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The library of essays of Proakatemia

Being at a present moment



Kirjoittanut: Inna Rozanovska - tiimistä Ei tiimiä.

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How many times should we come in contact, hear or read about the idea before we are able to fully understand and implement it in our everyday life? Studying in Proakatemia made it obvious that it takes much more time to remember, comprehend and start using acquired knowledge in practice. Those thoughts sent me back to my early university days when I first heard about the idea of “being at the present moment” and it took me more than a decade to realize all the benefits of implementing that concept in my life. Today I would like to share my reflection and give a practical training method on how to be “here and now”. This will help you to stay focused, increase your energy level and as a result it will improve your capacity to learn, enjoy the process and reduce the risks of burning out.

The first person who introduced me the idea of being “at the present moment” was my university Ph.D. professor David D’Andre, who specializes in music, history, and philosophy. During our lectures he talked about the state of maximum happiness which a person can reach by focusing on the present, on things that are happening right now. A person in this state is not thinking about past or future but is fully concentrated on what he is doing at the exact moment. In this way person can live his life with joy because he is aware of what is happening around him and with him, putting his energy to things that has a maximum impact on his life.

One might argue that thinking about past or future has no harm, and many recommend, as part of learning process, to reflect on the past experience and make strategies and goals about future life. This is true and it is all done to improve the quality of our present life. Not to confuse you, I want to make it clear that here I am talking about unhealthy thought pattern, where person is living in past or future ignoring and not noticing his present life. Past is something that already happened, and we cannot change it or get it back even if we try very hard, thus thinking about past creates all kinds of feelings and drills energy from us. Future is usually unknown and unpredictable, thus for some people it looks scary and frightening, for others, future is a fairy tale, attractive and appealing and people post pone their life and live in their dreams.  As a result, we are focusing too much on things that are not important and ignoring life we are living in right now.

This was a great, exiting discovery and I remember myself sharing that with all my friends and relatives. I was truly excited about it, because it looked like a simple but convincing answer to a difficult question: “How to be happy?”. Much to my regret, this simple, at first glance, philosophical idea was extremely hard to put into practice. One positive outcome of trying to practice this concept was me noticing how much time I was thinking about past or future, what I did and what I didn’t. I played dialogues in my head, rethinking and replaying difficult or unpleasant situations. I realized that I was everywhere, but not here and now. After some time trying to reach a happiness state I gave up, even though the idea inspired me a lot.  I couldn’t understand practically how I can make it work, what are the techniques that will allow me to be in this state longer than just few minutes.

Years later, I came across the same concept of being present when I started to practice yoga. I won’t go into details about yoga itself, but I want to share my observations and insights to show how we encountered with the same ideas through different practices. You probably know that one of the most important asanas, positions in yoga, is savasana. It is a resting and restoration pose, which is done at the end of the practice. According to B.K.S. Iyengar, an Indian yoga teacher, and the author of Light on Yoga: Yoga Dipika savasana is a pose where body becomes completely motionless, but mind, at the same time, remains calm and conscious. No thoughts, no conversations in the head, no pictures, nothing, just being there at the present moment. When a person reaches that state his body and mind recharges. This is a great practice to learn how to be here and now.  It is simple, but at the same time extremely hard to do and what happened with me is when I relaxed my body, I automatically fell asleep. It is normal for many beginners, because keeping your mind in the present moment is extremely hard. Despite the fact that I was practicing savasana I still didn’t learn how to be at the present moment.

You are probably wondering why do you need all that information and how it can help you in improving your learning ability? It might be not very obvious, but I have watched and observed the behavior of many teammates during our pajas. What I have noticed that many cannot hold and concentrate their attention for a long time, and they have an urge to move around, have a look at the phone, shake legs, play with hair, or water bottle. All these tells that they are having hard time being here and now for an extensive period of time. So, what should we do? How to learn and train yourself to be at the present moment?

The answer to this question came to me quite unexpectedly when I started to work in a language training center. Founders of that school were Scientologists, and they were implementing different methods in their workplace to increase the performance of their employees. I want to mention right away that I am not a big fun of Scientology, and I don’t agree with many concepts and ideas of their religion. I just want to share a practical method that they used to train their employees to be at the present moment, because this one actually worked for me. As a team member I would like all of us take the most of our paja sessions and being at the present moment can increase learning ability and have a positive effect on all of us.

As I mentioned earlier the purpose of this essay is to give you a practical exercise that can help you to train yourself and learn how to be at the present moment. This exercise “be there” is a part of communication course offered by Scientology organization. I have completed it over ten years ago as part of my work training program and even thou I was quite skeptical at the beginning it actually helped me a lot.

Unlike with meditation or savasana where you are practicing alone, this exercise is done in pairs, which helps to monitor and control times when a person (trainee) loses his concentration and stops being at the present moment and trainer, the one who is monitoring the exercise, is able to return his awareness quickly and start over again.  Participation of the second person creates an additional value and helps to reach a desirable goal much faster than in any other practice.

Below I will describe the exercise as I remember it.

Two people are sitting in front of each other, one is trainer another is trainee. Trainer initiates the exercise and tells when to start and stop and trainee is doing the exercise following the instructions. Thus, the session starts with word START and two people do nothing but look at each other, they are fully aware of what is happening, but all thoughts and motion are turned off. The moment when a trainee moves or looses his attention a trainer stops the exercise with the word STOP retain trainee’s awareness and start the exercise again. This continues for multiple rounds and eventually time when a trainee can be at the present moment increases. Later they switch their roles, and the trainer becomes trainee.

Nowadays, there are so many different methods, techniques and recommendations on how to be at the present moment and no matter what you choose just go for it and don’t give up. When you learn how to be here and now you will be amazed with the results. It will increase your well-being, give you more energy and increase your study and work capacity.

 

References:

Church of Scientology International. 2023. Communication course. Scientology online courses website. Read 31/03/2023 To access the course you have to register.

https://www.scientologycourses.org/tools-for-life/communication/progress.html

Iyengar, B.K.S. 2017. Light on Yoga: Yoga Dipika. Alpina Non-Fiction. Moscow. Translated from English, 6th edition.

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