“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.” ― Eckhart Tolle
“Your true home is in the here and the now.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh
“Clearly, all fear has an element of resistance and a leaning away from the moment. Its dynamic is not unlike that of strong desire except that fear leans backward into the last safe moment while desire leans forward toward the next possibility of satisfaction. Each lacks presence. (29)” ― Stephen Levine
What does it mean to be totally present?
For me, it means to be deeply alive; to forget everything; and to operate from a place of no mind.
It doesn’t mean I’m lost, but the moment and us and the activity or non-activity becomes one.
Some call it flow, others mindfulness, others being in touch with God. In the end the label doesn’t matter. What does is the ability to let go, and to listen with your mind, body and spirit.
But, how many times do you find yourself in this state? I’d wager not enough. Why? You’ve too much on your mind.
Precisely. Your thinking mind has run amok. Worse still you can’t turn it off nor bend it to your paltry will.
But you don’t need to. Instead, all you need do is have a different relationship with the thought-feeling paradigm. In short, you need to stand as witness; or, better still, presence — the ‘I’ in ‘I Am’.
I know, all this no-mind stuff can be really screwy. For a start when you’re born into a world where you’re conditioned to believe that you and your thoughts are ipso facto the same, i.e. an outside-in view of the world, it’s hard to let go. But when you see that that’s not the case — it’s the difference between true and false self (see the work of Thomas Merton) — everything changes.
Be careful though. Don’t assume you can engineer true self. That’s not how it works — if it can be described as such. You (and everything and no-thing) are true self, and therefore you don’t need to go looking. The trick (if there is one) is not to be identified with your thoughts and the duality that this world throws up.
As to a practical application, if you can find a place of no mind, a state of flow or learn to witness your thoughts without engaging with them (and you need very little willpower to manifest this) then not only will you bring greater clarity into your life but you’ll also start to come alive to something far greater than you’ve ever experienced before.