Ask yourself this question (the Presence Meter Question): What percentage, 0-100%, what percentage of my attention is Here/Now? Pay attention only to the first thought, the first number the brain produces. Done correctly, this is an accurate measure.
If your answer to the question is less than 100% (the average answer is 40-50%), your consciousness is fragmented, a portion of your attention is devoted to the moment and the balance is attending to thought patterns focused outside the moment. The science of psychology tells us, and this is something you can verify on your own, that our body responds to thought with emotion, a physical reaction. Try it! Think of something that terrifies you and notice how your heart rate and blood pressure change.
Now, it gets even more complex when you realize that the portion of attention focused outside the moment is further fragmented into frequently contradictory thought patterns. ie. I love my sister but I can’t stand her personality. Our mind is multitasking on many thought projects simultaneously (upset with yesterday and concerned about tomorrow), producing inner turmoil and conflicting emotions.
This is a window into the ‘human’ condition: lost in emotionally conflicting thought patterns with only a small portion of awareness attending to the one place and time life is actually happening. Not only are we cognitively impaired by not using our full brain power for the task at hand, we are emotionally conflicted to boot. Not a pretty picture. Yet this is what we call ‘normal’. People come to me as a therapist and state as a goal they want to be normal. I ask them to reconsider. Normal is cognitively impaired and emotionally conflicted.
The challenge here is to get our number higher (your answer to the Presence Meter Question). Make it a game. See how high you can get the answer. Work on more intensely orienting yourself to your current circumstances in the Now. Make an effort to be more Present. Then ask the question again. Assess how you are doing. When you get a higher number, observe how your perception of reality changes, gets brighter, calmer, more hopeful, loving. Defrag your Consciousness often!