Let’s face it, for many of us who live a city life, it is hectic. Sydney is a fast-paced city and there is what seems to be an endless array of things to be done, people to see, places to get to. The feeling that ‘there is much to do’ can leave us feeling overwhelmed, tired and tense in our bodies. We can often feel this is our ‘normal’ and part and parcel of life, but really, is this normal and do we have to feel this way, or could there be another way?
The underlying reason as to why we can feel overwhelmed or stressed is because we have lost the innate connection with our body. We become caught up in the thinking aspect of our mind as to what we need to do next, or delving back into the past rather than being present with what is going on right now in this moment. When the mind races ahead of the present moment, or is located in the past, it leaves a gap between the body and the mind and this is the tension that is felt in the body.
In order to support us in the busyness of our lives, to support us to let go of tension, anxiousness or overwhelm, the key is to bring the body and the mind to a place of union, a place where they are working together. When the mind is directed to be with our body in what we are doing in any given moment, this is called conscious presence and allows the body to settle.
So how do we practice conscious presence?
It is in fact very simple, but does require a consistent practice.
Choose a daily activity that you repeatedly do day in and day out. It may be something as simple as walking or standing up and sitting down in a chair, or opening and closing doors. Next time you do this activity, choose to be very still and present with your body. Feel your body as you do this thing rather than be thinking of something else. Bring your attention to feel your body and choose to do this activity in a quality of connection and gentleness. This is not about just thinking about what you are doing, but feeling what you are doing in the moment.
We often suggest to clients to choose one or two activities to begin with and dedicate yourself to being present whilst doing these. Training the mind is a bit like training a muscle in that repetition and consistency is the key.
In the beginning you may find that you forget and it can take a few days of practice to bring conscious presence into those activities. Once you have these mastered, then add in another activity and then another. These moments throughout your day of being present in what you are doing are your stop moments. A moment for the mind and the body to come together. Over time, your stop moments build throughout the day until you have a continuum of stop moments that become your present way of living.
When the mind and body are working together, the feeling of stress becomes less and less and you may just find that you have more enjoyment in life.
To help you develop a connection with your body, you may like to try our simple 13 minute Body Awareness Meditation.
Donna Nolan and Alexandra Plane offer Esoteric therapies, Massage therapies, Yoga/Yoga Therapy and Meditation at their clinics in Balmain, Cammeray and Balgowlah. Contact them for enquiries or bookings.