No one can be grounded in the now 24/7, but when we are grounded in the here and now everything suddenly becomes clearer. Reflecting on this idea, I’d like to share with you some thoughts to help you become more aware of when you are in the now and tips to support you in coming back to your center when needed.
Recently I was lying outside near a lake with a dear friend of mine by my side. The sun was shining vibrantly above us and our bodies were held by the damp soft grass beneath us. We both had our noses stuck in books and would fluidly go in and out of conversation about interesting content we were reading. At one point, my friend looked over at me and smiled. She opened her mouth to speak and three small words fell out;
“This is it.”
Not quite understanding what she meant, I dug deeper and asked for further explanation. As we went back and forth in thoughts, I realized that she was speaking to the present moment. That this, us there reading, with our feet on the earth, the faint chatter of people sitting nearby, the smells, sights, sounds, tastes and feeling of what we were experiencing, this was all that mattered.
The concept of Now is nothing new to many of us, yet it can often be incredibly challenging, in our fast-paced and highly stimulating reality, to drop in and find the present moment. However, this practice is one of the key components in living a mindful life. If we cannot become connected and clear with what is going on both inside of us and in our immediate surroundings while it is happening, it becomes virtually impossible to be in the moment.
All of this is to say that, in order to be in the Now, we need to pay attention to our bodies and get our (bare) feet on the ground. Here are my top five tips to begin cultivating presence and becoming grounded:
- Remove Distractions: Turn off technology, step away from stimulants, close your eyes.
- Check-in With Your Body: Is it saying anything interesting to you when you really get quiet and start to listen?
- Notice Your Senses: Pay attention to what you smell, taste, see, hear, and feel.
- Observe Sensations: Scanning your body, what do you notice (hot/cold, open/contracted, tingly, particular areas that feel pain/strength)?
- Become Aware of Your Surroundings: Only after you’ve fully checked in with yourself, begin to observe and become aware of what is going on around you.
Bonus Tip: Engaging with Others: Take the time to be present with others, especially new friends. That means cultivating your own community. For some, that might be attending events, like our Mindfulness Amidst the Chaos Community Event, for others that might be creating small Sanghas. Regardless, connecting fully in the moment to others is one of the most grounding efforts that not only calms the mind but fills the soul.
Being is the natural, joy-filled state available to all of us, whenever we aren’t re-living or reflecting on something from the past or having fears about the future. These thoughts rip the present moment out from under us and often lead to suffering. Becoming grounded is our body’s natural ability to feel stable and connected to ourselves, in order to interact in a mindful and aware way with the world around us.
Interestingly enough, recent scientific research has even begun to explore the idea of “earthing,” a newer term for grounding, which is direct physical contact with the vast supply of electrons on the surface of the earth. As modern lifestyles separate us from regular body contact with our natural surroundings, many of us find ourselves struggling with stress, anxiety, depression or other forms of dis-ease. When we reconnect with the earth there is profound data to show intriguing physiological changes and subjective reports of well-being: better sleep, reduced pain, higher levels of focus and concentration, and reduced feelings of being overwhelmed.
Practicing these skills, everything suddenly becomes clear. That every detail and idiosyncrasy and small, seemingly insignificant exchange that happens moment-to-moment is truly what life is all about.
And that this, right now, is it.
Message From Editor: If you are looking for more connection and community, come to our free and open-to-all Mindfulness Community event June 23rd here in San Francisco. Check out our Facebook Event Page here.