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How to Be Present

Turn off your cellphone and be here now.

In this sped-up culture, we are all in a hurry; we are all stressed out. Constantly aware of time, we try to make the most of it. We strive to contribute to the world every day, and be a person of impact in the world. This atmosphere of speed and achievement, however, can leave little time for reflection.

As we focus continually on the next appointment, the next email—we rob the present moment of its significance. Once in a while, we need to slow down, put the schedule on pause, and just be. When we are in the moment, we notice the beauty of nature. We can truly connect with our surroundings and with other people. By diving into total immersion in the moment, we're able to use our full consciousness for the task at hand. Below are a few tips for being truly in the present.


During your next conversation, try to block out all distractions and focus on what the person across from you is saying. Ask questions, and sit back and listen. Resist the temptation to formulate a response in your head. (Often we sacrifice listening by preparing our response and simply waiting for our turn.) Tune out the world and earnestly try to connect. Imagine that the only thing you have on your agenda is this conversation. In that moment, it is truly all you are intended to do.


While sitting in any surrounding, stop what you’re doing and find things you weren't consciously aware of. Our brain has the ability to process many inputs at once, but its true power lies in its ability to focus and ignore inputs. At any given moment there can be millions of sensory inputs coming our way and we are only consciously aware of a few (otherwise we would be overwhelmed!).

The easiest way to do this is to first notice your breathing, from there you can become aware of the pressure of your chair against your back. If you're holding something notice its texture. As you do this you become more present and focused. This can be a kind of outwardly focused meditation.

Happiness in the 'now'

By avoiding the distraction of the future or the past, we open up the possibility of being completely content with this moment. We let go of worry and regret and give this moment our full attention. We can reflect, focus, and simply be. 

Dr. Clarence Lee is a physician, entrepreneur, speaker and author.

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