What can be challenging this day and age is staying present. When we're present, it means we are not thinking about the future or the past, and we are not overcome by perpetual intense emotion. Rather we are right here in this moment, present, aware and our life is unfolding as everything else unfolds around us.
Being in the present moment provides us with a certain stability and calm. It allows us to really see what is around us and respond properly to the moment without the mind getting involved in too much of an active way. If we are able to be present in most situations then we can start to master our minds and our emotions as we can begin to see what the mechanisms are that take us out of the present moment and into our heads.
When we are too much in our heads, it is very easy for us to think our way into the future or into the past. It is very easy for us to worry about something that may need doing tomorrow or next week. If we are overcome with a certain emotion such as grief or fear, then being too much in our minds lessens the opportunity we have to really confront and be present with those emotions and ultimately learn from them and about ourselves in a more profound way.
In a sense, the early stages of meditation are about being with the breath, not getting drawn into our thoughts or ideas. This is the same as practicing presence. The more we can tune into the present moment in our waking lives, the deeper we can get in our meditation and the more stable we can feel in ourselves.
In Chinese Medicine, this state of being present very much relates to our sense of self. If we have a strong sense of self, a feeling of being rooted in the present moment, then our ability to face the world and to face our challenges is enhanced. It can be seen that if someone has a weak or distorted sense of self, then for them it can be difficult to stay present and out of their mind/thoughts. Instead they may be churning the same excessive thought round and round in an obsessive and over-contemplative way. Furthermore, digest issues may be common as the body relies on an inner calm and relaxed state in order to digest, assimilate and transform foods as well as our experiences. With overthinking, worry and general stress, the digestive system can be weak and unable to perform its proper function.
How our sense of self may have been affected in the first place can often lead us to deep places in our past. Somewhere along the line we lost that alignment, that feeling of being whole and present in ourselves. This habit can be changed, we can regain in time a better sense of who we are. There are many things out there that can help us with this. Acupuncture is one such alternative medicine that helps to re-align us and promote inner balance. It works symptomatically with digestive complaints and helps draw us out of our minds and into the body. Its strength though is in working with the root or underlying cause of the problems at hand. in this way is diagnoses where the problem/s come from in the first place and treats that in order to re-establish equilibrium in the mind and body. Over time, that space of presence can be strengthened and even fully regained to provide us with a more rounded and full experience of life as we take it head on from moment to moment.