The Best Thing That Happened Today

Many of my clients ask questions about how be more aware of themselves. The major breakthrough in personal awareness happens just when you become aware of your experience. Last night I returned from 5 days group retreat with my mentor Dr. Joseph Riggio in Princeton, New Jersey. Once in a while, at intense trainings like this one, I get an infusion of his wisdom, at the level that propels me to be suddenly and shockingly (to myself) more deeply aware of my own experience of myself. It’s like I suddenly wake up. Joseph is an eccentric personality, and a wise, skilled and extremely professionally advanced genius. Spending time in his presence is always a treat and a combined experience of a shock of learning new information and pleasure of being in a great company of like-minded people. These past few days were especially potent for me. After 10 years of work, I begin to recognize that I am barely scratching the surface….

Joseph and the three men in the group were having after lunch cigars on his balcony, in the surroundings of the luxurious air  in the old town of  Princeton, the home for many Nobel laureats. The female part of our group were enjoying the warm sunny weather and the conversation. We were discussing passion, sensory experiences, relations of emotions to actual experiences and motivational drive, when I hear

Are you having the experience you are having?

Let me backtrack. I am sure it happened many times in your life as well, as in mine, when someone says something to you and you go into a contemplation about what has been said. You may even begin to think back in time, to the time when a similar statement was made and your response to it back then.

Perhaps your thoughts lead you to an ending in the situation similar, in the past, and that you didn’t like. Now you witness the appearance of emotion, perhaps anger, or self-imposed guilt or shame, or regret, and you are now reliving that emotion. Without any hint to what actually goes on, you leap to the emotion from the past and begin to immerse yourself into it. You may even begin to feel that this emotion now, and imagine an undesirable situation in the near future, that would have some implications in your life. Next, you think up a comment in regard to THAT EMOTION from the past, or the future, that you are now reliving, not in regard to what is actually going on! The situation escalates, and you end up in exactly the same place you were trying to avoid in the first place. Again, feelings of anger, shame, guilt, regret, inadequacy, self-pity and perhaps others, like disgust, or contempt.

But stop. Let’s do it differently this time.

How do you know you are actually having that or this experience to begin with?

Well, an easy way would be to turn your attention inward to attend to your body sensations, by experiencing the sensations your know what your experience is right now. Once you direct your attention to assess what  the experience you are having is in the present and not in your head about the past or the future, you are on track to being present in the present.

You are sitting in your chair reading these words and trying to have an idea about what I am saying, emotions in regard to the words…. No, no, no! Stop.  Stop trying to make things up. Take a breath. Attend to your breathing, feel your abdomen, your feet, your fingertips. Feel the sensations of your clothing on your body, and the chair touching your buttocks. How is that sensation? Soft? Comfortable? Are your shoulders up at your ears? Drop them.  Let your arms loosely at your sides. Now… Back to what I as saying: Reliving the emotion from the past… Where is the past? It’s gone. Nothing you can do about it. That’s just that. And now the best part: The information about the past and its relevancy to the present is now just data, no emotion, no self-imposed imaginary consequences. Having a grip on the data as is, it is easier to see it for what it represents, and it is easier to make a decision in regard to what to do, and in particular what to feel about it. No more anger, self-imposed guilt, no mo re emotional outbursts, no more imaginary circumstances!

WOW! It’s that easy!

So the deal is to actually have the experience you are having at present in real life, and not the one you are NOT having, because it is only playing in your head like an old tape. Stop the tape and you will begin to experience the tremendous input of sensations of life, maybe even helping you improve your memory, since you will be present at what is actually being said rather than making up stuff according to what’s happening in your head, or what happened before. And you begin to have an experience of being fully alive and present in your life with all its wonder.

Does it make sense? Let me know, with your comments below. I’d love to hear what you have in mind.

There I was sitting in a chair on a balcony in Princeton, NJ, aware of the coolness of the air in my nose, as I inhale, and the warmth of my body underneath my jacket, and the sensation of relaxation in my chest. Nowhere to run, nothing else to do, this is where I want to be right now. As I am writing this I am revivifying this same sensation in my body again, deepening the sensation and the awareness, over and over again.

Now the trick is to be able to sustain this ability to have this experience every minute. And of course, having been preconditioned to having other experiences (in your head first), we often forget that to be present in the moment is a much more satisfying and pleasurable experience, and the one we are looking to have.

Deeply satisfying and pleasurable. Now, the ability to sustain this experience comes with practice. And not any practice. Not every practice makes perfect. Like famous footballer, Vince Lombardi used to say, “Perfect practice makes perfect.” So practice perfectly.

I suggest an exercise of daily practice to experience yourself. Find the best thing in your day that happened to you and revivify it in your body, over and over for ten minutes. Do this for 30 days. As a result of this exercise you will be able to deepen the experience of your life. I promise. I will help you. I will do the exercise with you.

Now go to DAY 1 for the exercise.

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