Mindful: Conscious or aware of something
Conscious: Aware of and responding to one's surroundings; awake
Aware: Having knowledge or perception of a situation or fact
Presence: The state or fact of existing, occurring, or being present (in the period of time now occurring)
Years ago, when studying anthropology, I was introduced to the term “everywhen” in connection with Australian aboriginal culture. They had only two words for time “now” and “everywhen”. In our world of relativistic thinking where we like to sort and organize events into a linear past and future projections, shifting to a metaphor of now and a lumping of all other times together can challenge the mind. After all, how would we operate in such a world?
As a habit, most of us spend a good deal, if not most, of our time (that elusive quality again) and energy focused anywhere but on the now. We get up in the morning and immediately begin to plan or project our future day. Even as we dress, groom and feed ourselves, we anticipate traffic, think about the planned activities of the day, focus on our spouse’s and/or children’s needs, revisit old arguments and conflicts, and respond to our environment (including the people around us) based on our preconceptions and expectations rather than what is actually happening. Only rarely do we actually stop and focus on where we are, what we are doing, how we feel (really feel), the sensation and smell of the air, the subtle sounds around us, the taste of our food, or any of the other many details of the present moment.
When we stop and focus on what is happening now, around us, sensing and responding to our environment, seeing the people around us as they are in this moment, hearing our thoughts objectively, observing our emotions dispassionately, stilling our mind to release old thought patterns and future fears, we are practicing presence, mindfulness, being in the “now”.
We normally waste much energy focused in the “not now”, the “everywhen”, detracting from our health and wellbeing. Constantly worrying, playing out fear based “what ifs”, dwelling on past ills, rather than focusing on the truth of what is now. When we shift to present awareness, when we refocus on gratitude for even the smallest things – a breath of fresh air, the beauty of a flower, a blade of grass, or for the big things our life, the sun, the moon, when we are mindful of our breath, we can shift our resonance, our frequency into a happier, healthier place.