Presence isn’t something that will make your life amazing just by snapping your fingers.
In fact, if you are living like most people do and you become present for just a moment you most likely won’t notice any difference.
You may even become slightly uncomfortable, because you aren’t accustomed to it.
The benefits of presence can only be realized when you understand how it works and practice it long enough.
The basic idea is simple: your thoughts are the source of your suffering.
Presence is what you experience outside your thoughts and your mind.
It’s about experiencing life in its purest form and through that you can feel that subtle sense of joy and peacefulness.
Let me clarify something though: The goal is not to always refuse to think, but to break the identification and ultimately stepping beyond thoughts when they are not needed.
Mind is an amazing tool, which you can use to your advantage, but you can’t put it to “pause”. That’s what the present moment is for.
Anyways, here are the reasons why you should at least consider adapting some presence in your daily life:
1. You experience life itself
The difference between being present and not being present is whether you are inside your head or not.
Inside your head resides everything that is not real.
When you are outside of your head, you are in the immediate reality that’s present all the time.
You can try this with something really simple: next time you eat, focus intensely on really tasting the food that you eat – just the taste, no extra commentary.
You will notice that the taste isn’t something that’s just “good”, but the taste intensifies along with your focus and you “get more out of it”.
The whole thing transformed from something that you “just do” to something that you just experienced.
2. You focus less on negativity
This is the main reason why I myself got so excited about it a few years ago.
All the negativity arises in your thoughts.
Sure, you get influence from the outside, but you personally channel it in your own mind.
Thoughts aren’t negative by default, but it’s highly probable that they are due to our tendency to focus more on the negative things. (negative bias)
You can verify this by looking at how many news corporations are still making money and how their content is structured to exploit that bias.
Being present is the same as coming out of your thoughts and imagination.
Slowly, as you accustom yourself to be less in your own mind, you come to realize a “different kind of life” outside your head – something that’s more peaceful and calm.
3. You open up yourself to a whole new spectrum of experiences
Imagine that you are in a classroom, daydreaming. You are missing everything that’s being said and taught.
You are missing things in the same way in your daily life, because your mind takes up the bulk of your attention.
The longer you stay present, the more you start to realize exactly what you are surrounded by.
Things that have always been there, but what you have never really noticed.
Maybe your curiousity peaks, maybe you find something new, I don’t know.
Everyone experiences it differently.
4. Feeling of peacefulness
In my experience there are two occurrences when I experience high degree of peacefulness:
The first is when one of those bugging concerns of mine has been solved and the second one is when I’m completely present and I just feel the calmness of the moment.
For now, I’m sticking with the second one when it comes to peace of mind.
5. You’ll increase your chances of getting rid of addictions
When you are not present, you are more likely to give in to the whims of your mind.
It’s a matter of a conscious decision. A decision that you have to make even if your mind is screaming otherwise, trying to rationalize the addiction.
Once again, presence isn’t a sure-fire pill to this either, but it increases your chances considerably because it introduces you to a “choice”.
A choice to just be with your thoughts instead of acting them out.
6. It increases your control of your life
You aren’t in control when outer circumstances dominate your consciousness and affects the way you think, act and feel.
By becoming more present and pull the focus away from such things, you bring power back to yourself.
7. You become disillusioned
“An illusion is a distortion of the senses”, says wikipedia.
In other words, you think or see something that really isn’t there.
Everything that we think about, isn’t real.
This includes our beliefs, images and even what we consider as an “identity”.
You have the ability to manifest some of these thoughts by creating them or saying them out loud, but other than that, they simply aren’t there.
The problem isn’t having those thoughts, but believing in them.
By being present you realize that what is going on inside your head isn’t any kind of representation of the truth.
8. Your social life improves
I have never had a good social interaction while being inside my head.
Presence allows you to bring content into conversation from where it’s are supposed to come: Not from your head, but from expressing yourself in the moment.
It will come off as natural, because you are being proactive/reacting in the moment and not playing some script from your head.
9. More insights + creativity
Whenever I don’t have clarity in my thinking (my head is “fuzzy”), all kinds of creativity is suppressed so to say.
When you have “space” in your head and you are focused on the reality, you free up your mind to come up with insights and creative stuff.
10. Increased focus
Everyone has experienced the “flow state”. It’s the state of heightened alertness and ability.
At some point you may notice that you are “one with” what you are doing. This state breaks down once you start to think about what you are doing.
Presence isn’t the same as being in flow, but it a) increases your chances to get in flow state b) it’s somewhat similar to it.
When you are being present, the immersion isn’t as deep as in flow state.
You could say that it’s like a “half-flow” state, where you still fall in thoughts etc, but you get some of the benefits of flow, such as increased focus, alertness, ability and feeling of calmness.
11. You appreciate your surroundings more
Breath-taking sceneries are something that bring people to present. There’s something in them – something unexplainable that pulls a person out of their head.
This kind of experience can also be had in places that are not at all breath-taking, but it requires a different kind of approach.
Let’s just say that taking a stroll in the nature while being present can be a lot better experience than you can ever imagine.
12. You become less dependant of the future
I understand perfectly how alluring it is to think that there’s something in the future that makes us want to think of it as better as the present moment.
I’m not dismissing the idea of ditching the future altogether, but simply lessen the content of the hope for “future bliss” in your consciousness.
In other words, keep the future in the peripheral instead of as the primary focus of your life.
To put this in real life context, you can absolutely thrive towards some future ideals and do things that will make your life better tomorrow.
BUT you should never expect for it to make you feel “content” with yourself.
You can only be satisfied now – not in some conditional image (“if this would happen, I’d be happy”) in your mind.
No conclusion, get outside your head and enjoy life as it was meant to be enjoyed.
Ps. Check out this guide to meditation.