In my last post, I provided a list of actions you could take to improve your perception of life. The list included walking, breathing deeply, and other things that help generate space within your mind that allow you to be present in the moment.
Being present in the moment is the only way to experience your life to its fullest. Many books, scriptures, and teachers illustrate this lesson in a number of different ways. Ram Dass simply states, “Be here now.”
When you worry about the future or the past you are cluttering your ‘NOW’. By cluttering your now, you create unnecessary stress because your brain cannot make the distinction between a stressful situation that may be currently transpiring and a stressful situation that you are dwelling on through worry. Your brain releases the same hormones and chemicals in both cases!
The result is a feeling of distraction, frustration, or anxiety. Few if any enjoy these feelings and it takes a conscious effort to maintain a consistent level of presence that helps keep these at bay.
I strive to improve my level of presence every day by combining all of the suggestions in my “Making Changes” post by rotating through different exercises, meditation techniques, etc. but today’s experience had me literally laughing aloud as I looked back on it.
There I was at Costco, doing some weekly shopping and avoiding most of the sample stands as the typical clientele of these free food areas usually provides me with an opportunity (or challenge) to remain present and at peace while navigating the blocked aisles created by grazing Costconians.
Then something caught my eye, samples of Caramel Tres Leches cake. As I said, I do not normally approach these areas because as much as I attempt to remain calm I do feel a rise in anxiety amongst the crowd. However, this treat looked scrumptious and being a Saturday I allow myself a few indulgences for being committed to a healthy way of eating over the week.
Upon approaching the busy stand, the samples of cake looked divine. Caramel oozing around moist cake with what I believe was a buttery graham cracker crust. As I grabbed a sample the woman next to me stated to the man attending the stand, ‘What does tres leches mean?’ ‘I don’t know’, he answered, ‘I don’t speak French’. For whatever reason, this prompted me to interject, ‘It means three cheeses, I took four years of French in High School.’
Why did this come out of my mouth!? This statement was wrong on so many levels! Though not fluent, I know that ‘tres leches’ is Spanish, not French! In fact, I know that it means three milks or creams and on top of that, I only took two years of French and that fromage is French for cheese!
As I walked away, my mind started to clear and all of this dawned on me. I felt like finding the woman and correcting myself but alas, she was on to the next stand sampling salami. I did not dare approach, as I could not imagine what might come out of my mouth next.
So what happened? This is a prime example of how easy it is to lose track of your sense of self and presence. My breathing became shallow as I worried about blocking the aisle while getting that sample.
The anxiety rose and when I opened my mouth to fill a space of silence, one that I should have sat back and enjoyed, I babbled something inane and completely untrue.
Aside from quickly identifying what had happened to me and learning from the experience, the best thing about this encounter was that no one realized that I was completely wrong. They had no idea.
Most of us walk around unconscious with brief moments of consciousness. This experience was a moment of unconsciousness for me and it was a great reminder to continue my journey toward higher awareness, expansive kindness, love, and consciousness.
This journey is an evolution of the spirit for us all. I encourage you to ask yourselves questions such as, ‘Why did that happen?’, ‘Why am I thinking this?’ and ‘What do I want to do?’ I would not have realized this lesson today if I did not take the time to reflect and ask myself similar questions. Remember that “Being conscious is a choice as much as being unconscious is a choice.” Dr. Dain Heer
“Only that in you which is me can hear what I’m saying.” ― Ram Dass