The Pretentious Pretext of Practicing Presence

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrases “live in the moment,” or “just live in the now.” Easier said than done. The irony remains, the more you think about living in the moment, the less you can actually live in the moment. It’s the classic ceaseless cycle of trying not to think about something, only to find yourself unable to think about anything else.

So, what does ‘being present’ really mean? Being present means different things to different people. You can be present when you feel connected to the people you’re with; you can be present when you feel connected to your own thoughts, or even your environment. At the end of the day, being present is a feeling. You are either present or you’re not. It’s as simple, yet elusive, as that.

Thinking back on moments in your life when you really felt in the moment, what did that look like for you? How did it feel? For me, it reminds me of the feelings I would have as a kid after leaving the movie theater. I would be so wrapped up in the movie and the characters that I’d forget about the outside world completely. Now when I’m living in the moment, I still forget about the outside world completely, not artificially, but organically. I forget about my to-do list, my responsibilities, and even the innate urge to eat.

But we have yet to address the popular phenomenon of practicing presence.

Although people have been practicing mindfulness and meditation for thousands of years, it’s seen a recent eruption thanks to the convenience of mobile applications and smart phones. I say the “pretentious” pretext of presence here because many people profess you can choose to live in the moment. As idyllic as that may be, we’d all choose that route if it were that simple. Odds are, if someone tells you to just live in the moment, they’re not living in the moment themselves.

Instead of pressuring others to be present, let’s try empowering them instead. Everyone experiences mindfulness differently; everyone has different motivations to be present.

For me, being present means feeling connected to myself and my own thoughts, my surroundings (especially nature), and the people I’m with. It means choosing to focus on making the most out of the present rather than falling down the rabbit hole of things to do, people to see, and places to go.

Living in the moment means accepting things as they are and choosing to see the light in every situation. Everything we’re experiencing now will soon be a memory, and memories aren’t nearly as fun to reminisce on as they are to be 100% engulfed in as the moments happens. Life is too long not to enjoy it.

Happy World Meditation Day! Namaste my friends 🙂

For my personal blog, follow: https://poemsandprose.travel.blog/

For a similar article I wrote on How To Love The Repetition of Life, read: https://pointlessoverthinking.com/2020/01/10/how-to-love-the-repetition-of-life/

34 thoughts on “The Pretentious Pretext of Practicing Presence

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  1. “Everyone experiences mindfulness differently. ” This is a profound, very accurate statement. Knowing this makes it much easier to accept others just as they are rather than how we may believe they “should” be. Thanks for your insight.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I wholeheartedly agree with you and am a huge advocate for acceptance. The more people who share that belief the better 🙂 Thanks for reading! -Ellen

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes that’s how our brain works! The more we try not to think about something, the more we can only think about that thing. Something different must be done. Thanks for reading 🙂 <3E

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s this article I’ve favourited that expands on the idea that you shouldn’t actually be focusing on the moment in order to be in the moment that you might find interesting.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/mindfulness-would-be-good-for-you-if-it-werent-all-just-hype/2017/08/24/b97d0220-76e2-11e7-9eac-d56bd5568db8_story.html

    ‘People aren’t necessarily learning bad breathing techniques. But in many cases they are counting on those breathing techniques to deliver almost magical benefits.’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Candy, yes great point! What really is a moment…. is it defined by time or by a state of being? I’d argue for the later one…. Thanks for sharing and thanks for reading! <3E

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  3. Being ‘in the present’ is not that hard for me as my day to day is basically the same day after day in my living situation. But…when I start living in the past is where I have the biggest problem. I really liked your post. It made a lot of sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Sheryl, I have the same struggle too sometimes. At times, I feel like I’m either living too much in the past or too much in the future. But trying to recenter and refocus always helps me become grounded again and focus on what’s in front of me. Thanks for sharing and wish you the best! <3E

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I find that “perfect moments”, when all the senses converge and make time seemingly stand still, tend to draw you into that ineffable experience of really being present. I can count a handful of them in my 55years, but they stick with you and remind you of their “taste”.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My Mother’s Day flowers!! Thanks again, and thanks for sharing the pic with your readers🧡🌻🧡🌻.
    I’ve been thinking about this one…. for me I feel that I recognize when I’ve Been Present as a reflection. And realizing that I have no idea what day it is or what time it is. For example, out on the trails with Angeline. Chatting. And enjoying the outdoors. Then all of a sudden three hours have gone by. And I realize I was really Present with her.
    I guess I can apply that example and do more if that in non-outdoor or work related activities. There’s my challenge to myself.
    P.S. …. stream of consciousness writing… no judging !!! 🧡🦄🧡🦄
    For example,

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post! Mindfulness is something that I have started focusing on in the last year and it has really made a dramatic impact on my life. I appreciate you saying ‘memories aren’t nearly as fun to reminisce on as they are to be 100% engulfed in as the moments happens. Life is too long not to enjoy it.” I spent 16 years of my life not living in and enjoying the moment and I tell you, it sucks not remembering the joy in what should have been some of the best years of my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Andy, I read this right after you posted it which led me to check out your blog and forgot to reply here. But I didn’t want to miss out on thanking you for sharing your vulnerability here. I think a lot of people, including myself, can relate to the regret of not living in the moment as much as we would’ve liked. But the reality is that we can’t change the past, we can only learn from it and positively impact our future. That being said, it’s much easier said than done. The important part is increasing awareness and getting better day by day. And this relates to so many aspects in life, not just presence. Thanks again for sharing and wishing you the best. <3Ellen

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  7. Well, at the penultimate ending where you say, “if it was that simple, we’d all live in the present!” Or something like that. My comment was going to be, “the universe has not brought you down to understand, IT IS IN CONTROL! You haven’t mastered your ego. The Eckhart Tolle book “A New Earth” can help with the ego part.

    Then your ending capped the answer to your beginning question of what is presence. You mention everyone reaches presence different ways.

    I reached presence after considering murder suicide after being fired from my 4th career (as in I have a B.S. in the field) job. I was telling myself, “who am I without this job title that I have worked for and worked harder to maintain? I’M GONNA KILL THESE BASTARDS AND LEAVE A NOTE TO LET THEM KNOW THEY JUST CAN’T TAKE MY CAREER AWAY!” For that career has gotten me some of the greatest pussy from some of the sexiest women, THAT I WOULD HAVE NEVER GOTTEN CLOSE TO IF NOT FOR MY CAREER/JOB TITLE! What am I? Who am I without my job title.”

    OK, so once I came down from “I’M GONNA KILL THESE BASTARDS AND MYSELF, AND THE DOG! 🤣” I then came to the conclusion, I AM NOT MY JOB TITLE! I’m going to stop asking persons what their job is or what do they do in life, WE AS HUMANS ARE NOT THAT! Instead, I’d ask “where are you from”, “did you graduate college”, “did you grow up with siblings, 1st, 2nd, or 3rd child”, “were/are your parents married and together”, “do you have a creative talent:paint,sing,rap, play guitar”? There is a lot more of a person’s life and what type person they are IN THOSE QUESTIONS than a job title could ever tell you. And I decided “I WILL STOP BEING A JOB TITLE! I WILL NOT ALLOW ANYONE ELSE TO TURN ME INTO A JOB TITLE!”

    Then, the last one is the kicker. Once you realize YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO CONTROL OVER THE NEXT MOMENT & UNIVERSE “ONLY HOW YOU REACT TO IT!” YOU CAN LIVE IN THE PRESENT WITH LOVE RESPECT AND HUMBLENESS!

    I came to this epiphany when I realized every single thing I ever wanted, prepared for, planned for: getting that most beautiful girl in fourth Grad or college, becoming a rapper, becoming a producer, becoming a high paid (top education/license) in my field of work, HITTING THE LOTTERY; I NEVER ACHIEVED ANY OF IT, all I’ve achieved is THIS MOMENT (took me some pain and adversity and anger AND TIME TO GET HERE!”

    Only the UNIVERSE (infinite; can not control what it returns after you put a wish, prayer, dream or concrete hard work into it) and TIME (time truly heals all wounds) CONTROL ALL; then, unequivocally, you can EASILY LIVE IN THE PRESENT; without anger, anxiety, fear, regret, BOREDOM! And ENJOY ALL THAT’S IN FRONT OF YOU “IN THE MOMENT!”

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