I've always thought that we live in a "Have-Do-Be" world, a culture in which many people are stuck in thinking that the more they have the happier they will be.
But there is a catch; to have more, we "have-do" do more, to get what we want, to hopefully 'be" in that happiness.
The having and the doing often take a long time. Some get stuck in the “do-do” and do not enjoy the journey along the way, continually stuck in the unhappiness of not-having.
Happiness seems only to be enjoyed
when the goal of all the doing is achieved.
Even worse is the trap of equating the sense of self worth with what
they have (net worth equals self-worth) Those in this prison cannot even rest and enjoy their accomplishments because they are not doing something to have more.
They cannot be grateful for having what they have. They need more, or something better or different than others. And since the having is not enough, the doing to have more, is endless.
They rarely gain the precious experience of just being without having to do or have some result. Some people even relegate their being until later…often tragically to the end of their lives or when they are too ill or infirm.
By then they are "being" too late.
Yes some of our satisfaction in life does come from achieving but a good portion can come from not doing anything.
For example: many of us have had profound experiences of the contentment that naturally arises from just being with the present moment the way it actually is eg. the experience of reveling in a sunset, connecting with a loved one or watching a child taking her first steps.
“Don’t just do something, sit there” Zen saying
So how can we be more present.
Well the first thing is we can watch our thoughts. Over time we will notice that most of our mental activity is spent ruminating about what we have done or didn't do in the past or worrying about what we won't have in the future.
It’s like there is a perverse taxi driver in our minds constantly driving us into the past or quickly into the future and never delivering us to our destination of the present moment.
“If you want to be happy, be." - Leo Tolstoy
We do not have to be a victim of that taxi driver.
The second thing we can do is to consciously choose over and over again to be in the past and then the future and then the present. Then feel the bodily sensation of the happiness of being in the present that spontaneously arises.
(For some people it can be a radical realization to suddenly realize that they do not have to do anything to be happy. Inner contentment is a function of doing nothing: just being.)
We can be in the past, future or present by choice not by chance.
Over time of practicing choosing, you will notice that happiness is gradually infusing your life; you are more heart-centered and grounded and more available in your relationships. Your presence will become more authentic and real as you dwell more in the present.
Personal presence is related to the present moment.
This is one technique of many.
There are more amazingly simple (and fun) techniques that can be acquired that can significantly get you out of your head and improve your enjoyment and happiness in life. I will be teaching these in the “Living from Presence” one day workshop.
If want to experience more inner peace and contentment, this workshop may be just the ticket.
Also if you have read about the Coming Home retreat and have wanted to participate but things like time, money and busyness have gotten in the way, here is a great chance to try out the self-inquiry process I use on this retreat. Its a one day event at a very reasonable cost to you.
Its Pay from the Heart ($25 plus a donation at the end).
Check out the Living from Presence one day workshop: