How To Stay in the Present Moment

Contemplating businessman

Thoughts spin out of control some days more than others.  Sometimes we fret about the future, worry about our lives or those we care about, get stuck revisiting old wounds or concerns.

You could say we have too much wind in our heads when our monkey mind takes over.  What is the monkey mind?  The part of the brain that swings from branch to branch without stopping. 

Have you ever had one of those days when you are totally stuck in your head?  Most of us do.  These are the days we stub our toe (again), hit our hip on the same kitchen counter and overall are extremely clumsy.

The trouble for most people is not being present.

The present moment is the moment of power.  The 'now' awareness is the time in which everything occurs.

Step 1

Tap yourself.   Every-time you find your mind skipping in to the future or taking a trip down memory lane when you should be having an in body experience, tap yourself.  This will be your cue to return to what you are doing.

You can use this as a meditation technique as well.  Here's how: 

Assign your right hand to be the future.  Your left hand represents the past.  Take 5-10 minutes and sit quietly.  The goal is to remain in the present moment.  Every time your mind leaves the present, tap yourself gently with the corresponding hand. 

It's an interesting exercise to see how long you can be fully here now or if you are like a drummer from a rock band.

Step 2

Focus on the breath.  Focusing on your breathing is the simplest way to stay present.  Your breath does not hold onto the last nor does it anticipate the next.  It only knows here and now.

Watch your breath from different places.  Here are some ideas:

1) Watch your breath from your back body.  How much of the breath can you feel along your back?

2) Watch your breath from the nostril point.  Do not follow the breath in and out of the body but rather as Stephen Levine in the book Gradual Awakening suggests, "Watch the breath like a guard standing at a city gate."

3) Follow your breath up and down your spine. 

4) Watch the breath from the front of the body.

Step 3

Focus on a body part.  Bring your awareness to different parts of the body and allow yourself to feel that part.  For example, bring your awareness to your hands.  Can you feel the tingling sensation of blood circulation there?

This can be applied to other parts of the body as well.

Feel the sensations your body is giving.  Some of the things you could feel are:  sensations of warmth or coolness, tingling, discomfort, etc.

There are many other techniques you could use as well.  Hopefully the above ideas will help you get started.

We must realize the past is dust; a memory of what we believed or perceived to have happened.  As the future has not yet occurred, it, too, is evasive; not here, not now.  The greatest gift you can offer yourself and others is full presence.  Why not start to be here fully today? 

Tammy Lawrence-Cymbalisty is the owner of TLC Services A Certified Yoga Teacher, HypnoBirthing Practitioner and Reiki Master. She is the Author of How to be Soul Strong: a user's guide to life on planet earth which can be found at

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"Drummer from a rock-band" - good expression!


By Anonymous

I truly enjoyed reading this article. To be fully present is a great gift we can develop.

By Mary Norton