This takes me back to when I first found myself studying “alternative modalities”, you’d hear almost every Tom, Dick and Harry of the “spiritual” word tell you “BE IN THE MOMENT, BE IN THE NOW!” And I swear after listening to it almost a hundred times, I’d have almost slapped the next person who told me the answer to all your questions is “BE PRESENT, BE HERE!” (In a deep baritonish, akashvani type, I make complete practical sense voice)! I almost heard myself shouting in my head, so loud I swear my ears would have exploded from within! What the f*ck do you mean? Am I speaking to you through a fucking phone which magically makes my body travel to 2012 from the year 1947? Am I speaking to you from Planet Mars through some radio receiver on a space probe? What the f*ck do you mean, I’m here, in front of you!!!!!! Ofcourse I’m here, I’m in the now, I’m present…..miserable…but still f*cking here!!

Flash forward 3 years ahead…and now you’ll hear me say “BE PRESENT, BE HERE, BE IN THE NOW!” … in a deep not so baritonish, however, it makes complete practical sense voice, with a much less use of the word f*uck in my head! I realised my anger wasn’t towards the concept of being present, somewhere I knew it was true,  that made a lot sense but the anger was towards an almost lack of practicality to that phrase – “Be Present”! So what is the actual meaning of  being present?..Well through group drumming which almost demands of you to be present I started getting in touch with what being present actually means and well the tools of access consciousness just made it all the more easier. So here are some “pointers” of how to be present that I hope brings some practicality to that very concept..

 

  1. Finding your Zone: Being present doesn’t mean contract yourself. What do I mean? So our Body is in us, we are not in our body..again OUR BODY IS IN US, we are NOT in our Body! Doesn’t make sense? Well close your eyes, get in touch with your body…now imagine yourself as a balloon and start expanding outside, keep going till your as big as the room, house, city, state, country, continent , our earth ..and then keep going become as big as our solar system, expand beyond to other solar systems, our galaxy, our Universe..and then keep going till you can! Were you able to do this? Yes..right? What does this mean? Probably, that indeed our body is inside us and our awareness?..well our awareness is way way beyond. So being present doesn’t mean contract your awareness to your body, imagine universe worth of information so close to your body!..You will get uncomfortable and even more distracted! It only means find your zone, which maybe miles away in all directions..expand outside till you feel light..that is YOUR zone! I’ve seen this time and again teaching and learning the drums and also in group drumming. Those who pick up fast usually tend to have a much more relaxed approach, they seem to be more at ease in their body. Why? Cause they maintain their zone! As soon as you contract, try to bring yourself down to your mind’s size, all that universe worth of information is now really close to your body, your sympathetic nervous system is now stimulated by all that information, you get sweaty, anxious, heart starts palpitating, and well learning the drums becomes now a task! So find your Zone..its way beyond your physical body..find it..it’ll help you be more present!
  2. No Judgement: One sure way to know that you’re not being present if if you have Judgemental thoughts about yourself. As soon as you become aware, see a stop sign in front of you and STOP the judgements. You will automatically be in the now. Cause guess what, Judgments is a sure short sign you’re mind is in the past whilst your body is here! Again, I’ve seen this time and again in group drumming, as soon as judgments begin in the group, the rhythm looses its synchronicity, and as soon as this is brought to the groups notice, the rhythm magically assumes a symphony.
  3. Are you having Fun? Another telltale sign is joy. If you’re having fun, you’re in the moment, if not your mind has taken you back somewhere else. So be it relationships, body, hobby whatever, if you’re having fun..you’re present!! Don’t force yourself to have fun, find something that is already fun for you! And children are the best teachers of this..time and again i’ve noticed in a group drumming session, children will only be a part of it till its fun, once it’s not they will MOVE ON! So if you’re not having fun maybe you could ask every morning, “What can I add today that would be fun for me? “…And see what shows up..have fun!!
  4. Does your Future worry you or does it fill you with possibilities? Being present does not mean you don’t have an awareness of the future. Guess what in fact if you are completely present you will ALWAYS have an awareness of the future. But if your future worries you, scares you, puts you on to stress mode rest assured YOU are not being present. However, if your future fills you up with a sense of enthusiasm, a sense of possibilities YOU ARE BEING PRESENT.

So I hope this makes practical sense to you and you’re not swearing at me in your head :P. It’s definitely a process and a choice..but it’s definitely possible and it makes EVERYTHING possible.

-Dr. Khushboo Shah

 

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