The Gift of Christmas Presence
Christmas has become synonymous with the giving of gifts. We spend much of our time in frenzied activity purchasing presents for our nearest and dearest. Perhaps even those we have no wish to buy for, but feel obliged to.
In most cases there is a real spike in not only physical but mental activity. We spend more of our time thinking about what to buy for others. Or, in the planning and preparation of the Christmas Day event. Who is coming to our house? Whose house will I be at? What parties will I attend amongst my already full diary of work and obligations. Where do I want to go on holiday for Christmas to escape all this stress!
Alternatively, or in addition, we burn more mental energy in lamentful reflection of the year gone by and the things we didn’t achieve that we said we would. Or the things or people we lost in our life that we didn't expect. And we begin to feel sad.
All of this additional mental activity and projection into the future and past takes us away from the true gift of Christmas. That of Being Present. To Be. To Be in a state of Presence is the greatest gift we can give to ourself and everyone in our life.
When we are not present to this moment then we are at the mercy of the mind. The mind will only ever flick us between the future and the past. It struggles to settle into the present moment.
‘The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master’ ~ Robin Sharma
When the mind becomes our master, then we become over stimulated. We spend excess energy and our energy is rapidly depleted. That is why, at this time of year, there is a noticeable increase in relationship breakdowns and bust-ups, anger, mental stress, exhaustion and depression. We are constantly making energy withdrawals and we soon feel overwhelmed and exhausted.
We have been conditioned over many centuries to identify the ‘Self’ with our thoughts. ‘I am ….tired, hungry, upset etc’. The more thoughts we engage with, the more mental noise we create, the more emotional turmoil we experience.
We become attached to some ‘idyllic future’ that we must chase to achieve or get to in order to escape this pain and anguish. But what we seek is not in the future. The future is a blank canvas constructed only of the mind in the present moment.
For a better future, we must attend to our minds, in this present moment, right here and now. In doing so, we will naturally create a more peaceful future. The less we attach to the thoughts we think, the more peace we experience.
When I was a practising lawyer, I dreamed of escaping my own life. I wanted to get out of law as fast as possible. I believed that being a lawyer was the root cause of my unhappiness, stress and anxiety. I would spend hours and hours blaming my job and those around me for making me miserable. I would let my mind tear me away from the present moment, yearning for a future that I had to get to in order to feel good. I could find no satisfaction or joy in my life. I believed that leaving my job would make me happy. Problem was, wherever I was and whatever I was doing I would still take my overactive mind with me. It was not the activity I was engaged in that was the issue, but what my mind had conditioned itself to believe about it.
‘What we are all searching for cannot be found in intellectual or external pursuits’ ~ Anjani
We have become conditioned to the vagaries of the mind. Believing that our mental thoughts are our true reality. When we can spend a few moments a day to connect to the present moment, then we allow the true Self to be revealed to us. The true Self is not the collection of thoughts you have thought and are thinking right now. It is not the thoughts you have about what makes you, you.
What we are all searching for cannot be found in intellectual our external pursuits. It can only be experienced in the present moment of stillness and silence. It is only when we can release the grip of the mind that we can access the holy grail that we all truly pursue…….. consciousness.
Consciousness is our true nature. Consciousness exists beyond, behind our mental processes. It is the unifying field that exists in all living things. In this way we are all connected and joined. Consciousness is the higher intelligence that exists in each of us. We do not have to go search for it. It is already present. But are we present to it? Not if we are caught by thought 24x7.
How to Access Consciousness
The only solution to this crisis of the mind is to practice presence. The more present we can be in each moment, the greater our consciousness or life force can flow into us and support us in every moment. This brings us huge energy deposits. It brings us inspiration, creativity, energy, health, wellbeing and peace of mind. With presence we are alive to the synchronicities and opportunities that present themselves to us constantly all day and every day. But we mostly miss these because we are busy in our minds thinking thoughts of the past or future.
A state of presence is not an exercise in doing anything. We have long forgotten that we are human beings and have trained our minds to drive us to be human doings.
The Practice of Presence
The simplest way to practice being present is to take a few spacious breaths throughout the day.
Try this right now. Put down whatever you are holding. Sit upright if you are slouched. Close your eyes. Relax your jaw, throat, belly, glutes, hands and feet. Take a deep spacious breath in, and as your breathe out release all stress and tension from your mind and body. Repeat for 3 breaths.
Repeat this: upon waking in the morning; on your way to work on public transport or in your car or as you walk; after a meeting or phone call; at lunch before you eat; in the afternoon in the dead zone time when you get sleepy; on your way home from work before you leave the office; when you get into bed.
This Christmas I invite you to give the gift of presence as your present to yourself. As you do this, you naturally enable those around you to join you in this state of BE-ingness for a truly peaceful Christmas and holiday period.
Wishing you and your family a very present Christmas and New Year.