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How to Stop Thinking Your Way Out of Presence

The answer is never outside of the present moment. It is always here, now. Everything you are seeking will be revealed to you when you become fully present.

How to get the most out of these Wisdom Quotes:

  1. Put aside everything you think you already know.

  2. Open your mind and heart to receive something new.

  3. Take your time going through each point.

  4. Return to any points that particularly touch you.

  5. In the coming days, listen carefully to the wisdom within you.

* All quotes are by Leonard Jacobson from: Journey Into Now

1. Recognize Your Addiction to Thinking

"If you add up the time that it’s actually necessary and appropriate to think each day, you would probably find that it doesn’t total more than twenty minutes. Sometimes, it will be more than that if you’re busy at work, or you have a lot of things you must do that require mental activity.

But if you pay close attention, you will see that most of your thinking is unnecessary. All it does is create anxiety, or keep you in some past memory or future imagining.

There are so many opportunities during the day to be present, without any need for thought.

Why do you need to be thinking when you’re washing the dishes? Why do you need to be thinking when you’re having a shower? Why do you need to be thinking when you’re walking from the garage to the kitchen? You know how to walk from the garage to the kitchen. You don’t need to think about that!"


Have you ever noticed how much time you spend thinking? Probably not, because we've been well-trained to live exclusively in our minds, and quite often the world of thought is the only one we know.

  1. Consider the questions in the last paragraph. How much of your thinking is really necessary? These statements are not arguing with the inspired and clear thinking that often arises when in the shower or walking in nature. Rather, they are pointing to the repetitive and unhelpful nature of unconscious thought.

  2. How much of your anxiety do you think is being created by your thinking?

  3. Find an opportunity today to be present, a time when you don't need to be thinking. Don't try to stop your thoughts or force anything. Just create a gap in your thinking, no matter how small, by becoming present.

2. Listen to What You're Saying

"Whenever you think, you are really having a conversation with yourself. But who is speaking? Who is listening? What is the point of this conversation?

It is actually a form of madness, but because everyone is lost in thought, it seems normal.

If you saw someone walking down the street speaking out loud, you would declare them insane. When you walk down the street thinking, the only difference between you and that insane man is that you have learned to talk to yourself silently, and you call it thinking.

The next time you notice that you are thinking, and you did not consciously intend to think, try speaking the words out loud. Externalize the whole conversation.

Don’t judge it. Don’t condemn it, and don’t try to stop it. Just pay attention. It’s highly amusing.

You will never need to listen to the radio again. You have your very own talk show inside your head."


Almost all of us are lost in thought most of the time. We are living our lives with a constant, often negative, mental narrative going on in our minds. This is detrimental and exhausting.

  1. What are you saying to yourself as you go about your day? What is the voice in your head going on and on about?

  2. The next time you notice this voice, "try speaking the words out loud."

  3. Notice what kind of conversation are you having with yourself. "Don’t judge it. Don’t condemn it, and don’t try to stop it. Just pay attention. It’s highly amusing."

3. Notice Opportunities to Be Present

"When you first wake up in the morning, spend a few minutes before getting out of bed just being present in your body as it breathes.

When you are having a shower, be present with the warmth of the water and the fragrance of the soap.

Be present as you eat breakfast.

Be present as you wash the dishes. Washing the dishes can be a sacred experience if you are present.

Look around the room that you are in. There is so much with which to be present.

Be present with the sound in each moment.

If you are moving, be present and conscious in the movement.

Be present with whatever is here now.

When you notice that you have drifted off into the world of thought, memory and imagination, bring yourself back to the present moment.

As you choose the present moment, you will deepen into Presence and it will gradually reveal its hidden treasures."


There are so many opportunities to be present throughout your day, if you pay attention.

  1. "Look around the room that you are in." You can be present with everything you see.

  2. Wherever you are right now, stop and listen carefully. Let the sounds you hear bring you back to this moment.

  3. You can use all your senses to instantly and simply bring you back to presence.

4. Respond to the Invitiation Now

"How do we humans usually respond to the invitation into Presence? We ignore it! We are so imprisoned within the mind that we cannot remain present with what is here for more than a few seconds.

What will it take to respond to the invitation and awaken out of the dream?

There is so much here with which to be present. Every moment reveals abundance."


"A humble door handle has more power to bring you present than all the spiritual books in the world, simply because you can be present with it.

It does not take you into the world of the mind, filling you with spiritual concepts and practices.

Its invitation into the present moment is immediate, and the only time you can respond is now."


We are so caught up in our minds that we find it tedious and challenging to remain present with anything for more than a few seconds. But it doesn't have to be so difficult.

  1. This moment, right now, see if you can find a handle of some kind - it could be a door handle, a drawer handle, or the handle of a mug.

  2. Look at it. Touch it if you want. Give it your full attention.

  3. You have just responded to an invitation to be present. Was it difficult? Could you do it again? Would you? When?

5. Make the Choice

"Each moment you have a choice. Will you be in the present moment in the truth of life or will you be in the illusory world of your thinking mind?

With gentle remembering, you can choose to be present.

You are not trying to stop thinking. You are not trying to escape from the mind. You are not trying to become enlightened.

You are making a choice to be present, simply because the present moment is the truth of life and you are free to make that choice.

As you choose the present moment, your mind will become silent. Relax into the silence. Deepen into Presence. Enjoy all that God has to offer you in this moment. Enjoy the fullness and abundance of this moment."


There's so much that the present moment offers us, but if we continue to live in the world of the mind, we will miss it all.

  1. I have found presence to be a magical realm of oneness, where separate identities dissolve into a vital, free-flowing energy. Without the noise of the conceptual mind, there is a beautiful stillness, where life is vibrantly alive.

  2. Put aside all your concepts, all your prior knowledge, and all your achievements in the realm of mindfulness and presence practice. Can you be open to a fresh, new experience of this moment?

  3. Everything that is with you is inviting you to be present with it - your breath, the sounds you hear, the objects you see, anything you can smell or taste... Keep choosing the present moment again and again.

6. Recognize Distractions

"A man sat beneath a beautiful Bodhi tree and spent many months reading great spiritual works.

One day, the tree spoke to him. “Why do you read books about Jesus and Buddha and Krishna?” asked the tree. “I hold the key to your liberation! Those books will inform you but they will not awaken you.”

The man was quite startled. “I do not understand,” he said with a mixture of fear and excitement.

“The words in these books will you into your mind,” explained the tree. “They will energize your thinking process and then you will move further away from the present moment and the truth of life. You will take yourself further into separation.”

“Please continue!” said the man, looking a little puzzled.

“If you will but choose to be fully present with me,” said the tree, “then thoughts will stop and the past and future will disappear. You will awaken into Oneness and the truth of life. You will see that I am God in the form of a tree. Everything you are seeking in those books will be revealed to you, simply by you becoming fully present with me.”

The man smiled. “That is exactly what is written in these books,” he said. “Obviously I am on the right track.”

And he continued reading."


This story does not negate the revelations that can occur when reading Scriptures with your spirit. I have had first-hand experience of this myself. Rather, it points us to the perils of the constant distraction of the thinking mind.

  1. What have you been pursuing on your spiritual journey, your path of awakening? The perfect book, course, guru, or experience?

  2. Notice the tendency to always look for something more. Do you believe the answer lies out there somewhere? Are you on the right track and getting closer all the time? Recognize all this as the work and distraction of the mind.

  3. "I hold the key to your liberation!" says the tree. The answer is never outside of the present moment. It is always here, now. Everything you are seeking will be revealed to you when you become fully present.


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