You may wonder what it is like to be in the present moment. When we are in the present moment, we feel whole, confident, powerful and secure. We are firmly planted in our bodies. Our subtle life force energy (chi) readily flows into the top of our heads, via our seventh chakra, through our physical body and out through our grounding cord by way of the first chakra. In this state we feel calm and relaxed. Our anxiety is low or absent and life’s little difficulties have a hard time sticking to us.
When something upsetting happens to us, our inner wounding can get triggered, which causes a number of things to happen. First and foremost, the quantity or quality of subtle energy that moves through our energy channels becomes impaired. Our ability to ground becomes diminished. This dynamic causes us to hold on to the negative thoughts and emotions that may have been activated. These discordant vibrations become trapped within us, making it difficult to be in the present moment.
When we are not in the present moment, we miss out on life as it unfolds before us. We are not experiencing what is happening right here and right now. Instead, our thoughts are either in the past or in the future. We may not realize we have mentally digressed while in this state and may believe that we are utilizing our mental energy in a helpful, productive way. Triggering often brings on a cascade of thoughts that can keep us in a negative thought pattern, out of the present moment and missing out on life. One symptom is the formation of intrusive thoughts.
It is normal to react emotionally to things that happen to us. If we are in good working order, a thought can come into our mind, our body may react to it, but after a short period of time we are able to let it go and move on with our life. If, however, we have a high emotional response to what just occurred, our mind might want to keep the situation alive. This is the realm of intrusive thoughts.
Unwanted and intrusive thoughts are a thought pattern that is stuck in your head. It is like hearing the lyrics to a song over and over again without being able to make them stop. These thoughts may revolve around work, our decisions or our relationships. We can have intrusive thoughts on just about any topic, if there is a powerful, emotional charge tied to it. Worry and rumination are the most common forms of persistent negative thinking.
Rumination is when we over-think or obsess over a situation or event that is upsetting to us. People will often ruminate when something frustrating, threatening or insulting happens. If you are not sure what rumination is, it is when we relive the details of an argument with a friend repetitively in our mind and just cannot let it go. Many times we do not even realize we are ruminating. Regardless of what we do to shake it off, our minds keep coming back to the situation trying to make sense of what happened.
Worrying is similar to rumination, where our minds can become trapped in an endless cycle of attempting to figure things out. The key difference between the two is that people who ruminate focus their mental energy on resolving past events, while worriers focus on the future.
Worry is a cycle of living with the question “what if” in the forefront. When we worry, we imagine potential outcomes to an unknown event. We worry in an attempt to solve suspected problems in our lives. We all have moments when we worry. It is when our thoughts become persistent and uncontrollable that they become a cause for concern. Worry can be the first stage in a much larger negative thinking process. It often underscores the manifestation of its much more insidious forms: anxiety and panic, with worry on the mild side of the spectrum and a full-blown panic attack on the other.
What To Do
Being and living in the present moment is easy to say, but a bit more challenging to achieve. It requires us to raise our awareness and become mindful of our thoughts. Are we at work reliving an encounter with our boss or are we feverishly anticipating the results of a test we just took? In both cases, we are not in the present moment.
The practice of mindfulness is just that, a practice. It is something that needs to be repeated over and over again until we change our internal habitual patterns from unhealthy ones to ones filled with increased joy and wonder. In my work, I have found that a combination of two different techniques blend beautifully together to support our ability to come back into the present moment. It might not work well the first time, but with a little persistence you will see dramatic results.
One mindfulness technique is called the ho’oponopono. The ho’oponopono is a Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. It consists of four simple statements:
Please forgive me,
I love you,
The ho’oponopono can be used similar to an affirmation where it is repeated multiple times. This chant projects the energy of acceptance, grounding and neutrality. If you find yourself plagued by intrusive thoughts, consider repeating the ho’oponopono. Use it to shift your mind’s focus away from your problems to one of healing.
Tied to this is breathing! Breathing is a great tool for calming both the nervous system and your overtaxed mind. It naturally puts your body into a calm state. Breathe deeply as you repeat the ho’oponopono. Feel your body and mind shift with each breath that you take, moving you from wherever you have been back into the present moment.