Jack Kornfield, the Buddhist teacher, described a spiritual truth he learned at a bingo game he attended with his elderly parents in Florida sometime ago. There on the wall, in huge letters, was a sign reminding the players, You Have to Be Present to Win. I love how we can find deep spiritual reminders about what is really important in the simplest of ways. There are reminders and clues all around us and when we are present we have a better chance of recognizing them when the clues appear.
Several clients that I’m working with right now are in various stages of change. Three are building the career of their dreams “on the side” while they work their day job to pay the bills. Two are looking at what they love to do and evaluating the risk of continuing or taking a more stable route while they build their families. In all these cases, when the person is “present” for their day and willing to step forward for what is showing up in their lives, they seem to be able to find the tools, support, experience they need to take the next steps forward to creating heir goals and dreams.
A coaching associate and I are in the process of coaching the top sales execs for a homebuilder here in the local area. What I’m noticing working with each person is how much more successful they are when they are willing to be “present” and focused. We are taking them through the Strength Assessment which asks 260 questions to discover their unique personality traits so that we can then focus on their strengths to lead them to success. I’m pretty sure that unless they are present for recognizing what their strengths are that it would be futile to figure out an action plan for realizing their goals.
Oh yeah, sure, my brain can do a tailspin and begin questioning this whole, “Must Be Present to Win” theory against odds such as being a person who lives in Lebanon or Iran right about now–how present would I want to be?! I suspect that if you aren’t present, the odds of loosing your life or a limb are far greater.
Wherever you are right now, take a moment to breathe in and let the silence come into your heart until you know you are not alone. Get to a place of quiet. I remember when I was a child I used to play this game with myself where I would get so quiet and still that I must have been putting myself into some kind of a trance because I would have to silently remind myself where I was and what I was seeing. I learned to recognize when I was “going away” and how to bring myself back into the present. I believe as humans, especially humans that may have undergone any kind of trauma or stress–we have amazing ways of taking care of ourselves to avoid conflict and pain. Some of these ways can be to learn how to “escape” the present. We then carry this forward into our adult lives without being conscious of it and move about our lives on a daily basis as if in a trance. We probably miss out on some pretty special opportunities for recognizing clues on how to win when we’re not “in the present”.
Practice bringing yourself back into the present. Look around wherever you are right now and tell yourself five things that you see around you (lamp, clock, Elvis frog on my desk, etc.!) and breathe.
There is no time, Like the Present…..