The following are 5 “attitudes” when facing life that I’ve personally found to be most effective as moment-to-moment practice for centredness and aliveness… but more importantly, to get direct connection with your truth. Some I have learned from others, others came to be in subtle ways intuitively.
Don’t try to do them all at once, but rather pick the one that resonates with you, and practice it as you go about your day… moment-to-moment-to-moment.
1) Imagine You Are Having Sex With The Moment
One question spiritual teacher David Deida poses is “How would you behave differently if you were having sex with this moment?”
No need to get perverted here, but rather imagine this moment as your most intimate lover and you are making love to it. How do you breathe? How do you hold yourself? How would you interact with people and the world around you?
Try it right now:
- Imagine your lungs are “sexing” the air as you breathe.
- Imagine your body is having sex with everything it is touching – from your clothing to the chair you’re sitting on to pencil scratching the paper as you write.
- As you walk, high heels clicking on the pavement.
All sex. Imagine this moment as your most intimate lover – that’s the practice. It works because it makes you open. You slip into an alert, present, BOLD version of yourself. Your genitalia are open to the world as you are your most sexual, spontaneous and alive.
Try it in any moment.
2) Being Your Most “At Ease” Self
“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” – Chinese proverb
Imagine you are in a crowded room meeting new people for the first time. You’re shaking hands. Smiling. You’re a bit on edge. If you pay close attention, you’ll find yourself like most people “reaching” outside of yourself in these moments.
Now, rein it back in to your center sink into who you really are – into your most “at ease” self. Zero “reaching.” Just resting in your epicentre with complete ease, then move and breathe and act from that place.
The best way to to this is to start alone in a quiet space – get yourself into that complete at ease, completely YOU, zero fucks given place. Then as a practice bring that state into the hectic bustle of the modern world.
- Notice when you tense or tighten – Consciously breathe softness into your belly and return again to your epicentre.
- Notice when your throat or face are tense – Consciously relax them before proceeding.
- Notice when you are “reaching” outside of yourself – Rein it back in again to your centre and rest from there.
You see, franticness, posing and fake smiles are not who you really are; relaxation is who you really are. So practice, moment-to-moment-to-moment resting in your core self. With practice you will be able to maintain his no matter what kinds of chaos is playing out before your eyes.
3) Honestly Experience What’s Alive in You Right Now
This should be so obvious, and yet it is something that so many people fail to do: feel your feelings.
Most people try to squirm away from negative emotions. We pick up the phone when things get uncomfortable or head to the fridge when we think about our bank account balance. We laugh when things get awkward and try to “shift the mood.”
Instead what’s the big secret?
1) ACCEPT that that feeling (or sensation) is there. E.g “Yep, I notice I’m feeling a lot of worry right now around this.”
2) FEEL it completely – with no wanting it to go away or change. Just simply allow it to be there and feel it as fully as you can – with as little resistance as possible.
And when does this exercise get really fun? When thoughts or feelings come up that “aren’t supposed to” be there. For example, finding yourself turned on by your boss. You don’t need to act on it (and probably shouldn’t), but that arousal is there anyways, so why try and pretend it’s not? Enjoy it. Let it be. Enjoy the experience of feeling aroused.
Another example: your wife/girlfriend says she loves you and you feel dead inside. Or it’s your birthday party and you feel depressed. This is “wrong” because we’re taught in our culture that we’re supposed to be positive and happy all the time – right? Wrong. Be OK with the nothingness. Be alright with having emotions that are social unacceptable. Don’t try to “force” happiness or emotions to come if nothing is there – just sit with what is. What’s the problem?
In summary, just honestly feel whatever happens to be alive in you – that’s the practice. And the best part? It’s always a fresh practice because this moment is always unfolding anew.
4) Step Into the Absolute Freedom of This Moment
“Posturing” and “filtering yourself” are straightjackets that pinch us off the spontaneous flow of our natural expression. And if you pay close attention you’ll see they’re rooted in holding onto the past or future (think reputation, or worrying how others will perceive you).
Instead as a practice, step into the freshness of the moment where there is no such thing as past or present. Rather you are just a piece of life, right here right now – and from this place move and act however you damn please.
The practice then? Step into the absolute freedom of the moment in this state and maintain it. Do whatever the fuck you want here in it. Fully express yourself.
I personally like to practice this one when I’m out dancing – e.g. at a bar or club. For so many years I used to find dancing stone cold sober to be awkward. I’d catch myself posturing – trying to look cool or a certain way and acting with a filter and worried about how I would be perceived.
This practice instead allows you to drop all that nonsense and just focus on the freshness of the moment from the perspective that past and future do not exist – and move within the absolute freedom of that. The strange thing that happens is that others notice it and step into that place WITH you (women are typically better than men at this), and you all get to enjoy that freedom together.
We’re all untouchable in that place.
5) “Come What May”
This one’s my favourite.
If you’re intelligent and have paid attention, you notice that every action has a consequence. Every time you do something – big or small – you’ll come to see that every decision you make has a very real outcome and repercussion that results from it.
After a few years of this it’s very common to find yourself going through life walking on eggshells:
- Cautious with each and every decision.
- Making small, timid movements.
- Being hesitant at every turn, rather than making big concrete bold ones.
The common advice floating around these days is the “fuck it” approach, and to go out and make big, bold choices. But I don’t really think this honours that part of you that is AWARE of the fact that such “big bold decisions” can have serious repercussions – and is actually pretty stupid advice to ignore that.
The antidote to all this is the forward-facing attitude of “come what may.”
With this stance you make the best decisions you can and embrace whatever consequences may follow. Afterall, life is movement. Life is change. Life is making decisions and living with the consequences – whatever they may be.
“I’m going to make this decision – it’s the best decision I can imagine taking right now and come what may.”
This attitude helps transform you from timid to bold. It helps you take full responsibility for where you are and where you’re going. It’s also a full acceptance that we simply cannot see the unforeseen consequences awaiting us, but good or bad we welcome them anyways.
6) “This Moment is Just Too Good To Miss” (Bonus)
I read a quote by Byron Katie recently that really struck a chord with me. She said: “I am a lover of what is. It’s too good to miss.”
And so as a practice I tried this out. Randomly it would pop in my mind as went about my day, “This moment is just too good to miss,” and was surprised to see just how true it was. I would leave the heavy thoughts of that moment and look around in the room I was in, and see that absolutely it was too good to miss. (And that I was wasting it away lost in petty thoughts)
In what way was each moment “too good to miss”? Grace. The laughter of children running by. The warm summer breeze on your skin… and basking in it. I was surprised to see evidence that even moments you’d expect to be the most mundane were simply too good to miss – and made me not even WANT to go back into the distraction of being in my head.
With this perspective – this attitude – the whole room opens up. You tap into the simple deliciousness of being alive. You touch appreciation. Things around you in your immediate surroundings jump out at you to delight, inspire, soften you. I found myself abandoning seductive thoughts that begged my attention in exchange to downright SAVOUR the goodness of the moment. I see the truth that each moment truly is too good to miss thinking it away.
In “The Power of Now”, Eckhart Tolle writes:
Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.
Eckhart Tolle is right: it’s this MOMENT that is what is precious. Absolutely precious. The most precious thing there is.
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