Am I Being Present In The Moment?

September 8, 2012

(Photo by daveyboond)

I find it helps me understand things more clearly after I’ve posted a blog post about it, so here’s something curious that’s been happening lately.

Being lost in a sea of thought:

First: I know that us humans are always in our head. Thought after thought run through our minds and that causes us to not be in the present moment – where all life happens.

I don’t know about you, but my life is kind of like Scrubs but on overload. I am constantly lost in thought.

Thoughts like: replaying the past over and over and wondering how I could have done something better. Wondering about the future and how to prepare for certain hypothetical situations. Being self aware when in public. Wondering what others are thinking of me. Am I dressed properly? Did I remember to wear pants? Is my face clean? Are my nails cut and proper? How does my hair look? Did I order food as efficiently as possible? Should I look & smile at that stranger and say hello or avoid eye contact.

You get the idea.

This is something Eckhart Tolle and many others have figured out and taught us for years. Be present. Life happens in the now. The present and the past are an illusion.

So how to be present?

There are a few ways that I’ve learned (not saying I’ve mastered them yet).

1. Meditation: quieting the mind of all thoughts

2. Exercise: things like yoga, martial arts etc are so difficult to do physically that the mind doesn’t get a chance to think

3. Snapping yourself awake from thoughts: whenever you find yourself lost in thought, you can snap out of it by slapping yourself, hitting your thigh, slapping the steering wheel, snapping a rubberband on your wrist, etc. It’s hard to do something physical and yet be lost in thought at the same time.

4. Eckhart Tolle has simple exercise: when lost in thought, just mention to yourself what is happening right now. ie: I am driving. There is a red car on my left. The steering wheel feels firm. I am breathing. Etc. This should snap you back to the present.

5. Art: creating a podcast is one of my all time favorite things to become present.

6. Psychedelics: mushrooms will definitely snap you back to the present once you are done with the trip.

Curious thing happening to me:

I was at chipotle a week ago. I usually get a salad with meat, veg & gauc (#paleo).

So I got to the condiment section and the girl working there was in the process of replacing the empty hot salsa container with a new full one. In the process, she accidentally dumped my whole salad bowl into the new salsa, the guac, and a few other condiments.

She didn’t flinch. Didn’t say sorry or even make eye contact. She quickly just took all the contaminated condiments to the back and replaced all of them with new ones.

I didn’t flinch either. She should have said “sorry” or something. That’s proper customer service. But she didn’t. That’s ok. I wasn’t mad. I just sat down as they made quickly made a new salad bowl for me. There was a line but they did it quickly.

Then the girl came back, still not making eye contact, asked bruskly what I wanted – I told her my usual: mild salsa, hot sauce on the side, guac on the side.

That was it.

SHe knocked things over because she wasn’t paying attention to the present moment. It happens. What was curious was how she reacted. On the outside, she seemed cold, cool & calm. I wonder if in her head, she was embarrassed or admonishing herself – since she had to throw out tons of new salsa, guac, cheese and other items. And it caused the line to move slowly.

Why didn’t she smile at me and say she’s sorry or something. Or make ANY kind of reaction?

Those are the thoughts that were now in my head.

Today at Chipotle:

I went back today for the usual salad. Huge line. I tried to be in the present moment by reminding myself of things happening right now.

Tried to avoid being self conscious. It seems more thoughts come into my mind when I am alone at a restaurant than if I had company. Are you like this as well?

I was wondering if I should eat there or eat at home. If I eat there, should I eat inside or on the outside. I wanted to be ready when it was my turn to order. Wanted to be as efficient as possible so that there is no confusion and the line moves fast.

Anyways, as I got to the condiment section – I said the usual. Hot salsa on the side, guac on the side. The girl said something. I couldn’t hear what she was saying. Is it because she wasn’t speaking loud enough or because I was thinking too much? Not sure.

I asked her to repeat. Still couldn’t hear properly but then made out she was saying guac costs extra $1.49 or something. I am aware of this, I come here all the time! I told her that’s fine.

Then she went ahead and dumped the guac onto the salad bowl instead of on the side. She did it so quickly that I didn’t have a chance to stop her.

Now do I mention this to her and make her feel bad or just take it? It’s not the end of the world to have guac directly on the salad but I usually prefer it on the side. I didn’t say anything.

Then I check out. I ask for a drink – and pay. The girl gives me my food in a bag and she begins to walk away. I quickly remembered she forgot to give me my cup and told her. She smiled, said sorry and gave me a cup.

She was also forgetful. Maybe because they were busy?

What all this means:

This is in no way to blame Chipotle or the employees there. They are usually very nice and the food is healthy & great.

My question is this.

Premise: I create my own reality. Everything on the outside is a reflection of me.

The same applies to you. You are the only being in this universe. Everything is a reflection of your inside. You create your own reality.

If I believe this premise (which I do) – then me encountering others who are stuck in their own minds – what does that mean?

Does it mean I am so inside my head that I am manifesting others who are also stuck in their minds (chipotle employees dropping salsa, messing up my order, forgetting my cup, etc) – as a reminder to myself to be present?

Or does it mean that I am aware of being in my own head – and I am just observing others who are stuck in their head – and it has nothing to do with me.

I don’t know if that made sense but I was wondering that the whole drive home.

Final Thoughts:

Writing this post got me out of my own mind and back to the present. As I finish writing this – I think what happened to me is just a reminder that we can all be stuck in our minds.

It’s just a reflection of my inside – but I am more aware of this now than ever before. Back in the day, I would not have even thought twice about seeing others who were not being present.

Life is …… interesting! Right?