Being Here Now and Paying Attention

Snowy OwlDecades ago I read Aldous Huxley’s novel Island set in a utopian society on a fictional island in the South Pacific. One image from the book has kept returning to me over the years as if nagging for my attention. There were mynah birds that flew around the island shouting out “here and now, attention.”

I was once walking through downtown San Francisco with a friend, who had also read the book, joking about standing on a street corner yelling, “here, now, pay attention”, when a flock of pigeons launched themselves at us, one sailing so close I could feel the wind of her wings on my face. It was as if they were agreeing. Einstein once said that “coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

This incident seemed to be reenforcing the importance of this idea for me. I keep coming back to this image or it to me because being present in the moment and paying attention are key to creativity and living an inspired life.

Most of us have very active minds that keep us riding repetitive loops of past events or future worries that may never happen. This keeps us everywhere but present and locked into a life that is less than we truly desire.

Yet when we are really present in the moment we open up space for expanded ways of knowing, where inspired ideas or solutions can find us. You can’t think up a great ideas or creative solution. You receive them from a place beyond the mind. This requires that we spend time simply being where we let go of trying to figure something out or make it happen.

Being present allows us to enjoy our lives more. We can savor each sip of our morning coffee. It can help us to really listen to our partner or child. It can help us access our heart’s knowing the truest guide for the best path to follow.

The two best tools I know that can help us be present and receptive are our breath and our ability to consciously relax our bodies. When we breath deeply and relax we naturally become more present to the creative impulses that live in us all. In these time of increased chaos in the world, this can also help us find an inner peace that allows us to weather the changes with more grace.

Try this: Set an alarm on your phone to go off each hour. Check in with your breathing and how relaxed you are. Then breathe more deeply and relax more fully. Take this moment to see if any new idea or creative inspiration wants your attention. Play with it and be open to what comes to you.

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