Excerpted from Invitation to Meditation by Howard Cohn, © 2006:
In reality, you never leave the present moment. You’re always here. You’re never not here. You only imagine that you leave the present moment.
You are anchored to the present moment in three different ways. One, by your body, which contains the five senses. Whenever you feel as if you’ve slipped away from the present moment, allow each of the senses to reconnect with your immediate surroundings. Allow yourself to be immersed in the sights, textures, sounds, scents, and tastes of the present moment. As you do so– again, by simply noticing– you are aware that you are alive in the present moment.
Two, you are anchored here by your breath. With each inhale, and with each exhale, you sink more deeply into the present moment. Inhaling, you expand. Exhaling, you release. Inhaling, you experience the breath. Exhaling, you let it go. Inhaling, you settle into the body’s natural stillness. Exhaling, you gently harmonize your body and mind. Inhaling and exhaling, you are aware that you are alive in the present moment.
Three, you are anchored here by your awareness of your thoughts. Notice them as you would notice the sights and sounds around you. Notice them as you would notice a cloud passing through the sky. Notice that certain emotions may arise with certain thoughts. Don’t stop them. Don’t be afraid of them. Don’t react to them. Just notice them. Let them come and go like changing weather patterns. And in doing so, may you realize that they are just thoughts and emotions– nothing more. And in doing so, may you realize that you are still here– still anchored in the present moment.