Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle believes in the practice of staying present.
The author of A New Earth and The Power of Now acknowledges the challenge of this effort in the fast-paced culture of today, but also offers two shockingly simple exercises that anyone can do to truly live in the now — anywhere, at any time.
During the television debut of “Oprah and Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth,” a 10-part series presented by “Super Soul Sunday,” Tolle explains how people can condition themselves to slow down and appreciate the present. It all begins with one question.
“Ask yourself, ‘Am I still breathing?'” Tolle says in the above video. “You suddenly feel the air flowing into your body and out of your body… At that moment, you’ve entered the state of presence. Even if it’s only five seconds.”
Another exercise Tolle suggests involves using all your senses when going through habitual, everyday motions, such as washing your hands.
“Do it consciously,” Tolle instructs. “For example, [when] you wash your hands, feel the water. Smell the soap. Becoming acutely conscious of sense perception means looking, hearing, touching. It brings you into the present moment.”
These exercises may take a little effort at first, but Tolle says that they do end up becoming second nature. “The more you bring those moments of presence into your life, the more your old conditioning becomes eroded, gradually,” he says.
“I got it now,” Oprah says. “Just learning to do the simple things begins to retrain your mind.”