6 Signs You’re Not Living in the Present

“6 Signs You’re Not Living in the Present” by Michael Weinberger

Living in the present - anxiety 1500You’ve heard it a million times—the key to happiness is learning to live in the present moment.

It’s possible this motivated you to try a mindfulness practice and carve out time to quiet your busy mind, but you still haven’t yet found that calm and centered feeling you’re seeking.

You might know what you’re supposed to do to live in the moment but you’re not sure if you’re doing it right.

What gives?

Eckhart Tolle the author of the best-selling books, “The Power of Now” and“A New Earth,” explains that it’s our thoughts that keep us from experiencing the present moment.

In one of his many interviews with Oprah, (who has frequently recommended Tolle’s books) he describes the way our thoughts get in the way of really experiencing what is happening…

Thinking can be a powerful and wonderful tool. It only becomes an affliction if we’re totally identified with it and we derive a sense of who we are from the thinking.

The little person in your head who keeps talking and talking isn’t you. Recognizing that that voice is not you is the real power of living in the now.

You realize that the real “you” is actually the presence behind thinking, says Tolle. When this happens, you’re no longer possessed by the thinking mind. Instead, thinking should be seen as a helpful tool, not as your whole self.

Confusing your thinking with your real self, says Tolle, is the definition of ego.

Ego is more than being selfish or arrogant or feeling superior. Ego is “the self-identification with the stream of thinking”, and it’s what prevents us from really experiencing the moment at hand.

Living in the present - stillness 1500How do you know when you’re letting your thoughts and your ego get in the way of living in the present?

Here are a few warning signs:

1. You’re telling yourself stories

Spinning explanations of why something happened or didn’t happen, jumping to conclusions about what someone else is thinking or contemplating why they’re acting one way or another are all things that prevent you from experiencing what is actually happening.

2. You’re convinced that you are special

The need to be right, be better or even be the one who is suffering the most are ways in which your ego asserts itself and prevents you from truly listening to and being open to others.

Living in the present - breathe 15003. You’re fearful of losing

Whether it’s a thing, a relationship or something else that defines you…

you’re caught up in the belief that who you are is based on your external circumstances.

4. You’re stressing

Whether you’re worried about what happened or what might happen, your anxiety is a sign that you’re thinking too much and forgetting to simply see and deal with what’s right in front of you.

5. You’re not listening

You’re not present for other people if you’re tuning them out or thinking about what you’re going to say next.

6. You’re judging

That’s your ego again. When you measure yourself against others, you’re letting your thinking get in the way of really experiencing what’s happening.

Author:Living in the present - Michael WeinbergerMichael Weinberger is a dynamic and inspiring speaker frequently asked to speak on topics including Coping with Mental Illness and Addiction. He was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder in 1994 and has learned how to not only cope, but to thrive while living with his illness. Michael teaches individuals how to adjust their mindset to be mindful and grateful for everything their life! Michael is the founder and creator of A Plan For Living (sign up for the free app), a digital mindfulness manager and wellness platform. Everyone has problems and Michael’s approach helps people apply gratitude, spirituality and mindfulness to their daily lives. A grateful heart is a happy heart!