How To Be Present

DR JOHN DEMARTINI   -   Updated 1 year ago

In this article Dr John Demartini reveals what may be holding you back from being mindfully present, and shares practical steps you can take that can help you transform your life from possibly being fragmented and reactive to poised and present.

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DR JOHN DEMARTINI - Updated 1 year ago

In all likelihood, you have heard or read about the wisdom of being fully present or fully conscious in the here and now without being distracted by thoughts of the past or the future.

Eckhart Tolle, author of “The Power of Now”, refers to it as “choosing to emerge in a given moment”, and “realizing deeply that the present moment is all you ever have.

I’d like to take a step back and provide some context about your conscious and unconscious portions of your mind to help deepen your understanding of the topic at hand, before I move into practical tools and tips on how you can begin being more mindful and present in your life.

Your conscious and unconscious portions of your mind

Every time you perceive that someone or some event provides you with more advantages than disadvantages, or more disadvantages than advantages, where you're more conscious of the upsides, and less of the downsides, or more conscious of the downsides and less of the upsides, you split your mind up into conscious and unconscious portions or halves.  These are sometimes called supra- and sub- threshold stimuli.

As a result, you depart from a state of where you are aware of both up and downsides simultaneously -called mindfulness – a state that is poised, balanced and present, and arrive into an emotionally polarized state where you now have an impulse towards the upsides or an instinct away from the downsides, which become stored as emotionally charged noise in your memory and imagination and gives rise to future philias and phobias.

Episodic memory

Episodic memory has both explicit and implicit components, together with the data of where things are. These include:

  • WHERE was it that you perceived this?
  • WHEN was it that you perceived this?
  • WHAT exactly is it that you perceive (content)?
  • WHY do you perceive it (context)?
  • WHO do you perceive it in relationship to?

For example, if you’re infatuated with an individual and perceive one of their actions to be attractive – one that you are conscious of the upsides to it and not the downsides to it - you can store that as a positive episodic memory.

The moment you do that, in other words, store a memory as either positive or negative your brain will automatically try to bring your perceptions back into balance.

Your brain is homeostatic. So, when you perceive something in the external world as emotionally charged, polarized, or imbalanced, the brain spontaneously creates something called an anti-memory to counter balance the emotionally charged memory.

The purpose of an anti-memory is to try to bring the electronics, the neurochemistry and both the conscious and unconscious minds back in equilibrium so you can be fully conscious and present.

Within that episodic memory is an episodic imagination.

The episodic imagination is the anti-content, aimed at neutralizing the episodic memory in order to keep the mind temporally present.

The moment you polarize your perceptions, divide your full consciousness into conscious and unconscious portions, and store those in your subconscious mind as a memory, you also create an imagination that counterbalances it.

So, your mind is actually doing what it can to make your brain poised and present.

As long as you have a polarized perception, you’re most likely to fragment and divide your consciousness into these conscious and unconscious portions or halves.

This, in turn, creates a separation between memory and imagination and builds something inside the mind that is called the arrow of time.

In physics, the arrow of time underlies what is called entropy, or the tendency towards disorder.

The more polarized your perceptions, the more likely you are to develop unstable emotional disorder.

Many individuals are too stubborn to listen to their intuition which is trying to make them aware of the counterbalancing information that is unconscious to try to bring their perceptions back into balance.

Perhaps you meet a guy who you perceive as being the ‘perfect’ soul mate for you – someone you perceive as having all positive traits with no negative traits. Your intuition will try to caution you that he’s too good to be true, not to be too gullible, and that the so-called one-sided ‘perfect’ individual doesn’t exists. In other words, your intuition will whisper the downsides to create the anti-memory to bring you back into homeostasis.

However you, with the masks or personas you wear, that result from the fragmentations of your full conscious mind and that emerge as a result of your imbalanced perspectives, may want you to hold onto your anti-memory fantasy for your feel-good fixation.

As such, you may lose some of your rational ordered state and get caught in the fantasies of the imagination of the future, that is usually the opposite of the painful memories of the past that surface.

Anything that's stored in the subconscious mind is stored as impulses and instincts that make you seek and avoid. As such, you’re likely to be externally run instead of being present and governed from within.

On the other hand, if you pay attention to and listen to your intuition and allow yourself to find the complementary opposite - other side - the skeptical side when you’re infatuated, or that optimistic side when you're resentful - and bring them back into equilibrium simultaneously, you become present.

If instead, however, you keep your perceptions polarized, you create a stored memory, a corresponding imagination, and the resultant arrow of time. As such, you tend to end up with perceptual entropy and disorder (unconscious or missing information), and are more likely to be distressed and age.  Distress is the perception of loss of that which you attempt to seek and the perception of gain of that which you attempt to avoid.

Aging is a byproduct of mental dissociations in memory and imagination: the entropy that occurs with the arrow of time in the mind.

Saint Augustine described it beautifully when he tried to answer the question: what exactly is time? Is it the past? No, you can't really actually define that because it is past and it’s fleeting. Is it the future? No, that's just an imagination. All we truly have is this infinitesimal sliver called the present.

The present is the only thing that's actual, the rest of it is just a subjectively biased reality as a result of any imbalanced perspectives.

I often say in my Breakthrough Experience program where I address these issues and teach people how to integrate them so they can become more present, empowered, purposeful, and poised, that memory and imagination store subjective illusions until you're ready for the more objective truth.

I also regularly teach about and write about how the quality of your life is based on the quality of the questions you ask.

In other words, asking quality questions that equilibrate your mind, bring your perceptions into balance, and help you become more fully present.

The challenge is that the majority of individuals are so used to having a primitive unbalanced amygdala response to avoid pain and seek pleasure, avoid predator and seek prey, avoid challenge and seek support, and avoid difficulty and seek ease, that they keep trying to separate the inseparables, divide the indivisibles, label the unlabelables, name the ineffables, and polarize the unpolarizable states that are simultaneously joined or entangled in the brain.

This is when they are most likely to get into these conscious and unconscious divisions and lose power - the power of the present.

Let’s take it a step further.

If you infatuate with somebody:

  • You’re likely conscious of their upsides, and unconscious of their downsides;
  • You’ll tend to put them on a pedestal and minimize yourself relative to them; and
  • You'll also tend to be too humble to admit what you see in them is inside you. As such, you’ll disown that part of you.

Every part you disown is a void or an emptiness. That's why when you judge people, positively or negatively; you tend to feel an emptiness inside. Your perception is incomplete because your intuition knows that you are not seeing the whole of the individual. It’s also not the whole of you because when you minimize or exaggerate yourself, that's not the authentic you.

When you resent somebody:

  • You’re likely to look down on them;
  • You’ll tend to be conscious of their downsides and unconscious their upsides, and
  • You’ll also tend to exaggerate yourself with pride.

The second you look down on them and exaggerate yourself, you're not being authentic.

So when you exaggerate and minimize yourself, your authenticity is eroded. You also tend to become disempowered because you have disowned or missing parts, and feel empty.

Until you can bring those back into balance by synchronously seeing both sides of people and both sides of yourself, you are highly unlikely to become fully present.

You don't have presence unless you bring those into equilibrium at the same time.

In the Breakthrough Experience program, I introduce people to the Demartini Method. This is a reproducible, duplicatable, scientific method to integrate these parts, bring you into presence, and help you integrate what has been divided,  fractured or fragmented in your mind.

Anything that you haven't loved will keep running your life until you love it, and loving it means seeing both sides of it so you can liberate it.

Why? Because anything you infatuate with will occupy space and time in your mind.

Anybody who’s ever gone to bed with an infatuation, will know how hard it is to sleep because your mind races from all the noise in your brain.

It’s the same when you resent someone and can’t sleep because they occupy space and time in your mind.

The resulting brain noise is from your imbalances of conscious and unconscious perceptions.

The noise in your brain is feedback to let you know that you're not perceiving the whole. Instead, you’re likely seeing only portions or fractured parts and have an imbalanced perspective, instead of listening to your intuition and perceiving the whole.

Your intuition tries to bring those fractured parts together while you sleep. Any dreams you have are often attempts in your mind to bring pairs of opposites together so you can be refreshed in the morning.

You may look at the content of a dream and realize that it comprises anti-content experiences in your life that attempt to counterbalance you and make you whole again. Dreams are not irrational things unless you don't know the right questions to ask to unlock what your dreams are attempting to do. In other words, to try to bring pairs of opposites together and integrate your brain.

Your brain is homeostatic. It's a highest value-seeking organ.

What does that mean? In brief, it means that every individual, including you, has a unique hierarchy of values.

  • When you live by your highest value and live authentically and aligned with what you value most in life, you become authentic. Your identity revolves around your highest value, and you’re most likely to be authentic and have homeostasis and order in your life when you live by such priority.
  • If you try to live by your lower values, often because you're looking up to others and judging yourself relative to them, or looking down at others and judging them relative to you, you tend to have disowned parts and end up with noise in your brain

The reason you end up with disowned parts is because it's not you.

Anything that's low on your values tends to be disowned by you. Instead, what's highest on your values is you. When you live by priority and delegate lower priority tasks, you tend to become more integrated, more focused and more present.

That's why you're most likely to be focused, inspired and disciplined in your highest value; and procrastinate, hesitate, and frustrate in your lowest values, because attempting to live in your lower values creates more subjective biases and more divisions in your mind, which adds space and time in your mind.

Anytime you remove space and time from the mind and become present; you become more authentic and more unconditionally loving – the State of Unconditional Love – the SOUL.

Anytime you add space and time to the soul, you likely go into the mind and into judgment and disorder.

That disorder is a feedback mechanism to guide you back to your authentic self or soul.

All of your physical symptoms and their associated initiating emotions are nothing more than homeostatic feedback mechanisms to try to get you to become aware of what it is you're judging that you haven't loved. This is because the judgment is where the emptiness is; the love is where the fulfillment is. 

Your emotions and their associated symptoms are trying to get you back into equilibrium and into the present.

You tend to be liberated from emotional baggage once you are fully present.

Emotional baggage is nothing more than imbalanced perspectives and perceptions about reality.

The signs that you are being truly mindful and present is when you experience gratitude, love, inspiration, enthusiasm, certainty and presence.

I call these the transcendentals. In the Breakthrough Experience, I teach individuals how to take perceived events that they're highly polarized or emotionally charged about, dissolve them, integrate them, and bring them into balance. As a result, they can have gratitude, love, inspiration, enthusiasm, certainty, focus, clarity and presence.

When they do, they activate the executive center in their forebrain, an area of the brain that allows them to be purposeful, meaningful, inspired, present, and strategic, instead of just emotionally reactive.

It’s something also known as systems 2 thinking that allows you to be more methodical, strategic and purposeful, instead of impulsive, instinctual and survival oriented.

On the other hand, when you’re down in the amygdala in the more primitive subcortical area of the brain, this is when you are most likely to be seeking and avoiding, polarizing your perceptions, and having knee-jerk emotional reactions to situations.

This is one of the main reasons why I teach individuals the Demartini Method - questions to help you balance your perceptions and mind so you can liberate yourself from the baggage that's been stored in your consciousness, unconscious and subconscious mind, and become fully present in your life.

To sum up:

If you are inspired to become more fully present in your life, it is wise to learn how to:

  • Balance your imbalanced or polarized perceptions;
  • Own disowned parts of yourself by admitting that what you see in others is also in you;
  • Learn to ask quality questions, such as those in the Demartini Method, to help you equilibrate your mind, bring your perceptions into balance, and become more fully present.
  • Identify and clarify your unique set of highest values. When you align your life with your highest values and live by priority, you are most likely to be poised, purposeful, disciplined, certain, objective and present. When you live by your lower values, you tend to procrastinate, seek instant gratification, react emotionally, and perceive that you are a victim of your past.
  • Brain noise is often a feedback mechanism to let you know that you’re likely not seeing the whole. Instead, you’re likely seeing fractured parts and have an imbalanced perspective, instead of listening to your balancing intuition.
  • The signs that you are being truly mindful and present are when you experience gratitude, love, inspiration, enthusiasm, and certainty.


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