Staying Present

A friend of mine recently said something that has stuck with me, “Put your mind where your feet are.” The concept is simple – be present, be here now. It’s what many great spiritual traditions teach us, and yet it can be an incredibly difficult concept for us humans to grasp. Simple, but not easy.

Our minds go everywhere other than where our feet are. They go to tomorrow’s meetings, yesterday’s argument, next year’s fiscal goals. We think that by being in all of those different places we can control something in the future or change something from the past.

The truth is that our power is in our presence. Our power is right here, right now. Our power is having our mind where our feet are.

Now, while I wish I could offer a magic formula or 3 easy steps to always being present, what I can offer is experience and hope.
Experience has taught me that I’ve yet to meet a human who can always be in the present moment, and I don’t believe that’s a realistic goal.
What gives me hope is our capacity to be aware, to notice when our mind wanders away from our feet, to bring ourselves back to this moment by taking a deep breath or by connecting with our body.

This capacity to notice and be aware, to bring ourselves back when our mind drifts away from our feet, is how we cultivate presence. Like learning any new skill or building any new muscle, it takes practice.

Notice when your mind wanders. When does it happen? Where does it go? What helps you bring it back? Practice noticing. Cultivate the awareness. Bring your mind back to where your feet are because that’s the most powerful place you can be.

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