What does it mean to be in the present moment?

One of the questions that comes up most often in meditation class here at Haelan Therapy, when healing or when my colleagues are coaching our clients, is around being present and still. To be exact, I am often asked “what does it mean to truly be in the present moment?”.

In this blog, I will explain what this is and how it can be achieved at any moment, no matter where you are and what you are doing at any time.

What does being in the present moment mean?

To put it simply, it means to be still and present just now. It means that you are not in the past, you are not in the future and you are not attached to any possession or person. It means being with yourself at this moment in time, without any thoughts.  To explain this further, it really means to experience the space and peace between two thoughts.

When we experience this, it is the most beautiful feeling.  Scroll down to read on...

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How do I achieve this?

I prefer to say discover, than achieve. To achieve, suggests that you have reached an endpoint.  Life should never be about reaching an endpoint or goal.  It is always a journey.  In mindfulness, it is important not to seek an outcome or endpoint and to always focus on the now.

So instead, I like to say “how can I discover true presence?”, and one of the easiest ways to discover this, is through a meditation. Here's how to do it…

Sit down on the floor or on a chair, whatever is most comfortable for you.  Straighten the spine, relax the face, relax the shoulders and breathe naturally in and out through your nose.  Once you are comfortable, close your eyes and focus on the feeling of your breath. Notice how each breath feels completely different.  As soon as you close your eyes, it is likely that you will start to find that thoughts come. Every time a thought comes, be aware of it, acknowledge it, and pass it. On the next in breath and out breath, just notice how at this one breath, you are not thinking about anything. You are just feeling this breath.  You may find that another thought comes on the next breath. But that's okay, because once you become aware of that next thought, acknowledge it, and pass it on, you will be present again.

Over time, you will find that you are able to be present in this moment for longer periods of time.  But at the beginning, to have just a few seconds of stillness, when you are not thinking and you are not seeking the future or holding on to past thoughts, this is freedom. This is you, in this moment, in true presence.

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Do I have to meditate to be present?

Not at all.  Presence is available to all of us at any time, should we allow ourselves to go there. For example, if you are taking the train to work and you are agitated by the temperature of the carriage and there are many people, you could practice a present moment technique, just by becoming aware of your breath and taking a few breaths just like the meditation above.

Perhaps you find yourself in a meeting where you are feeling uncomfortable or under pressure. You could follow the same practice in the meditation that I have explained here, but the only difference is that you have your eyes open. No one will know that you are doing it, and you will immediately feel the benefit.


Try the present moment meditation that I have shared with you here in this blog. I like to encourage people to find their own ways to practice, so use this as a starting point and embed it into your life however you feel is best for you.

And remember, you are only as far one breath from being truly present and still.

Are you interested in meditation or wishing to learn more?  My next Introduction to Meditation Course will be starting on Sunday 15th April.  For more information or to book your space, click HERE.

Philip x