music_of_thew_spinning_earth

Music feels like magic

Music awakens us to the truth that life is so much more than the petty details or daily struggles.

Music is universal. It reaches us at the depth of our intuitive existence. It speaks to the senses directly. It touches us profoundly and perhaps more deeply than we would like it to admit.

Music is a great mystery that begins with vibrating air. Because … music is vibration, after all, isn’t it?

Who created music?

I don’t know. Perhaps it has always been there. Omnipresent. Since the beginning of the Word.

We will hear the music

When you walk in a forest, you will hear the sounds of nature. Rustling leaves, crusting pine cones, walking bugs, flying insects, jumping grasshoppers or singing birds. Knowledgeably or not, they make an orchestral performance for you.

When you walk down a street, you will hear all the man-created sounds.Passing-by cars, opening and closing of the doors, heavy footsteps, voices of joy, heated conversations, laughing kids or barking dogs. There may also be the sounds of trams, trains, bikes, rain, snow or splashing paddles. This is a different performance.

When you close your eyes and focus inwardly, you will hear the sounds of your diligently working body: arteries, veins and organs. Hum internally the sound of “a” or “o” for a while. Do you feel how your inner parts seem to join the same vibration?
 
We feel and experience nature, people, machines, and structures. The music exists in them and through them. We hear music of all kinds. Then we enter the realm of harmonies between the plantes, comets and celestial bodies.

Perhaps one day we will hear the sound of the spinning Earth.
Perhaps one day we will hear the music of the Spheres.
Perhaps one day we will hear the sound of our own Beings.

music_of_spinning_earthI can’t wait to hear all these. What about you?

***

Music is neither a by-product nor a result of culture. While we think that music is being created, it is in fact creating itself through various media, be it people of talented voices, nature or instruments.

Music is a living thing, an everlasting orchestral vibration from which we filter out a combination of frequencies. Be them pleasing, uplifting or disturbing – they serve a purpose.

When you really listen

When you really listen to the music, you spend the time alone with yourself. And then, music can touch you deeply. It can bring hidden memories or open the doors you have even forget they existed.

When you really listen there is a chance you realize that you are stuck in a matrix. It may be a castle crafted from your own convictions or false beliefs. You may begin to feel that your castle is tiny dot on the whole map. There is so much more outside your assumptions. You may begin to notice how much you are beset by imposed norms.  Are these your own?

Perhaps you have not been courageous enough to become yourself. To learn to appreciate who you are instead of being impressed by the greatness or authority of others. Music is there to point you this out.

Music!

Music is an elemental force. Primary force. Yes, a wild one at times.

It can make you uneasy, uncomfortable and even confused. It can easily discover when any dissonance is present in you. Music will open something up in your head and in your heart. It will inspire you to seek, explore and change.

If you listen to music long enough you will recognize how you have become fragmented and compartmentalized. Everything is interconnected. When you choose shortcuts or decieve yourself in one area of your life, all of them are affected. No exception. The false notes sound loudly everywhere. Just listen to.

Does it happen with all music? I don’t know.
For sure it happens when the music is great.

To know it, listen to this piece by fantastic guys, Możdżer, Danielsson and Fresco:

When is the music great?

When it is pure and deep, coming from the abysmal yet perfect creation of the given moment. It is authentic and you just know it. It reaches you directly at your heart. It sends thrills down your spine.

In such a moment you feel secure and harmonious. Yet this state does not come from your flesh and bones but it results from your trust to delve into yourself. Yourself, carefully crafted from high energies and impressions which resonate with the sound.  

There are no shortcuts in life.
Music will make you aware of this.
Pay attention.

There is only one way to live – in truth with yourself.

***

Top photo copyright by Moyan Brenn. Photo available under the Creative Commons license on Flickr. Middle photo by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Creative Commons on Flickr.

 ***

 

Are you effective in what you do?
Do your actions have positive effects?
Are you successful in making progress?

 

If so, please continue.
If not, please change what needs to be changed: your approach, your method, your perspective or your framework. It is only as good as the desired effect you want to achieve.

However…

Are you concerned because you are slow at making progress?

Be not.
Appreciate your own pace.
As long as you are making progress, things are okey. Remember that a real progress occurs in jumps. It usually stays flat or is only slowly rising for a long time as if nothing happens. And, then, suddenly, you are at a different level 😉

Don’t compare yourself to where you think you should be or where others are. We are often over-ambitious with our goals.

Look at what you’ve achieved so far and what results you have. If it’s not working at all, then you may consider to change your approach. Otherwise, stay on course. Because if it’s working, even slowly, it is working. That means you are doing the right things. (Yes, you can always learn to do them better but this is another thing.)

However …

If things are not working at all, admit they are not.
The time has come to be courageous and approach change as a growth and transformation process.

Acknowledge the end.
Welcome a new beginning.
Do the right things.

 ***

Note that there is a difference between efficiency and effectiveness.  Efficiency is to do things right, i.e. use the time well for doing the tasks. Effectiveness is to do the right things, i.e. things that matter and things that produce results.

***

A good book on change and personal mastery is Mastery by George Leonard. Highly recommended.

***

The image above shows a beautiful quilt by Inge Duin. See more of her works on  www.ingeduin.nl.

 

learning_from_mistakes 

Let me first clarify what I mean by a “bad idea” here. “Bad idea” means ineffective, at best and stopping progress, at worst.

“Learning from mistakes” is an expression strongly rooted not only in our language, but also our thinking. It is accepted as a sound piece of advice for some or a trivial colloquialism for others. The idea is that we make mistakes and we have to learn from them in order to improve. We consider it as a truth.

Now is the time to challenge it. Or at least, challenge what we understand by this expression.

***

You and I make mistakes in our lives. They are inevitable. We made them in the past, we are making them now and we will make them in the future. No doubt about it.

Mistakes are simply misguided actions or poor estimates in the given context or situation. They may involve experiencing borderline cases, crossing the edge or making wrong judgements.

Mistakes have an important role in the learning process and I don’t want to dispute that. They are a part of the feedback on the progress we make. They are however not the foundation of our success.

When is learning from mistakes ineffective?

If you constantly focus on your mistakes and how to improve them, you focus on what does not work. In other words, you concentrate on the problems and not the solutions. This is a trap that one falls into – the trap of losses, misses and the don’ts. What you focus on, takes your energy and expands. If you concentrate your efforts on what doesn’t work, you provide fuel to recreate the very conditions of such situations.  Whether you like it or not.

Imagine this. You want to go shopping. You make a list of all products you don’t want to buy. Does it help you to know exactly what you need? Does it help you to make a smooth buy? Nope. There are plenty possibilities of what you may consider buying even if you precisely know what you don’t want.

Imagine this. You are a teacher at a college or university and you teach a group of students. At the end of the semester you prepare a questionnaire to find out how they benefited from the course. What would you ask?

Would you focus on finding out what they didn’t like?
or
Would you focus on finding out what worked for them?

In all cases of teaching there are usually a few unhappy no matter what. Would you adapt your course, examples and exercises to satisfy the disappointed few or would you rather expand with doing more of what worked for the 90-95% of others? Paraphrasing, would you focus on multiplying your strengths or on improving your perceived weaknesses?

(By the way, a great question to ask in such circumstances is this: “What did you like the most and how can I improve it to make it even better?”)

Imagine this. You are starting a business. One of the advice you will get is to fail often and as fast as possible. This is the idea of learning from mistakes in the context of business. If you follow such a process, however, you will become an expert in the land of unsuccessful approaches. But… Will you know what makes it all work?

The implicit assumption behind “learning from mistakes” is that if you know what doesn’t work, the opposite will pave you the road to success. The reality is not that straightforward, however. Oftentimes, it is a unique combination of strategies, approaches and particular details that fuel progress and create a formulation for success. Such a mixture cannot simply be discovered by negating the things that don’t work.

Do you see where I am leading to?

Knowing what does not work, helps you very little to find out what does, despite what you may want to believe.

Understanding own mistakes does not necessarily lead to progress. They may, in some circumstances, but they usually do not.

Persistence

Take a 9-12 month old infant who learns to walk. Have you ever seen one? Although infants find unique ways to master this skill, they all share one thing. They are persistent and continue doing what they are strong at (or what works for them), no matter what.

Some of them, like my oldest, practiced crawling in a free-style movements and supported standing (i.e. standing up by a table, chair etc), until one day he simply felt ready to walk. His first steps were not just a few, but a 20m straight walk, instead. I was shocked as he simply walked a distance.

My other child was forcing me to hold his hands in order to exercise walking with him until he was ready to do it by himself. Over and over again. Although his first steps were a few only, soon they became many. He demanded help and he received it.

Both children spent somewhere between 5 to 8 weeks on daily practices. Until they succeeded.

The point I want to make is this. Oftentimes, persistence (or perseverance) coupled with a simple strategy is much more effective than multiple approaches, all abandoned too early at the level at which we could perhaps judged them as mistakes or failures.

Foundation

The key point about learning is the same as about concept learning. You need a solid foundation first.

How do you build your foundation? By collecting your positive examples which are used to build your first concept. Studying the examples and experiencing the successes behind them will help to refine the concept further on.

With respect to life it means that you focus on your talents, gifts, model cases, nearly-ideal examples, successes and everything that works for you or others involved.

Mistakes is everything where you sucked at, what others judged as wrong, inappropriate or unsuitable. They serve as an important feedback for the re-formulation of your concept. This is a crucial difference with respect to the usual understanding of the “learning from mistakes” mantra.

Mistakes are necessary for the testing of the boundaries. They allow us to re-define clear (or crisp) edges of the concept we are learning. But in order to make use of the mistakes successfully, we need to have the concept formulated first. And such a concept can only be built by using the positive examples – essential for our learning. This brings us to the final thought here.

Mistakes are not for the learning of a concept/skill but for re-learning of an already formulated concept/skill, especially with respect to the boundary cases.

Finally

Any time you want to learn a new skill or start a new enterprise, learn from successes of yours or others and focus on what works. Build your concept first before you begin testing the boundaries. Only then mistakes can be used effectively.

What does it mean?

If you begin your relationship, make it successful.
When you start your business, make it work.
When you lead a project, bring it to conclusion.

Commit to make your efforts success first before you allow yourself to fail.

***

Photo courtesy Fe 108Aums, available under the Creative Commons license on Flickr.

***

 

change_is_difficult

Most people are afraid of conscious change. They would rather stay in their comfort zone than take steps into the unknown. As a result, life controls them.

Things happen to them and they respond to the circumstances. They become reactive instead of proactive and they become victims of the circumstances instead of their co-creators.

Yet the world keeps changing all the time. Both the employment of ideas and development of technology have been very fast nowadays. And we, as individuals, change every day.

We are bombarded with new information, new knowledge, new structures, new technology as well as the new challenges they pose. We collect new experiences, we learn new things and we change our minds. We evolve and change in response to the changing world.

Conscious change is often difficult. It may also be easy, if we encourage the right circumstances and apply the right strategy. An effective change can be implemented by simple and manageable steps. Change does not need to be a painful process, either. On the contrary, it can be pleasurable when we are enjoying the process.

Most people fear change and consider the fear of unknown as the major obstacle. I don’t think it makes change that difficult though.

Why is change difficult?

In my opinion there are two reasons:

  1. we don’t want it badly enough (motivation) or
  2. we don’t know how to make it happen  (techniques).

We don’t want to change

How many times did I want to become an early riser? Countless, I have to say. Have I been successful? No.

There were many times I committed to getting up at 4:30am or 5am and although I succeeded in a short term, I’ve never made it a habit. Why? I can give you various more or less valid explanations, but the truth is simple. I didn’t really want to.

I thought I wanted it because there was a logical explanation, a social pressure and a strong evidence of an organized and successful life from the early risers I knew. I understood all the benefits of becoming an early riser, too. But such a change required a major shift to happen – going to bed early to get enough sleep.

I simply loved the quiet atmosphere of the night and the focus I could get in the evening hours. The morning hours were unattractive to me because they kept introducing the pressure of the tasks to be handled in the day. I failed because I couldn’t sustain both processes: working late at night and starting fresh and energized early morning. I simply did not want to become an early riser if I had to give up my quiet evening hours (this is my secondary gain). So, I ultimately chose not to become one.

How many times did you want to loose weight, stop smoking, get fit, become debt-free or earn extra money aside? Even if you initially succeeded, have you been back to the old patterns?

It is quite common to be excited for a change, seemingly commit to it to get the short term result, only to find yourself back where you started some time ago. At the moment we take conscious action we are likely to stick to the process for a while. The moment we stop paying attention we are back on the old tracks.

Going against homeostasis and a staying both feet in the stretch zone requires much more than the initial intention and enthusiasm. It requires a conscious shift to happen.

Coaching

I love coaching because we get to know ourselves and we grow enormously through asking the right questions, committing to right action and evolving through experimentation. Through self-coaching and coaching others it has become crystal clear that most people don’t really want to change. They want a magic button instead so that the change will miraculously manifest at the door. But there is no one like that, I’m afraid.

We say we want to change and we may even think or believe so with our hearts. In reality, however, this is often untrue. When you dig deep enough, you will often want the result but not the cost to be paid, learning to go through nor the shifts required for this change to happen. We want the result, the magic pill, but not the process. As if being fit or wealthy, having an interesting job or great family was a one-time event that could have been extrapolated to a lifetime.

Change is about learning new skills or forming new habits that have to be managed and maintained.

There are three main reasons why we don’t welcome change:

  1. We lack understanding.
  2. We are not ready.
  3. We want the result but not the process.

We lack understanding

Forced change or lack of communication. This usually happens when a change is forced upon us, in a company, between peers or friends, or by some forms of social pressure.

For instance, the company has to go through a process of structural changes that will affect employers on all levels. Perhaps some positions will be threatened, new tasks introduced and new teams created. Everything is uncertain.

The lack of honest and effective communication from the CEO to the leaders, from the leaders to the managers and later co-workers will provide a fertile ground for false ideas, assumptions and speculations. This leads to the lack of trust, and ultimately creates resistance.

In addition, we also lack understanding when we have an inaccurate perception of who we are, what we want and what is our reality. This actually challenges us to dig deep to know ourselves.

Secondary gain. When we have a negative habit or a habit we would like to change, there is usually something beneath the habit that serves us well. It is called the secondary gain. We may perfectly understand the reasons and circumstances for a change to occur. We may clearly see the benefits, yet resist change from our heart.

Why?

Because deep beneath there is an additional gain for this habit to function. It may even be completely illogical.

For instance, a child may start wetting in bed simply because his secondary gain is to attract attention from the busy parents who (by default) dedicate majority of their attention to the younger siblings. Stopping this habit will withdraw the attention back to the sibling, something a child doesn’t want. And in some cases, any dedicated attention is better than no attention.

You may choose to smoke because you seek acceptance from the peers and you get it by joining the smoking circles at school or work. There are usually some interesting conversations going on. Quitting smoking would mean staying outside these circles and becoming “less cool”. You don’t want that, hence you will sabotage your approach to stopping smoking.

You may choose to over-eat because you don’t feel lonely during eating. With cooking, cleaning and eating there is always an activity to be done, so your mind (or stomach) is occupied.

We are not ready yet

Any change to happen needs to be accepted on the emotional level. In order to change we need to leave the comfort zone and taking steps into the unknown. And this bring forward our basic fear – the fear of the unknown. We are born to maintain the homeostasis, the status quo, and resist those things that we cannot easily predict the outcome. Change is uncertain and will lead us through new avenues and new learning. It invites tension and requires extra attention and focus for the new learning to occur.  It also requires new energy levels for maintaining the process.

For a change to happen we need to accept it. Not only by logical reasons, but also through the act of facing our fears that will surface on the way. We also need to give ourselves permission to make errors, choose suboptimal strategies and solve problems inefficiently. This means we grant ourselves permission to learn even if these are baby steps. Such an emotional preparation will allow us to embrace the change together with the underlying process.

We want the result but not the process

We want a quick fix without hard work. We want to become fit, healthy or wealthy overnight or in to weeks, (let it be a month but no more, ok?) without taking the necessary actions or establishing long term habits. This is again related to our inborn difficulty to think and predict trends long term. We are good at short term perspectives choosing an immediate gain (oversleeping, eating cakes, drinking coffee, buying stuff, etc) over the delayed gratification. And for these reasons, we will succumb to marketers who offer us shortcuts: one click to become a millionaire, a pill to a perfect body or a car for a perfect self-esteem.

Yet, change is a process. And we need to understand this fact.

We don’t know how to change

Change is difficult because we focus on the negative aspects of the change. We follow a wrong strategy. We want to stop habits or patterns and focus on what we don’t want. Effectively, we want to uncreate the very thing we have, but instead we usually add more features.

As we know from experience, when we have a poor product or a computer program then adding more features or creating fixes will usually not lead to a better product as a result.We will only get a complex solution, overcomplicated for the tasks to be done, counterintuitive, having too many preferences and unclear choices to be made. And perhaps even conflicts between the existing features.

It is much easier to create a new product from the scratch with the essential features only. It is then well-thought and optimized for the task, hence simple, fast and working like a charm.

The same applies to a change. If you focus on uncreating your unwanted habits by introducing fixes, you are likely opening yourself to pain and frustration.You need to replace one habit with another. But this is often difficult too. The right approach is to focus on creating a new product – the New You.

It is much easier to imagine the person you want to become and set up the conscious habits from the scratch that correspond to the You 2.0 :). This requires a cultivation of an ideal self-image, setting up right values and right beliefs, and starting small with right actions in order to built habits that serve us.

Finally

The truth is this:

If we don’t manage change, change will mismanage us.

If we don’t take the responsibility for change to happen we will become shaped by the external circumstances. Not to our liking :(.

Obviously, we can’t manage every change possible, but the essential ones. It is our task to choose the changes that matter and make a difference.

Make a choice to change. Understand the why’s and the circumstances. Get ready. Implement!

***

Photo credit Fe Langdon, available under Creative Commons on Flickr.

***

O.K., I admit the title is meant to be catchy, but nevertheless I want to share a useful insight. Although this post is somewhat lengthy, I encourage you to read on. This post touches the core issue of happiness.

Who are the unhappy people that you have ever met in life?

Pause for a moment. Think briefly about them. Who are they?

Got the answer?

If you have thought about a number of people, you may have noticed how different they are.

Perhaps some are mothers at home. Perhaps some are managers or CEOs in large corporations.
Perhaps some are jobless. Perhaps some are students.
Perhaps some are rich. Perhaps some are poor.
Perhaps some are losers. Perhaps some are winners.
So many times we have seen stars to rise and fall, those who had everything in terms of money or worldly success, yet ended up lonely and miserably.

Do they hope that they are going to be happy one day in the future? Or, do you regret or their lives in the past?

We seek happiness

We seek happiness in things, collections, or material possessions. But it only accumulates stuff.
We seek happiness in sport, business or academic achievements. But it only asks for more.
We seek happiness in a fast-paced professional carrier. But it only leads off the middle way (and the lack of balance).
We seek happiness in indulgence in food, drinks, sex, and so on. But it leaves us empty even more.
We seek happiness in kids, wives, husbands, partners, or a family. But it limits our personal development.
We seek happiness in the acceptance or recognition of others. But it supports our low self-esteem and makes us unable to think for ourselves.

The truth is this.

Happiness cannot be found in possessions, achievements, other people, relations or businesses. We are misguided by thinking that happiness is outside us. And if this or that happens, then we will become truly happy. Not true at all.

Nothing outside us will make us permanently happy. Ever.

Happiness is a state of being.

(For myself I thought that becoming a mother would bring me the highest fulfillment and the greatest satisfaction in my life. But this is not the case.

Don’t take me wrong here. I’m a happy mother. I love my kids deeply and passionately. Yet, becoming a mother has only opened more desires which were always there, but in a salient state. I want to be a great mother, and at the same time, I want to become much more.  )

Happiness is like breathing

Happiness is like breathing. It is joy that exists now, in this moment. It is a way of being. Being is expressed by breath, similarly as happiness is expressed by being.

Happiness is within your reach at this very moment. It is not about a mystical experience, neither meditation. It is not about the accumulation of rewards, achievements, friends or possessions. As everything in your conscious life, you become happy by choice. What you need to say and commit to is this:

“I choose to be happy NOW.”

The emphasize is on the Now.

That’s it. You don’t need to change. You don’t need to improve. You don’t need to become healthier, brighter or more skilful in order to be happy now. You don’t need to reach more peaks neither more goals. You don’t need to buy more stuff. You don’t need to have more friends. You don’t need to be older, wiser, or smarter.

You need to be yourself in the Now. Happiness is a side effect of this.

How to be unhappy?

O.K., the above reasoning likely sounds familiar to you. But … we have not touched the real issue yet. Here we go.

Let’s go back to the unhappy people in life. In my experience, all unhappy people I met were in one of the two categories:

  1. either strong worriers (worrying about their circumstances, family, job, money, payments, health, and future events)
  2. or, strong past dwellers (i.e. holding tight on the past hurts, disappointments, traumas or events).

My conclusion is this. What prevents you from being happy is that you don’t live in the current moment. Instead, you live either in the past or in the future.

Think about it.

The only time we can experience is Now. The moment in which you are reading and understanding these words. We only have this present moment. Nothing else.

Past is in your memory, while future is your imagination.

The metaphor of driving

Holding onto the past is as if driving forward by looking in the rear mirror only! You can’t anticipate what is coming before you. You cannot prepare for the bends, road bumps, traffic lights, sudden stops that are on your road. You cannot enjoy the wide perspective of the  scenic views ahead. You cannot respond timely when the action is necessary. Because it will take the time to refocus on your front vision and you will act too late.

Worrying about the future is taking your conscious attention (your laser beam Conscious Self) to the scenarios that you may experience one day, or likely never. This is like driving with your focus on what is a few-hundred meters away from you. Since you can hardly see what is there, except for a rough overview, you cannot really predict the actual traffic situation as you have too little time-related data, you cannot fully prepare for it. And in the meantime, while focusing on your projected future traffic ahead, you can be bumped by a car which is suddenly on your right but escaped your vision.

Do you follow me?

The only way to drive well is by being present in the moment. You focus on what you see in the front. At the same time, by using the far-reached as well as peripheral vision, you can fully anticipate what is coming ahead, from the left and right. And by using the rear windows you can see how the past is being changed and whether you need to take it into account now.

Take it as a metaphor for life. When you focus on the Now you also include sufficient views of the past and the future. It works.

The ultimate secret to happiness

We can now formulate the ultimate secret.

The secret to happiness is to live fully in the present moment.

Or in other words,

What hinders your happiness is the denial of (your participation in) the present moment.

Now is the only accessible point of power you have. This is your Operational Point, i.e. the point from which you can act. What you are feeling, being, doing, living in this very moment determines your happiness (or flow).

You may think about past or future as separate events. But this thinking or feeling, intuition or analysis happens now. As a result, you are evoking in your mind either the past or the future in this very moment. And in this way you take focus (say the light from your laser beam Conscious-Self) from what life is for you now to some aspects of life beyond your immediate control or influence.

Where does it lead to? Simply to a conflict between your direct experience of the Now that happens anyway and your conscious awareness that is thrown out of the present moment. So, your inner conflict between your here and now, where you don’t want to be, and your remembered past or imagined future, where you want to be makes you unhappy.

Nothing ever happened in the past. It happened in the Now. The past was once the Now.

Nothing will ever happen in the future. It will happen in the Now. The future will at some point be the Now.

Some ideologies, doctrines or systems work on the premise that there is a better, happier future for us. We only need to conform to a specific set of rules, follow this or that leader, live by a set of certain principles or follow this or that life-style. And then, some day, we will be happy. This is an illusion.

And I am reminded about this when I see the name of God in the bible “I am that I am” or when I read that “The Kingdom of God is within you” (or “among you” depending on the translation). God’s consciousness is about being in the present moment. As simple as that. Eternity is in the Now.

Waiting

Are you trying to get somewhere else than where you are now?
How many times did you look at your kids and wished they were at school instead of nursery?
How much as a child did you wish the end of a school year (=holiday) that had just started?
How much do you wish this meeting / project /work / task to be finished now?

Are you waiting for your life to happen? Are you waiting for holiday, the end of the season or the beginning of a new one, your kids to grow up, a new house to be bought, or a better job? Are you waiting to be discovered, to be smarter or more enlighted?

Waiting is a state of mind in which you focus on the projected future and deny the present moment. In doing so, you only anticipate the future and cut yourself from the chance of learning and enjoying the now. Waiting and anticipation for the better future to come is loosing your power of actually creating the very future you want in the now.

What is so magical about the present moment?

You simply cannot be unhappy in the present moment. If this sounds contradictory to you, just think about it. There is a moment of now, a split of a second, a tick on a clock, and in this moment, you either accept what is or you take an action. There is no other choice.

Your full concentration is on the now. And you actively participate in this now. This is the perception of the flow, hence the expression of happiness.

So, if you are present in the now, fully agreeing with what is or being in an action, then there is no focus left for you to worry about something tomorrow, 12 steps ahead or considering a guilt from yesterday, your childhood abuses or disappointments.

If you have ever experienced flow (being in the now), you know that it is impossible to have a problem in the Now. Problems are caused by perceptions from your Conscious Self dwelling outside your Operational Point. If you perceive a problem, it means you are living with a situation without holding an intention or possibility of taking the action now.

This all sounds good, … but where is learning from my past?

There is certainly place in the Now to learn from your past. You may temporarily choose to hold on the past to properly grieve about the loss in your life, be it a beloved family member, a friend, a dog, a job or something else. And I personally think that this is important.

The goal of such a grieving or going through the past events, however, is to live through the related experiences and choose to condense the great ones into the seeds of gratefulness. The goal is to hold memories about the joy, growth and happiness that these experiences have brought you. It is about practicing the memory of the heart.

What helps in this process is to look at a large scope, time-wise (months or years) or space-wise (hometown, country or a continent). The final purpose is to transform these experiences into the gratitude that you choose to cherish in the Now, or into the feeling of being blessed that you experience in the moment.

This all sounds good, … but where is planning?

Planning, goal setting or setting up habits have a unique purpose. If you think that planning or goal setting is only about future, you are wrong. The purpose of goals and plans is to set up a direction of your journey (yes, this is the future aspect) so that you become crystal clear on the action in the Now. Plans and goals give you a reference frame for your focus in the Now, so that the Now can be lived more satisfactorily and joyfully.

In short, planning helps you to live the Now more efficiently.

The present moment

Remember there are no problems in the current moment. When there is a situation with which you need to deal now, your present moment awareness will support you with a clear mind so that your decisions become efficient and your actions become decisive.

Do you remember the driving metaphor?

If you are consciously aware of the moment, taking responses in relation to what is happening on the road right now, you will drive well and safely. Most car accidents happen because the driver’s awareness was withdrawn from the present moment, either by going deeply into thinking, falling asleep or being distracted by external actions, e.g. turning head away to talk to a passenger.

(Note: Driving on a highway may also induce a trans state in which your consciousness goes into a deep thinking or a type of a meditative state. This usually happens on when the traffic is small or the road easy. )

This all sounds good, … but how to live in the present moment?

Being present in the Now may be difficult at first if you have been worrying or holding onto your past for a long time. The easiest way to bring your awareness to the present moment is to focus on breathing. As simple as it sounds. In-breath and out-breath. In-breath and out-breath.In-breath and out-breath. And so on.

Exercise: Red ribbon breathing

Practically, I recommend to do the following. Deep, slow, abdominal in-breath followed by a slow out-breath. To know that your breath is abdominal, put your hand just below the navel. Your hand should go up with an in-breath and down with an out-breath. Ideally, your out-breath is 3x longer than the in-breath. So, you can count, “one” (in-breath), “two, three and four” (out-breath).

In addition, imagine that you breath out any unease, pain or discomfort that you may feel inside or hold in your body now. Imagine this discomfort as a long, thin, red ribbon. While breathing out, make your mouth slightly open, making a small “o”-mouth, for the ribbon to get out,  of course ;).

This is an excellent exercise to focus on the moment (or prepare and fall asleep in the night) if you follow this for 5-10 min. Then, whatever issues you have to tackle, you simply look at them and decide which actions are to be taken in the Now.

Of course, it is difficult to be present 100% in all moments in life. But our goal is to be present as much as we can.

Summary

Let me repeat the most important finding.  The secret to happiness is to live fully in the present moment.

The only Operational Point of your life is in the present moment.The power is in the thoughts, feelings, attitudes and actions in the Now.
 
It is not your past that prevents you from being happy. It is your tight hold on the past, the focus of your attention on dwelling, replaying former disappointments, griefs, hurts and so on. Whenever you worry and replay your past in the present moment, you are only repeating the mental patterns for it to become your reality in the Now. Whenever you worry and project imagined fears into the future in the present moment, you are only creating the mental patterns for it to become your reality in the Now.

The only way to break this pattern is to bring your consciousness, your Conscious Self, to the present moment. Then you either accept what the moment brings or take an action.

I encourage you to focus on the Now. Have trust. Be present. Accept or Act.
The flow of happiness is yours.

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This post is inspired by The power of Now book, by Eckhart Tolle.

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