Practicing Staying Present To The Now
by: Dr Harry Henshaw
Transformational Counseling is about assisting others to transform their life. Transformational Counseling is a process of assisting others to learn how to let go of the past and live fully in the present. To live fully in the present is to become awaken to what is truly real and to our own natural power. Much of our life is spent living in the past, and in the process, attempting to fix it, to make it something that it is or was not. It is from living in the past that we also attempt to create our future, the result always being a living of life as it was in the past. Transformation takes place when we learn to exist in and be present to the Now.
The practice of staying present to our natural power and to that which is real is becoming conscious to what is so, to the Now, to the present. What is so, the Now, has no meaning and exists outside of thought and language. As human beings we tend to give meaning to everything, including other people, ourselves and even life itself. It is in our meaning making that we leave the present and create our life from the past, a life that can be filled with a great deal of anxiety, fear and stress. What is so merely exists and it is in the experience of the Now that we begin to live a life of power and freedom, a life and way of being free from our past.
A specific technique that is very powerful for practicing staying present to the Now is meditation. It is in meditation that one creates the space to experience a very deep state of relaxation, a state that is very healing to both the mind and body. As we know, in meditation ones metabolism slows down, including heart rate and blood pressure. The consistent practice of meditation will reduce anxiety and stress. For some the practice of meditation allows them to access true Being. For others it is way of reconnecting to the Spirit within us. It is in the consistent practice of meditation that the subject and object distinction inherent in language, thought and meaning making collapses thereby resulting in our access to the present, to the Now.
The meditative process can be enhanced by the use of therapeutic relaxation music. Music has always been a very powerful modality for promoting a very deep state of relaxation and even healings. I have found that musical compositions that are harmonically slow, repetitious, with sustained voices, which are rhythmically, random in tempo assists an individual in experiencing a very deep state of relaxation. A second important component of the use of therapeutic relaxation music is the use of binaural audio tones that have been interwoven into the music. The binaural tones, through a process referred to as entrainment or frequency following, gently guides or directs the mind/body to generate more of the targeted frequency of brain wave activity for an even more profound state of relaxation.
The meditative process of practicing staying present to the Now is as follows:
1. Take a comfortable position in an upright sitting position.
2. Allow your legs and arms to be open.
3. Allow your eyes to focus upon a chosen object. The chosen object could be a candle light in a darkened room or any point that you choose.
4. As you focus on the chosen object, allow your muscles to slowly relax from the top of your head to the tips of your toes.
5. Take three slow deep breathes in through your nose as you inhale. Hold each breath to the mental count of four. Slowly exhale each breath out through your mouth. Continue to breath at a slow pace after the three breaths.
6. Continue to focus on the chosen object. When your mind wanders to some thought or thoughts slowly and gently bring it back to your focused concentration upon the chosen object. Simply let go of the thoughts that arise. The thoughts are from the past. Stay focused to what is so.
7. Continue the practice for a prescribed period of time and then go about your daily activities. Each day that you practice you may even choose to lengthen the time you spend with this technique.
The ability to stay in the present, to access the Now, can be enhanced with the consistent practice of meditation. What this will necessitate is one making the practice of meditation apart of his or her daily schedule. With the consistent practice of meditation one will also create the ability to stay even more present to what is so even when not actively engaged in the meditative process. It is through a commitment to the practice of meditation on a daily basis that one will begin to live more fully in the Now.
Harry Henshaw, Ed.D., LMHC
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