One Apple A Day #751 – Everywhere but here

Being everywhere but here, now.

I believe that is one of the leading causes of wasted human potential.

We drive, but our mind is at our destination with the things we have to do.

Our body is in a meeting while our mind is on the things we left unfinished or the next things to do.

We listen to someone, but we are already thinking of the next things we want to say.

I lost count of all the time that I caught myself doing this. 

My body being here and now, while my mind is somewhere else.

Sometimes far away, other times just on the next sentence.

Everywhere but here, now.

Though, when everything is aligned. When my body, heart, mind and soul are all present in the “here and now”, something magical happens.

So far, one of the best ways I found to experience the power of presence is through a bow and an arrow.

I discovered primitive archery thanks to my dear friend Stefano and any time I try I am reminded of the incredible power of presence.

Last Saturday, I had another opportunity to verify this. Anytime I was present to myself in the moment, my arrow flew straight to the target. When my focus was elsewhere, on the target, on my position or on the others with me, my shot was sloppy.

Being present.

That’s it.

That’s my goal, here and now.

One Apple A Day #750 – the “have to” free zone

There are many “have to” in my typical day.
I’m quite sure it is the same for many.
I have to do this or that.
I have to be there.
I have to finish this.
I have to leave.
I have to write something.
I have to go.
Even now, just writing these few examples, I was holding my breath.
Most of the time, I’m not aware of all of these “have to”, but I just came back from two days free from them where my senses woke up.
Two days in the mountains, with my best friend, doing only what we wanted in the moment.
Sure, we had a plan, sort of.
But it was only useful to set the stage in advance.
Since the moment we left for our weekend out, we only followed our intuition.
It is so powerful.
Time almost disappears.
Now I need more of this in my average day.
Plan in advance to set the stage and then follow my intuition.

One Apple A Day #749 – the happiness network

This research discovered that “people’s happiness depends on the happiness of others with whom they are connected. This provides further justification for seeing happiness, like health, as a collective phenomenon.

The way I read it is that I have a responsibility to be healthy and happy. Not just to me, but towards all the people I care about.

A friend who lives within a mile (about 1.6 km) and who becomes happy increases the probability that a person is happy by 25%.

So, just by being happy, I increase the probability to be happy for all my friends who live within a mile from me. 

What a super-power.

The same research found out that if next-door neighbours are happy, my probability of finding happiness increase by 34%. So, to make them happy, seems an excellent strategy to find happiness. But again, what happens if, in search of happiness, I make them unhappy?

Life is a complex system in which we are all interconnected. If in my effort to be happy, I make others unhappy, then I may make things even worst for my friends. And if they’re not happy, I decrease my chances of being it.

What a mess. 

I need simplicity.

Like two simple rules.

Do something meaningful, so happiness will ensue.

Don’t do to others what you wouldn’t want done to yourself.

One Apple A Day #748 – loud water

Yesterday evening I was in a workshop, and my dear friend Luca guided us through a powerful practice. It was a simple recentering exercise in which he invites to expand all our senses, one by one, so we could notice more.
I was sitting at my desk, and the first sound I heard was the water flowing out from the well in the garden. Anchored on that sound, I gradually expanded my attention, and the world came alive: the birds singing, the TV in a near flat, a neighbour working in its garden, some dogs playing somewhere, the cars passing by in the distance.
The power of attention is just mindblowing.

This morning, with that rich experience still in my heart, I decided to move outside for my morning practices, near the well.
The familiar sound of the water spring welcoming me while I sat for my meditation practice.
But the experience hasn’t been what I expected. The sound of the water was so loud that it covered everything else. I couldn’t hear anything but the water flowing. I even struggled to listen to my own thoughts.
I realised that when we have something in our life so loud – such as a need, a pain, a thought, a desire or even love or joy – we can’t hear anything else. That single thing can fill up our senses and numb ourselves to everything else.
Next time I feel someone is not listening to me, I’ll ask if there is something in their life so loud that they can’t hear anything else.
Maybe I can help.

One Apple A Day #747 – my struggle with presence

Here and now.

That’s everything I have.

Everyone says it. It’s written everywhere.

Here is the only place where I can do something.

Now is the only time I have to act.

It’s self-evident if I think about it.

Then, how comes that it is such a struggle to be really and fully present, here and now?

Why my mind keeps wandering in the past and the future? In places where, whatever may be happening, I have no control or influence right now?

No matter how hard I try, the present moment is still elusive.

Wait a minute.

“Stop trying to hit me and hit me!” 

This is what Morpheus tells Neo during their first fight in the Matrix.

What if I’m trying too much?

Maybe I should just be, stop trying to be present in what I do, and just focus on what I do.

Because, in the end, no matter where my mind flies, I can only be and do here and now.