The three points of awareness mind map highlights three simple steps to acknowledge and deepen present moment awareness.

The three steps are:

(1) Notice your thoughts
(2) Notice the life inside you
(3) Notice your surroundings

Step (1) Notice your thoughts

When you notice that you are thinking you become more present and alert. You can break free from thinking mechanically and begin to consider “what” you are thinking. The awareness of your thoughts allows you to choose where you put your attention and also helps you notice gaps in thought that offer moments of stillness and silence; freedom from incessant thinking. When you notice your thoughts you can then question your thinking, explore and clarify or drop unhelpful thoughts. Questioning your thoughts helps you break free from troubling or erroneous thinking.

Step one – “Notice your thoughts” need not result in analysis and questioning unless you wish to; simply become aware that you are thinking and it helps you become more present.

Step (2) Notice the life inside you

Become aware of the life in your body; it may appear as a cool or warm feeling or simply a “buzz”. Consider how your body is busy keeping you alive on your behalf; a beautifully orchestrated collection of miracles working in harmony to maintain your life. Heartbeat, blood flow, breathing, digestion and other internal organ functions all working tirelessly for your survival. Acknowledge and appreciate the process for a moment.
Step two – “Notice the life inside you” is simply to notice the buzz of life; the fact that you are alive in the moment.

Step (3) Notice your surroundings

Raise your awareness of where you are; enhance your senses and drink in your surroundings, whether you define or label what you see or acknowledge your surroundings silently. You might sense temperature, textures, shapes, light, shade, shadows and more.

Step three – “Notice your surroundings” is simply acknowledging where you are in the present moment.

The three steps used together bring you back to the present moment as opposed to operating mostly in your head.

Notice your thoughts, notice the life inside you and notice your surroundings. All three steps are easy to experiment with and experience. The more you explore these three key areas the more present you will become and in time, with practice, you will be able to detect sooner when you have forgotten the present moment. You could experiment with checking in on one area throughout your day. For example, you might spend a day paying complete attention to your surroundings. You may discover you feel like you are seeing your environment for the first time; observing greater detail and noticing things you never noticed before.

Here is an extract from a book called “Knowing Yourself” by Barry Long

“There is only one thing in your life you can be sure of. That one thing is this moment, now. The last moment has gone forever. The next moment has not come. It is an inescapable fact that only the moment, now, exists in relation to you. The future exists only in your imagination and that is why, no matter how hard you try to imagine it, you will not be able to tell the future”

The three points of awareness again:

(1) Notice your thoughts
(2) Notice the life inside you
(3) Notice your surroundings

The three points of awareness may feel strange at first; the key is to allow it to become an effortless part of your day. For more on questioning your thinking and present moment awareness check out the links below and the suggested further reading.

Associated content:

Present Moment Awareness Mind Map
Recognising the Present Moment
Free 85 page E-Book Stop Thinking
Stuck in Thought Mind Map Part One
Stuck in Thought Mind Map Part Two
How to heighten your senses Mind Map

Further reading:

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
Practising the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
Guardians of Being by Eckhart Tolle with Art by Patrick McDonnell (creator of Mutts Comic Strip)
Miltons Secret (illustrated picture book) by Eckhart Tolle & Robert S. Friedman; illustrated by Frank Riccio
Loving what is Four Questions that can change your life by Byron Katie
Stop Thinking & Start Living by Richard Carlson
Knowing Yourself by Barry Long

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