and find that inner peace hiding behind the past and future. As you discover your own Presence Practice, the following is an additional exercise you can incorporate into your daily routine.
Choose one brief activity you do every single day. This activity might be as simple as making morning coffee or tea, putting on shoes, or walking up the stairs.
Next, practice complete presence during this brief and easy activity with no thought about anything other than the actual task being performed.
Focus your mind on the activity, feel your breath, and be in the moment, completely aware. Try to do this at least once a day and increase it up to three times a day. You will notice that it becomes easier for you to stay conscious and aware throughout your day and ultimately throughout your lifetime.
“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”
This practice alone will help you stay in the present moment and exercise not thinking. Try not to pick an activity that takes longer than a minute. Thought is useful to get things done in our lives, but it can be addictive and toxic when we become consumed by the thinking mind without rest.
Discover more about Mahnaz Jahangiri and her yoga and meditation practice by visiting her at https://www.samadiyoga.com/.