“You may not yet be able to bring your unconscious mind activity into awareness as thoughts, but it will always be reflected in the body as an emotion, and of this you can become aware.”-Eckhart Tolle (Power Of Now)
It’s incredible what one can achieve when staying present. I had read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle about 3 years ago. I then began to practice some of the exercises mentioned in the reading and never realized how ahead of my physical state my mind and emotions would take me. I found that I wasn’t enjoying the things that were happening to me in the present because my mind would take me right into the future. I found it to be challenging when trying to control my thoughts which included my unconscious mind activity. Thought and your unconscious provokes these emotions that have this implausible affect on your actions, your mood, your entire state of being. And vice versa. Sometimes your emotions cause your mind to go in a direction that can also change your focus, thoughts and entire state of being. So instead of trying to control my thoughts and emotions I would practice being more aware of WHAT I was thinking and WHAT I was feeling. Then I would step back and make sure my mind was not drifting into the future. What I found was that I was enjoying living a lot more. I was handling problems as they arose and instead of stressing and causing the problem to prolong, I was productive in finding a solution to the problem. I was also not reacting off emotion since I was taking that step back to be more aware of what I was feeling and why i was feeling it. The funny thing is that sometimes what I thought was a problem ended up being a blessing in disguise. But because I stayed present I was able to recognize the blessing.
Like thoughts, emotions can cause people to react in different ways. Sometimes emotions can cause one to react destructively to themselves. ie Drinking, eating, using controlled substances, staying in unhealthy relationships. I have suffered from this personally in my life and have found that the practice of staying present and being self aware has helped me to overcome many dependencies. I became less dependent on things and people and more dependent on myself.
As a boxer I put major demands and stress on my body and mind. This intense physical drain causes me to experience emotions which in turn affect and may distort my thinking. I remember fighting in the beginning of my career and after the fight was over I couldn’t remember specific things that happened in the fight. I felt like I must have been working off muscle memory and limited brain power since my body felt the effects of the work but my mind couldn’t remember what I did.
I then began to put the practice of staying present into my boxing. I would meditate and read before a fight and as I walked to the ring I would feel every step I took. I wasn’t letting my mind think about how my opponent’s punches would feel or how I would execute what I have been working on, all this work had to be done in the gym while training for the fight. I would tell myself stay present and know I prepared the best I could for this fight. I would practice not letting my emotions control my thinking, in turn I would control my thinking by being aware of why and what I was thinking. When the fight would begin I continued the practice during the fight. Between rounds I would think about what just happened and be aware of my emotions and thinking. Let me tell you this is not easy. But with honest practice one always gets better.
After this practice of self awareness and staying present in and outside the ring, I found that I was able to understand and learn from my mistakes. I had to be honest with myself and put my ego to the side in order to grow. This gave me the strength to recognize the tools God has given to help me to become not just a better person but a better student of life and the sport.
The best gift this practice has given me was to learn to love and accept myself completely. I continue to practice this daily and am learning and growing everyday. I am truly appreciating and understanding life and how to really LIVE.
So, if you are looking for self growth in the New Year I pray this practice will help you as it did me.
God Bless & Happy New Year!