Concentration Integral Meditation Meditation techniques Mindfulness Presence and being present Uncategorized

Being mindful of the non-present moment

Dear Integral Meditators,

What if, instead of being mindful of the present moment, you decided instead to be mindful of the non-present moment? The article below explores this theme….

In the spirit of studying the non-present,


Being mindful of the non-present moment

Trying to stop all the different ways in which your mind moves out and away from the present moment can be tricky, effortful and sometimes discouraging for a lot of people. One technique we can try if our mind is active and intractable is simply to study and observe all the different ways in which our mind is not in the present moment. To put it another way we can meditate on the non-present moment!
For example, if I look at my mind in the moment I can see:

  • There are flashbacks from a movie trailer I saw recently
  • There is a discomfort with the absence of distraction, part of me wants to be distracted
  • There is the knowledge that with the click of a button I could be away from this word document and watching the highlights of the squash ‘tournament of champions’ final last night in New York last night
  • There is the part of my mind planning the way in which I am going to spend my time today
  • …and wondering about what sort of excitement might be in my more distant future
  • My mind is assessing how I can avoid the worst of a head cold bug that seems to have latched onto me
  • The physical discomfort I have makes me want to think of things in the non-present moment to take myself away from the unpleasant feeling…

And so I go on like this, studying closely all of the things that are taking my mind away from the present moment.
Some interesting side effects of this way of being mindful can be:

  • By studying the non-present moment more closely our mind quietens down substantially and becomes more present, without effort on our part
  • We have a strong sense of the non-present activity being in the present moment; it is all happening now. By observing the movement of our mind we become aware that all this non-presence is going on in the broader sphere of the present moment. Consequently, without stilling our mind we find ourselves to have contacted the present moment in a strongly experiential way
  • We discover a lot of things about ourself, and why it is we avoid the present moment. Put another way, our self-knowledge increases.

So this week, if you like spend a few minutes each day being mindful of the non-present moment, either in formal meditation or just when you have a gap.

© Toby Ouvry 2017, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

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