As human beings, we’re prone to living in the past or anticipating the future, but rarely are we present to the only thing that’s real… NOW. Life is always happening right now, and yet most of us spend our entire lives in our heads, thinking about the past or future, which is causing us to miss out on the essence of life.
When we’re fully present, we’re calm, we transcend stress and worry, and we’re able to experience life as it is meant to be lived. I first began learning about this in my early twenties, when I first read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, and I’ve been striving and struggling to implement it in my life ever since.
In today’s podcast, I want to talk about the power of this practice, how to share it with your family, and how to get started if you’ve never meditated before or have struggled with meditation in the past.
- Why it’s so hard for humans to be present and in the moment.
- How to change your mindset to be fully present.
- What I’ve learned from practicing meditation with my kids.
- How fear-based media creates a fear-based reality.
- The question I ask myself when I find myself caught in my head.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
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Hal Elrod: Hello, everybody. It’s Hal Elrod. Welcome to the Achieve Your Goals Podcast, which by the way, I’m still thinking we should rename. What do you think about Wake Up? Wake Up with Hal Elrod. I feel like the Achieve Your Goals Podcast is how we started but I feel like that’s not where the content really is focused anymore. It used to be really relevant, always to helping people achieve their goals and, well, we still talk about topics, especially like our last week’s episode was How To Make The Next Six Months The Best Six Months Of Your Life. And that was pretty relevant to achieving your goals. But a lot of times, I just want to talk about topics that I feel like might best serve you in the moment. Recently, we talked to Dr. Zack Bush about the state of the world and your microbiome, which other than your goal of being healthy and living a long time, your microbiome isn’t really specific to achieving any of your other goals. We talked recently with Preston Smiles about the realities of racism. Also, not necessarily relevant to achieving goals.
So, the point is the podcast I feel like has really evolved. And as each of us evolve, I feel like our work should evolve. And so, anyway, I don’t mean to be off too much on a tangent here, but I’m thinking about Wake Up with Hal Elrod because wake up, there’s multiple meanings of that, that really feel relevant to me and my work and our relationship and what I’m trying to help you do, such as wake up to your full potential, wake up to the possibilities that are available to you in life, wake up to every day to elevate your consciousness. You know, waking up specifically your morning ritual, of course, is always a tie-in or a focus to podcast. So, anyway, let me know. Let me know. You can leave a comment. Let me know what you think about Wake Up as the name of the podcast, Wake Up with Hal Elrod. I don’t know. I’m trying to figure it out. Alright, let’s dive in today. Here’s what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about what is arguably the essence of life. That’s a big statement. Maybe it’s a part of the essence of life. It’s about living life to your fullest and that is about being present. And let me explain where this came from. Actually, there’s a couple of things that this generated from.
Number one is, well, 20 years of really learning about this topic of being present. When I was in my early 20s, I read the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, and The Power of Now introduced me to the concept that most of us are living either in the future, we’re anticipating the future, or we’re living in the past, fretting over something that happened in the past, but rarely are we fully present in this moment right now. And about less than a week ago, a few days ago, my wife and I were sitting outside in the backyard and we had our feet in the grass and I think it was morning time and it was still warm. We live in Austin, Texas. It’s always hot here. But we were out back and I actually sit out there by myself every day as part of a Miracle Morning and I usually journal and I have my feet in the grass connecting with Earth. I’m listening to the birds chirping and the trees rustling and the squirrels are running around. And so, I’m sitting there with my wife and I said, “Sweetheart, take a moment,” and I said, “Let’s be completely silent and just like let your gaze just kind of peripherally see all of these trees, everything in this backyard and be fully present. Just feel the light breeze on your skin. Listen to the sounds of the birds and the trees and just be silent. And let’s see how that feels.” She’s like, “Okay, I’m game. I’ll try.”
And so, we just sat there for probably 30 seconds, maybe 60 seconds. I don’t know. And it was silent. And I said, “Sweetheart, what did you notice?” She said it was peaceful. I said, “What did you hear?” She said, “I heard the birds chirping.” I said, “What did you see?” She goes, “I saw the trees were really active. I didn’t know. There’s a lot of squirrels and animals that are running through the trees, but they’re really active. They move a lot.” And I said, “What did you feel?” She said, “I felt the temperature. I felt the air touching my skin.” And I said, “Let me ask you, maybe a more important question. Were you worried about anything?” And you saw her kind of like look up and she goes, “No.” I go, “Yeah.” I go, “Did you have any problems in those moments? Like were you even aware of anything wrong or how did it feel? How did it feel not just your senses, how did it feel emotionally?” And she went back to what she said, you know, right before she was like, “Well, it was peaceful. It just it felt nice.”
And I said that’s life like that’s the essence of life is the moment. And if you think about it, this moment, now, the moment I’m recording this is not the same moment that you’re listening to this but the moment that you’re in right now is the only thing that’s real in the world in the same way that the moment that I’m in is the only thing that’s real like it’s interesting to think about. I remember when I read the Power of Now, again, 20 years ago, I would drive around in my car, and I would just zone out in the now and I would like, again, just totally silent, turn the radio off and just let my vision go peripheral. So, I tried to see everything at once, not just focusing on one thing but see like right now if I do it, I can see a lamp to my left. I can see the microphone in front of me. I can see my computer in front of me. I can see a blanket behind that. I can see books behind that. There’s a phone down to my left. There are some pens to my left. There’s a filing cabinet to my right.
So, it’s interesting when you do that, because most of us, I don’t know if there’s a name for it, but I just call it going peripheral, where instead of focusing on one thing, you see everything in your field of vision at one time. And that is one, I’m going to give you guys some tips today on how to be fully present after we talked about why and the benefits and that sort of thing. I’ll give you some tips at the end. But this is one of them, by the way, is just to go peripheral with your vision where you see everything in your field of vision and actually name it. What do I see? And just like I just did, right? I see this, I see that, I see this. It’s amazing how you can see a million things probably literally, although maybe your brain can’t process the millions of them but you can see seemingly infinite things. You can see everything all at one time. And the same is true with all of your senses. If you do it with your hearing, you stop and you go, “What can I hear?” One thing you can hear is the silence. Isn’t that interesting?
The first thing when you stop to listen if there’s not a lot of noise is you can hear the silence, which is a very odd thing to think, how do you hear silence but you can. And then usually, you’ll hear maybe the low humming of the air conditioning or people outside or in the next room, maybe you’ll hear the shuffling of your feet or something like that, right? But you can hear everything all at once. In fact, I was introduced to meditation years ago, I think it was by Michael Ellsberg. But it was where instead of trying to quiet your mind and zone out everything, it was the opposite where you’d try to take in everything. So, it’s like you do the peripheral vision. You try to see everything while you hear everything while you feel everything and it’s a really powerful meditation. It’s really unique because it’s very counterintuitive to what most of us have been taught when it comes to how to meditate. So, anyway, back to the story. I’m sitting there with my wife and kind of we talked about how beautiful it is to be present and that we’re so busy all the time, we’re so busy doing and we’re so busy trying and we’re so busy striving and we’re so busy again in the future, and I’ll read my journal entry about that here in a minute that we’re not fully present. We’re not fully present.
And if you’re not fully present, you’re not actually living your life to the fullest. You’re living some illusion of either that your past or your future life. But again, those aren’t real. The future doesn’t exist yet. And when it exists, it will exist in this moment right now. That’s all there ever is, is now, this moment. This moment right now that you’re listening to this is happening across the world, in every country, right? I mean everywhere in the universe like everywhere this moment is happening. It’s occurring for people of all races that live everywhere and all ages and like this moment is the only thing that is real but most of us were not present to this moment. So, what my wife and I decided is I don’t know if I proposed it or she did but one of us proposed that we should create a practice for and with our children of presence, of stillness, of silence, of in layman’s terms, I just said, you know, we need to have rituals with them where we do nothing.
And we went on to kind of talk about how we feel like they’re overstimulated, right? It’s like, if they’re not stimulated, they’re craving it. They always want stimulation. They want to do something, talk about something, see something, be with friends. They’re never okay just being still and I feel like I own that that I’ve nurtured that I think for them that ability to be distracted and to always be stimulated. And so, my wife and I decided we need to create a ritual of doing nothing. Well, actually, so this was just the other day because yesterday we did our first day of doing nothing with the kids. So, I think it must have been Saturday that we had this realization and then Sunday yesterday, we said, “Hey, kids, we have an announcement to make, something new we’re going to do and we knew how this was probably going to be received by them. We go, “We’re going to have a new ritual where we’re going to start weekly, but we’ll probably do it daily but let’s just start today. We’re going to do it once. And it’s a ritual where we’re going to do nothing for like 20, 30 minutes.
And of course, they’ve grown and my daughter’s 10. My son is seven, which I used to meditate my son all the time. I need to get back to that because I was actually surprised that he was groaning it but he’d be into it because we’ve meditated quite a bit. And they’re resisting and they’re groaning and grunting and they don’t want to do it. And we said, “Hey, look, it’s Family Day,” which Sunday is our family. No friends. We’re all just together with each other and we said we’re going to do, we’ll start with 20 minutes. We’ll just do 20 minutes of stillness, 20 minutes of doing nothing, and then we’ll have a family meeting where we established our family values, which was really cool. And that’s been on our list for a long time and then we would play Topgolf and then anyway, whatever, the rest of the day is, well, it’s not inconsequential because when I explain to you what happened, you’ll see how powerful this was.
So, we went into our family room, which has a couch on one side and then two kind of nice comfy chairs opposite on the other side with a big square ottoman table in the middle with fabric, that’s kind of soft. And so, my daughter laid on the couch and my son sat on the chair, my wife sat on the chair, and I sat at my daughter’s feet. And we said, “Look, this is not strict. If you have something that comes up and you have a question or you need to ask, that’s fine,” and we gave them some really brief coaching. We said, “Look, when you sit there, if your mind is wandering that’s normal. What can help is to focus on either your breathing and just breathe in, breathe out, just focus on your breath, those sensations or,” I said, “One thing I really like to do when I sit in silence is if I do have thoughts, instead of letting my thoughts kind of run me and be random, I like to be intentional and choose thoughts that make me feel good.”
I said, “So, you might think about things that you’re grateful for or things that make you happy, things that make you smile,” and I said, “When you think about them, literally, you may smile because if you’re thinking about things that make you smile, things that make you happy, well, that’s a natural physical reaction. In fact, I smile right now as I say that.” And they’re like, “Ugh, well, okay, whatever.” They’re not into it. Not excited. And we sat there. We set a timer. And we sat there for 20 minutes and probably about five minutes in my son goes, “Can I check the timer?” He was antsy. He was actually more antsy I thought than he would be and my daughter didn’t move a muscle for 20 minutes. My 10-year-old daughter sat there for 20 minutes in total silence, didn’t say a word. My son who’s seven, a little more antsy. And at the end, the timer went off and we asked them how that was. And my son said, “It was really hard. I wanted to do something the whole time.”
And my daughter said, “That was actually really nice. It was nice. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. It was actually kind of nice.” And my wife asked, “Do you feel better or worse? How do you feel compared to when you started?” She goes, “I feel better like I feel calm.” And here’s the cool part you, guys. That day, then we went to Topgolf and I’ll be transparent here. Our kids are kids, right? They sometimes have attitudes and sometimes they fight with each other and this and that and sometimes they’re not agreeable. In fact, my daughter we tease her. Ugh is like her most common response right now. She’s in the ugh phase like, “See, you were into this.” “Ugh, I don’t want to. Ugh, I don’t want that for dinner.” We’re considering banning ugh from her vocabulary but she ended up – so we go to Topgolf and whenever something wouldn’t go according to what my kids wanted, from that moment that we did the morning stillness and then, by the way, I mentioned that we did establish our family values and my daughter wrote on a big whiteboard sized post-it note, one of those big giant post-it notes like three feet by two feet with a marker, we would each go take turns saying what a value of our family was. It was things like gratitude and inclusivity and integrity and playfulness.
And most of these were given by our kids and then my wife and I kind of interjected where we saw appropriate, but we wrote up these family values and then we talked about what each of the values meant and that we as Elrods, these are our family values. We want to really live in alignment with these values. We’re going to keep reviewing them and talking about them, and then every day, support each other and encourage each other and even hold each other accountable to live in alignment with our family values. And the kids were on board. So, I don’t know if it was just the stillness or the family values or both, but we went out for the rest of the day. And here’s the point. I don’t need to give you all the details. I’ll just tell you this. Our children were noticeably different in a positive way. Our children, they were more agreeable and they were more patient, and they were more just loving and they actually were happier and less irritated. I mean, it was noticeable. It was pretty extraordinary.
And when we acknowledge them, we’re like, “Wow, thank you.” Always, of course, we try to reward good behavior, acknowledge good behavior. So, every time they would be patient or loving or kind or gentle or agreeable or whatever the positive attribute was, whenever they were living in alignment with the Elrod family values, we acknowledge them and it was really beautiful. And what’s interesting we then now, on the weekends, our kids get an hour of screen time on Saturday and an hour screen time on Sunday, meaning they get to play usually a video game or something. And that’s it. They don’t get to play during the week, just one hour on Saturday, one hour on Sunday. They always fight us on that normally, and they want more time. And my wife and I, we actually were driving home from Topgolf and my wife told our kids and said, “I’m actually kind of, I know you guys get screen time, but part of me is like nervous to give it to you because you guys you’re being your best selves right now and I hope that the screen doesn’t change that at all.” And long story short, it didn’t and they were peaceful all day. I mean, it was really amazing. And so, today our plan is to do 10 to 20 minutes minimum every day. So, yesterday was our first day. It went really well, 20 minutes. We’ll see how it goes today.
So, I wanted to share that with you because it happened yesterday. It’s a very relevant and recent story. But in terms of the power of presence, the power of mindfulness, the power of spending time in silence, because it’s not just kids that are overstimulated. It’s adults, right? We are overstimulated. We’re overstimulated with our phones, probably more than anything on our phone and on our computer then on the TV, right? I mean, we’re constantly stimulated and when we’re stimulated, think about it, when you’re looking at your phone, you’re rarely fully present. You’re looking at something. I guess that you could argue that you could say, “Well, I am present. I’m totally focused on the thing I’m looking at on my phone.” But I want to read this journal entry to you. It’s a short journal entry, but I think it will really set up the rest of the podcast today. And the title of this, what I do is when I write the journal entry, I usually don’t know what I’m going to write about when I start my daily journal entry.
And then at the end, I usually try to give it a title that sums it up so that when I’m going through my journal at the top, I can find the title and I can kind of be clear on what is this one about. And then I can dive in if I want to revisit or relearn something or realize something. So, this one says, “Be present and stop living in the future.” This was written on June 24. So, what was that? Twelve days ago. It says, “I woke up at 4:02 AM feeling good. I got out of bed at 4:30. Did my Miracle Morning ritual. First, a sodium bicarbonate lemon juice shot,” which by the way that’s taking like a food-grade baking soda mixing with lemon juice and it puts your body in an alkaline state. That’s why I do that. “Followed by Jasmine green tea with a splash of oat milk. Then I meditated for 15 minutes and prayed then read the 15 commitments of conscious leadership. I’m on commitment number two, learning through curiosity which is a huge area of improvement for me. Then I stretched for a few minutes and decided to go for a bike right around the neighborhood, which I haven’t done in a long time. I really enjoyed it and I need/want to exercise more. So, I put it in my schedule to do every morning and I have done it every morning,” except one, I think, by the way.
And then here we go. This is where we get into the really topic of today. By the way, though, when I’m bike riding around the neighborhood and I’m just thinking I’m fully present, I’m in the moment, the trees are beautiful, the sky is beautiful, the clouds are beautiful. So, I’m just throwing that out there. You know, being in nature is a really great way to get present because typically, we’re not being stimulated by electronics or that sort of thing. All right. So, back to the journal entry. “Now, I’m sitting in the backyard with my feet on the grass, enjoying the symphony of birds and animals while my body is connected to the earth. And I’m reminded that this is what life is about, just living. We/I get so caught up in doing that we/I distract ourselves from the truth: life is for living. There is nothing we need to do and the actual doing/pursuing for the sake of altering the future causes us to miss out on the present, which is life and it’s the only thing that’s real.
We spend our lives pursuing the future and thereby missing out on our lives, and the future we are pursuing never comes because when we get ‘there’ we are never actually there because we are always already in pursuit of another future. It’s not until we become aware of the fact/possibility that we’re rarely fully present, that we can begin to consciously shift to being fully present. This moment is always perfect, and this moment is life, thus being fully present is living life to the fullest. This afternoon, I got to practice being fully present when I went wake surfing with Mike McCarthy and about a dozen GoBundance brothers. In order to ride the wave, I had to be fully present intensely present. In those moments, I’m not thinking about the future or past. I’m not concerned with or worried about anything. There are no problems in my consciousness. I am fully present and truly living life. So, the question is, what can I learn from wake surfing that I can apply to my everyday life and level of consciousness?”
So, I’m going to invite you right now to be fully present. I’ll give you some silence. I need to be fully present like I invited my wife to do and as you’re fully present, listen to the sounds. Have your vision go peripheral. See everything in your vision, notice it all, and just be present. This moment is all that’s real. And all too often, we’re creating problems in our minds based on a past or a future moment but when I look around the room right now, I don’t have any problems in here. It’s just me. It’s just this moment. And by the way, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t situations that need to be addressed. Absolutely, right? We’ve got to deal with, you know, you can call them problems, although I did a podcast episode. I already mentioned this, I don’t remember, but a few months ago or a month or two ago called How To Solve All Your Problems and it was basically the idea that there are no problems, only situations. You might not like a situation but the idea of problem, that’s a label.
In fact, I’m reading a book right now. One of the books I’m reading I mentioned last week, it’s called Loving What Is and she simply reminds me, the reader, that there’s nothing that causes us suffering other than our thoughts about the things that we think are causing us suffering. And so, being present doesn’t mean that you don’t think about the future or the past but think of it this way. Most of us are present, I mean, very little. I don’t know the percentage. I don’t have a stat on and everybody’s different but I’d say most of us are present just a few percentage points of the time and it’s usually only when we have to be like when you’re wake surfing, like I mentioned in my journal entry. You’re wake surfing. I have to be present or I’m going to fall off the board. That’s why people they say like to rock climb and do these things that are death-defying because in that moment you are fully present and that’s when we are happiest, we are the most alive. We are living our life to the fullest when we are fully present in this moment.
So, this isn’t to say that there’s not value in thinking about the future, the past, but can you shift to be present more of the time? Because when you are fully present, your problems are absent. I’m going to say that again. When you are fully present, your problems are absent. And when I say absent, I mean they are absent from your consciousness, absent from your reality. And here’s the thing. What good does it do you to worry and stress all day long about things that are either in the past or in the future, or even just outside of your current control? Think of it this way. Here’s kind of a good measure as to how often should I be present. If you can’t do anything right now to change a circumstance for the better, if right in this moment, think about how many hours if 24 hours in a day let’s say you sleep eight hours, so 18 conscious hours of the day. Of those 18 hours, how many of those hours are you actually doing something or thinking about something that the thought or action itself is improving a circumstance in your life that you want to improve?
I would imagine not 18 hours a day but if you actually were to look at how often are you thinking about those things in a way that doesn’t actually isn’t productive, it’s just destructive. It’s destructive to your emotional well-being, to your psyche, to your physical body, because stress causes a lot of physical challenges. Of those 18 hours a day, imagine being present. You know, let’s say even half of them, nine hours a day, and then worry the other. You can worry the other nine hours. Stressed out the other nine hours, right? But think about that. How many of us are present nine hours a day fully present to the moment to what’s happening? I’ll give you a couple of examples. In fact, let’s dive into the how-tos. So, how do you practice being fully present? How do you make this part of your world so that you can like my wife and I in the backyard, staring at the trees, listening to the birds fully present, realizing that, “Wow. I feel at peace. I feel calm. I don’t feel stressed out. I don’t feel worried. I’m not thinking about what I saw on the news last night,” which by the way, if you’re watching the news, I encourage you to minimize that but anyway, that’s another story.
But watching fear-based media that creates a fear-based reality for us, minimizing that and being in a state of pure peace, joy, calm through consciously choosing to be present. So, I’ll give you a few tips on how to do this. Number one is to meditate. And when you meditate, when you fully meditate and it takes practice, when you first start meditating or if you haven’t meditated in a while, your brain typically races with all the thoughts. So, you actually when you’re meditating usually, if you haven’t done it for a while, your brain is still in the past and the future. You’re still thinking about that you’re just thinking nonstop. Now, that’s why when you’re newer to meditation, a guided meditation is really helpful because it helps you’re listening to a voice so that kind of interrupts your thinking so that you’re not thinking about the past and the future and creating stress in the midst of the meditation which I’ve experienced that plenty of times where you’re meditating and you’re feeling stressed. A, because you’re not doing it right or, B, because you’re supposed to be meditating and being calm and clear and yet you’re thinking about things that stress you out.
So, meditation, though, is a practice. If you’ve ever done it where you are fully present, it feels so good. You’re so at peace and that’s why focusing on your breath because if you try to just clear out your mind completely it’s usually futile. Usually, it’s not a successful endeavor. Again, you can get there but that’s why typically when you start meditating, experts in meditation, meditation trainers or coaches or practitioners will tell you to focus on your breath because usually, the brain is seeking to focus on something. And if you don’t give it something to focus on then it’ll focus on your problems. And that’s why Transcendental Meditation gives you a mantra to focus on. So, like if you aim a single sound or word that you repeat over and over and over and over and over and over again, which helps you to get in that meditative state because it gives your mind something to focus on that doesn’t cause stress or anxiety. So, it’s usually not even a mantra. It’s usually in the world of transcendental meditation, which my wife and I went and got certified in a few years ago, it gives you just a word without meaning, like mine was, I haven’t done in a while what was mine? I’ll figure it out.
But like, for example, oolmmm, oolmmm, right? You just oolmmm over and over and over and over again. Oolmmm doesn’t have a meaning and the actual frequency tends to create kind of a calm in your body. So, here’s the point. Meditation, if you’ve done it before where you’ve been totally present to the moment out of your thinking, not thinking about past or future, it feels just perfect. It feels incredible and you realize this is what life’s about. Now, society has conditioned us to think that life is about striving and achieving but I would argue that that’s not what life’s about because it’s this never-ending pursuit of fulfillment that never really comes because you’re always striving and achieving for something greater. And when you achieve something greater, and I’m guilty of this and you see it with people that are really successful, it’s like, “Dude, how much success is enough?” You know, how much money is enough? Like Jeff Bezos, right? I think you got enough, buddy. You’re the richest man in the world. I think it’s enough.
I’d be focusing how can I give more away? That’s for me, that’s how can I give more money away? Anyway, that’s another topic. But when you are meditating and you’re fully present, life is perfect. The moment is perfect. And so, meditation is think of it this way, though. You go, well, like and I’ve had this thought before where I go, “Man, I wish I could meditate all day because when I meditate, and I’m really calm and present, fully present, life feels perfect.” My problems, just kind of I transcend my problems. I realize my problems in my head through my thinking, I think myself into problems when I’m present. They’re not there. And so, when you fully meditate, you’re fully present, I think to myself I need to meditate all day because it’s only 10, 20, 30 minutes that I’m getting this beautiful experience. And so, here’s what you realize, here’s what I’m sharing with you is that meditation is training. It’s like going to the gym. It’s your mental and spiritual and emotional gym. When you practice meditation, what it does is it’s training you to be present and then you can take that presence into every other aspect of your day. And the second tip I’m going to give you will give you some examples of how to do that.
Take the next, whatever you do next, and it’s great if it’s something physical like washing the dishes, for example, or making a cup of coffee or making it whatever. It literally can be anything. The point is this. So, I’ll use washing the dishes as an example. Most of us, in fact, this may be a breakthrough for you. Think of an activity you don’t enjoy doing. Okay? And let’s say it’s washing the dishes. Most people don’t love washing the dishes. Some people do and some do because they do it the way that I’m about to explain it, which is being fully present. So, this is what being fully present looks like when you are washing the dishes. It means that, again, it’s activating all of your senses. So, your vision, you can go peripheral or even just focus on every little aspect of the plate, every chip, every crack, every color, the textures, the shape, the roundness, the distance between the plate and the sink behind it, right? It’s just using your vision to the fullest, right? So, use that sense.
And then physically, the sensations, feel the soap, feel the plate, that how your fingers and hands feel sliding across the plate and across the soap. Feel the warmth of the water on your hands and activate your hearing. Listen. Hear the sounds of the water running, bouncing off of the plate. Hear maybe the TV in the background at the same time. Listen to the plate clinking as you pick it up or as you set it down off of the other dishes. So, activate all of your senses. If there’s a smell, lean in and smell the soapy water, right? So, activate all your senses and do that. Make it a game. This is your mindfulness game or your presence game. But here’s the point. It’s that the act of doing the dishes for us is usually a means to an end. Usually, we want to get the dishes done as quickly as possible because again, we’re living in the future. I want to get these dishes done so that I can go watch TV or go hang out with my kids or go do some work or go make whatever.
Everything we do, again, if we live in this perpetual mindset, this future mindset where we’re not present, everything we do, we’re doing as a means to an end to get to the next thing. And in doing so, we’re missing out on life. We’re missing out on life, the gift that is here right now in this moment, not in the next because the next is this moment. And then once again, if you’re perpetually living in the future, you’re never enjoying it. You never arrive. You never get to enjoy anything that you do because you’re always in pursuit of something different, something better. So, going back to the dishes, instead of the dishes being a means to an end, what if dishes were the best thing you could possibly do? Why? Because they’re what you’re doing in that moment. What if you made a conscious decision that from now on, everything you do is the best thing you’ve ever done? It’s the only thing that is real right now. Why not enjoy it fully? Be fully present to doing those dishes to making a cup of coffee to washing your car to folding your laundry to going on a walk. Don’t be thinking. Stop thinking about what you’re doing next.
Now, again, not never. Not that you’re never going to think about it, but you go, “Okay, I know that after I do the dishes, I’m going to go watch TV.” Great. How long did that take? It took two seconds to think that. It took two seconds to think that yet we are always thinking about the future. So, being fully present gives you access to a state of being that you find is what we’re all really after. It’s that state of presence. So, and the third tip I’ll give you is you’ve got to create an affirmation around this. An affirmation being just a simple written statement that reminds you that I am going to practice being fully present. You can take any of the language from the podcast. I’m going to rewind it and wrote down what I just said a minute ago about and I forgot what it was already, see? Because I’m present, I’m in this moment, but making that decision that every experience, every activity that you do, you’ll be fully present and decide it is the best activity of your life.
Because it’s the one you’re doing now. Why not give all of you to that activity? And by the way, if you apply this to your relationships, imagine how it enhances your relationships. When you are fully present with the person that you’re talking to, that you’re spending time with, you’re not thinking about what you’re doing later. You’re not thinking about tomorrow. You’re not even in your head just having your own conversation, but you’re fully present. When you’re talking to someone, look at their face, their peripheral vision, see their eyes and their nose and their mouth moving as they shape words and words come out of their mouth. Listen to the words sent. Pay attention to the tone of their voice, the pitch, the tempo, all of it. Be fully present to that conversation. And again, this applies to all of life. Use your brain. Your brain is a tool. It’s important. It’s crucial. You’ve got to think about the future from time to time. I mean, every day, you got to give a little thought to the future, enough to plan it or prepare for it but don’t live in it. That’s the whole point. Don’t live in the future. Don’t live in the past. Live in the present. Because at this moment, more often than not, it’s perfect.
And I’m going to leave you with one question that I learned from my coach, Jenai Lane, that I had on the podcast a few weeks ago. And I’ve shared this with you once before, I think. I’ll probably share it with you many times because I personally forget it. And then every time I read it in my affirmations, I’m like, “Oh, yeah, why do I keep forgetting that?” Here’s the question. Actually, and let me tee it up real quick. Our brains are problem creating machines. We’re always seeking a problem. We’re like, “Wait, what do I need to fix? What do I need to fix? What do I need to fix? What’s wrong in my reality? What’s wrong in this situation? What’s wrong in the future that I need to prepare for?” Our brains are always seeking and trying to grab on to something and typically create a problem. Here’s the question and this helps you get into presence, or at least it helps me. What would be here now if there wasn’t a problem to solve?
What would be here now if there wasn’t a problem to solve? And my answer to that is this moment is what would be here. It’s what is here. That problem that I’m trying to solve in my head that I’m stewing over that I have been stewing over for days or weeks, that’s not here right now. Why am I giving my energy and attention and my life? Why am I giving my life to a problem? When this moment is here, now, it’s the gift I’ve been given, you’ve been given, we’ve been given this moment. Live it. Enjoy it. Be fully present. So, what would be here now if there wasn’t a problem to solve? That’s a question that I ask myself regularly when I catch myself in my head and the answer to that question if it’s not presence, it’s often love or God or perfection, right? That’s what’s here now in this moment. So, whatever it is for you, it might be one of those. It might be something different. But I hope this has been valuable for you. I really do. It’s for me, you know, I learn about being present in the moment 20 years ago, and I’d say that I have not been present 99% of the time but it’s something that right now I’m really working on. And I try to share things with you guys and gals that I’m working on that’s valuable for me and I hope will be valuable for you too.
Hal Elrod: So, goal achievers, or if we in the podcast Wake Up what do I call, woke folks? Would that be the name? Woke folks? I don’t know. Anyway, well, I hope this is something that you’ll take and not just hear but implement. So, go out there. Again, meditation is your daily training. It’s like weightlifting for the body, but meditation is your daily training for being present. And remember, you can practice being fully present in every activity that you do and make it the best activity that you have ever done because it’s the one you’re doing now. And finally, so you don’t forget this, write down a little affirmation, a few sentences that remind you to start being fully present in everything that you do. All right. I think I’m getting repetitive. That’s me forgetting what I just said a few minutes ago and saying it again. So, Alright, goal achievers, I love you. I appreciate you. Members of the Miracle Morning community, I love you, I appreciate you. Thanks for listening. Hope it was valuable. I appreciate you and I will talk to you all next week. Take care, everybody.
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