Recently I realized I’d been living too much in my head. Not being present, in the moment.
Several months ago I started doing twenty minutes of meditation a day. But it wasn’t really meditation. It was me sitting in a chair and letting my mind wander. The last week or so I’ve been more conscious of the wandering. I bring my focus back to my breath more frequently and try to extend that gap between thoughts.
I’m writing this at 4:30 a.m. I just got back in from a night on the town. I had a few surreal interactions at the end of the night that left me feeling like I might be getting the hang of this presence thing. I talk to a lot of people when I go out. Guys and girls. I try to be really social and have lots of fun. I try to find humor in even the bad interactions, like when I approach a pretty girl and she completely blows me out.
The less I’m in my head, thinking of what to say or do next, the better each interaction goes. Even if it starts off terribly, with a cold shoulder for instance, it’s pretty freaky how often people come around when I just accept what’s happening and hold my composure, being present to the moment, not resisting the resistance. When I get into this space, I feel like a magnet. People seem to look at me differently, with a certain curiosity, like there’s something compelling about me that their brain can’t quite explain.
I’ve been at the other end of this magnetic pull many times, too, when I’ve been around others who have a knack for being present. We’re strangely attracted to people who are living in the now, going with the flow, not trapped in their heads.
I’m more likely to get into that space later on in the night, after I’ve talked to loads of people and gotten into a more social mindset, and also after I’ve been blown out several times and desensitized myself to rejection. I’m not sure I ever quite felt it like I did tonight though.
I took a taxi home after flowing mindlessly through a conversation with a cute girl outside the club and exchanging numbers. The taxi dropped me off at the hotel next to my apartment complex. There were four Russian girls sitting outside, looked like they’d just got back from a night out themselves. Out of curiosity I walked up to them and said hey, only to be met with ice cold stares, followed by what I can only assume was a joke at my expense (in Russian), then laughing.
I just stood there, holding eye contact, smiling comfortably. I fully accepted their resistance. I barely said anything in response. To an observer I’m sure it would have felt like a few tense moments. But to me it was nothing, just stillness. And then I felt that magnetism kick in. They became curious as to why this random dude wasn’t shuffling his feet or growing red in the cheeks. One girl softened her eyes and asked my name. I sat with them and chatted easily for about five minutes, then said goodnight.
I’m sure that sounds pretty underwhelming to you. It does to me too when I read back over it. And I know it’s nothing new. Present moment awareness. Be here now. All that lark. But it sure felt like some powerful shit at the time.
It’s now 5:13 a.m.