Having an interest in Consciousness or Presence; reading, talking, or thinking about it are all necessary but not sufficient if there is no daily practice. If you are serious about inner development, then you will naturally see the necessity of bringing it all to focus in the mundane, the ordinary moments of daily existence.

It begins with intention. What is your dominant intention? Be honest with yourself. If your dominant intention is to earn money to survive, to be wealthy, acknowledge it. What works for me is to make Presence my dominant intention. When I do, all the other “concerns” of life easily fall into place. The door opens for the miraculous.

I have developed seven practices to support this intention. For those of you who have been my client, this will serve as a reminder, for others this may be an entirely new approach to living.

I begin with my dominant intention as a first practice.

BE, Here/Now! Full attention into the Present Moment. This means, if you ask yourself the question: “What percentage of my attention is Here/Now?” the answer will be somewhere near 100%.

Second is:
OBSERVE, Inner Self-Observation, mind watching. Socrates said: “The unobserved life is not worth living.” Watch your mind intently, constantly, like you would watch an unruly young child. The moment your attention is distracted, it is off causing trouble. If you watch intently enough, the inner-talk diminishes, opening the door to Inner Stillness. Now your Consciousness is dominant, your mind is passive. You are in charge of the powerful tool we call mind.

Third is:
LISTEN: Deep inner listening. Something new arises out of Inner Stillness which has deep wisdom and natural knowing. We’ve all had glimpses of this quality of Being. Some call it gut instinct or intuition. I call it Inner Guidance. Follow its advice. Let it make decisions, not your mind.

Fourth is:
DIE: To the past every moment. If your attention is less than 100% Here/Now, the absent portion may be caught in yesterday. The practice here is to constantly let go of the story of previous moments and be a new Being Now.

Fifth is:
EXPECT: The unexpected. Expectations are the mind’s predictions of how Now “should be”. Life is entirely uncertain. Having no expectations is the best preparation for handling current challenges.

Sixth is:
REMEMBER: Your Self, the awareness behind The Thinker. It is this awareness that can observe thought. This Still Presence is our True Self.

Seventh is:
SURRENDER: To What Is. Completely accept the contents of each moment. Negativity is the inevitable consequence of resistance to What Is, one of the most destructive forces in human existence.

Activating and utilizing these seven practices can make a significant difference in your sense of Well-Being. They promote physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. I have seen them transform lives.

James Westly, MC, LPC

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