Its a tough one. And one they talk about all the time in yoga and meditation classes and books. I never really got what that meant until now............
I started to notice when i got down, when my energy ebbed, when i was negative. And when i followed the pattern it was usually when my mind was somewhere other than the present moment.
For example, if i went to the past and thought about if i had done something differently, said something else, made a different decision or even worse, if some other imaginary situation had arisen (this is the worse because you are in total fantasy!). Or if i go forward and think about where my life is going, if im taking the right steps to make ABC happen.
Another problematic thing is comparing to others. When the mind starts telling you, you should have this or that because your peers do. A house, a baby, a job that earns X amount.
When i come back to being present. Right where my life is in this moment (which is absolutely beautifully awesome at the moment) i usually feel very happy and grateful. Not much has changed but being PRESENT and being GRATEFUL seems to make things very very satisfying.
So every time i see the energy slump, or the sadness set in. I take 5 BREATHS, and then i notice ... did i go somewhere else? did i want it to be different to what it is, did i compare it to someone else, did i move into the past or the future? And can i come back to the here and now.
When i do, I get what being PRESENT means. Even in the painful times, you are able to feel what is going on as it is. And that usually keeps the feeling brief and manageable.
I think i realize that i liked living in a constant state of 'fantasy'. Enjoyed reminiscing on the past, or creating a future that didn't exist. And what that did was take me away from the amazing life i was actually living.
Being Present feels good. It makes you feel very much alive.