During my meditation tonight, I received confirmation of one of the great effects of meditation: learning how to stay present. In the meditation practice I use (mindfulness meditation), I benefit from the feeling of being present at that time. But regularly meditating in this fashion also serves as training to be present during other moments of my life. For example: seeing a sunset that is especially aesthetic, colorful, poetic. In that moment, my awareness shifts to soak in the phenomenon in all its glory, appreciating that aspect of nature that I feel blessed to witness, right then and there… and I am present. Nothing else but that moment matters at that point in time.
There have been other times I feel this true moment of presence: doing something creative, at a movie, enjoying someone’s company… but are these only moments that I perceive as positive? Do moments that feel good or that I perceive as good make it easier to feel present? Shouldn’t we also learn to be present in moments of stress?
This is another great way mindfulness meditation helps, for it can teach us nothing is permanent and to detach our emotions/judgement from that experience. “This too shall pass.” Nothing is static, whether we see it or not. Also, nothing is “bad” until we label it as such. If we practice presence in that situation, we can acknowledge the instance and/or our feelings if we choose, and leave it at that. This form of detachment can also allow us to make more sound decisions and react in a rational manner (internally or externally).