BEING IN THE PRESENT
Without completing "the process", you get to repeat the same old life, over and over and over...
Read this and make a choice. (Understand not only why your are not "present" alot of the time, but also understand why others are not "present" to you - and that it is strictly a mechanical thing, not a personal insult.)
The first basic to understand is that if you are in the "before now" or in the "after now" (the future), you cannot do a good job at being in the here and now (the present). (Duh! No kidding!)
So, if someone says it is better to be in the here and now (at least most of the time), he means you will be aware, open, and not pre-occupied so that you can occupy your mind with what is going on. Basically, you can have more attention units noticing what is going on now, so you can fully experience all that is good and see what is really going on and be more capable of responding well and quickly.
BUT, HOW? (WITHOUT A HOW, THERE IS NO RESULT)
If someone says "you gotta be in the present" or "be in the present!", then the next plausible response might be "How? What do I do to get there?"
Exhortation --> Know how --> do what is necessary --> get result
Exhortation --> "Try" --> somehow happens --> result?
Be present (the leap w/ no content?)
THE BASIC PIECES
To achieve basic, but a bit deeper, understanding, let's fill in the missing pieces.
Evolved --> Develop methods to survive --> Survival (and pass genes on)
A method to survive is for the primitive brain to "note what happened", store it in the memory, use it for the next (very broadly) similar event in order to assure survival (or assure better assurance of survival).
In other words, the brain seeks to have a response that will help it to survive. Since this is a "must", it is of absolute priority.
If it has no satisfactory response on file (in memory), then it will seek one and not quit until it is found (or provided in some way). It will take shortcuts and not always be rational (as it is strictly mechanical), but as long as it can come up with "an explanation" (even one not properly tested) that ties in with a way to respond to a threat, it'll settle down - and go to the next priority of threats to avoid. (How and why it does that is discussed in: The Believing Brain piece.) In order to assure that the person doesn't quit (and die) before the solution, the body "incentivizes" with uncomfortable feelings (sensations) that we want to get rid of, so we keep going until we find the solution and are "safe" from whatever the threat was. (Understand what an emotion is: Emotions - just read the key initial points for now, and tickle your calendar to follow up and study this more. And you'll want to understand: The Story Of Our Happy And Our Unhappy Chemicals - A Tale Of Mechanisms For Survival.)
Basically the survival mechanism causes the primitive brain to be like a "dog with a bone", it'll keep chewing as long as it (the unsolved problem) is all gone.
And if it is busy chewing on the bone (the past or future problems and uncertainties), it will not be in the present. It'll actually be in whirring spinning emotional mindset.
So, what do I need to know to "not worry", be anxious, and to be calm, cool, collected, and very present?
Though it could be a continuation of this page (so go to it right away), I put it on a separation page so that it can stand as a separate reference.
Follow the road in that piece and you will achieve "being present" in life!
The mind, whenever there is a gap between having things well in control and done and not having things settled and "certainized", will try to close the gap. If there are too many gaps, the mind will not have enough units left to be "present", as it is doing its primary, evolved job related to assuring we survive. See The Gap Principle.
In fact, if someone is "not present to you", because of your beliefs that the person "should be" present to you or it means such and such a bad thing, it is not do to you but to the mechanics of reality. The other person may have habits, mechanical primitive brain patterns of judging (related to surviving well), and too many other things drawing attention units away. It is not an insult to you, but a mechanical "missing" on the part of the other.
This takes various forms such as worry or anxiety (kind of like vague worry) but all are based on fear as the motivating basic process. The body, when doing those forms, is basically doing the "fight/flight/freeze" response, to protect itself from the threat. (Of course, if we are smart enough to have really nailed down and defined what is not really a threat and even determined the size of it, we will have less material to chew on - less material to cause fear and worry and anxiety - see Threats And "Fear" - Differentiating As To What Is A Legitimate Threat and Proper And Proportionate Response.)
HOW DO I DEAL WITH THIS?
XIN THE MOMENT, CONDITIONING, RE-LEARNING, PROBLEMS SOLVED, INCLUDING TO DO'S, SUFFICIENT CERTAINTIZING
We can deal with this by 1. "training our minds to focus" (meditation, etc.) and/or 2) going around our mind to relax, breathe, rest (so the mind is calmer and less prone to exaggeration and not overly sensitive). [The mind, when one is tired or out of whack, will tend to go hyper, to be on more alert, since it sees that the body/mind is less able to respond when in that condition, and everything seems harder because everything is overworking, everything is "on" at the same time, beyond the realistic capacity of the body/mind - this can have a person virtually feel like they are in a state of panic! See Homeostasis to see what the body/mind does.] See and understand Physiological Psychology - Manipulating Psychology Through Physiological Means, Often The Easier And/Or Fastest Effective Means. Meditation actually causes the left prefrontal cortex happiness center to operate better and builds up the "screening center" of the brain so that it better able to discriminate as to what is and is not a real threat - so it cuts down the number of threats to deal with. (See Meditation.) But doing those two basic things (training the mind) and using body techniques still do not solve the basic problem of all those raw, unsolved problems that the mind is compelled to deal with (and to make you unhappy in the process, as it means well: to keep your rear in gear to solve those believed dangers!).
Both are helpful, but, I say, not sufficient. They only do part of the job - and they miss the main thing. (Buddhist meditation does do some "belief correction" to lessen fears, though.)
Something --> perceived as threat --> not solved --> mind must worry
Something --> perceived as threat --> solve the threat --> No worry!
physical or seen as not a threat (or learn/know
happens (due to having learned) how to handle
I must point out at this time, though it is a bit of a deviation, that we also use other techniques to lessen our worry and anxiety, but most either exacerbate the problem or cause other problems. We distract ourselves in "mindless" activities and/or we try "chemical" solutions, such as eating, energy drinks, sugar, mind altering substances (alcohol to ...), something intense to generate dopamine (loud music to ...). Positive distraction at the moment, to prevent the destructive process from continuing, is a good tool, but it is still not solving the problem!!!!
No problem is solved by treating only the symptoms or other things down the chain but only by curing the cause!!!!! (Major principle of life! See Cause And Effect about curing the cause.)
The point is that we cannot be in the present if our mind's attention is on something unsolved (from the past, or how to do something, or anticipated in the future) - and often the primitive brain is a bit unintelligent about what it includes - for instance it might include anything that you feel uncertain about. People who are "not always right, but never uncertain" are more powerful and happier than those who are uncertain.
Of course, the way to not be uncertain is to "make certain" that which one is unclear about.
We also must instill confidence in a person that he/she can handle what comes up in the future virtually no matter what - if we do that we have the mind saying "oh, ok, it'll be handled...no problem...me safe! (See The Skill Of Fearlessness - What It Is And Why It Is Doable.) So, from this point of view, we are eliminating possible worries or reducing them, so the mind has less to be stuck on solving. the point of this piece is not only to increase your understanding so that you are more capable but mainly to have you see that we need you to do the complete process and not stop short of the "cures". This is the only way to go, other than your simply going "belly up" in learned helplessness and living the Groundhog Day existence repeating the same old problems over and over and over again.
Yes, there is some effort, but it beats to hell having all that pain. If you do this, you will, absolutely live a far better life and the payoff will be far more than the effort. Other people have done it and there is a clear path of doable (non-miracle, but able to be done in simple steps) actions that lead to "curing the causes". Since other people have done it (with no miracles or super-intelligence required) that means you can do it.
So you can put that particular worry aside and have confidence for the future. The only catch is that you have to do the work if you want to reap the benefits (but you will, fairly early in the process, see benefits that are greater than the cost - but the super-payoff occurs as everything really comes together with an exponential payoff!)
(You'll actually be engaged in doing what Life Champions do in their lives to become champions at living the best life possible.)
What we will do:
"Bad" thoughts --> correct the basis --> form new --> bad thoughts
(erroneous) of each pillars of beliefs disintegrate
(even some not
directly dealt with)
Unsolved --> Learn what to do --> sufficient knowing --> no worries
"problems" and install learning
As in everything, we need to do The Build - building the foundation of knowledge, establish the way of doing something, install it, do it - to reap the benefits. So, decide the number of hours you can devote to doing the process based on how important this is in your life - do this now. But know that part of the process is for you to dump activities that are giving you value, so that you'll have more time to do what is of value. (See Life Value Productivity.) i put that first, instead of less effectively jumping right in and doing the process. (We'll be doing some learning of the bits and pieces of the belief correcting process as we are doing the freeing up of a huge number of hours.) Without the hours freed up, we would be so limited in what we could do that it may be a discouragingly long process - this way we can get pretty darned excited about the progress we can make!
(This is your choice:
Free up and do the time to get the huge payoff
Continue to be so busy that you can't do "cures" and will only live your problems over and over, experiencing the pain over and over and over - needlessly!)