Stop, Look, & Listen | Tools To Be In The Present Moment

Updated: Sep 19, 2018

I find it very easy to run around in my head all day long, dreaming up all sorts of dramas, crazy stories filled with good and bad, and everything in-between. I become enthralled with the many tall tales of being better or less than others. My mind, in it’s unending ability to conjure up new and unique dramas, will even go as far as disguising the whole process as mindful observation.

Up and down on the roller coaster of deceit I go, lying to myself that I should be afraid, that there is an immediate risk that I must prepare for, that I must control. At any point the sky is going to fall, the other shoe is going to drop, the gig is up, and I best be ready for it.

Then, after I have had enough, I remember to stop, look and listen. Sometimes it occurs to me right away to stop, but far more often than not, it takes considerable time to realize I am caught up in the dreaming of the mind.

Below I describe these three actions in sequence. But they can be used in any order, separately, or along with any other tools one may have to bring themselves back to the moment. As always, use your own inherit wisdom to discern the method(s) best for you.


At any moment of any day there lies an opportunity to stop, to come to a halt, to take a deep breathe and check in with ourselves.

We can even do this without physically stopping. For instance, if we are driving we can gently stop our mind chatter by taking a deep breathe. The stopping simply means interrupting our current thought process, which interrupts our emotional process. We don’t need to stop the car to do this.

If we are with somebody else, we can stop without interrupting the conversation. We can take a breath and feel our body in the chair. Then we can refocus on what the other person is saying, we can then be present to the conversation. If we are having difficulty getting present, we can always ask for a moment to get grounded.


Once we have stopped or slowed ourselves down, we can also look within and around ourselves. We can check inside and see where we are at physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Are we tired? Do we need to take a break and get some fresh air, some exercise? How do we feel? What thoughts are we thinking? Are they true? Do we feel connected to our spiritual life?

We can also look around ourselves. What do we see? The sun setting? Storm clouds rolling in? Somebody laughing?

Looking outside of ourselves is a great way to temporarily get out of our unconscious thinking habits. By doing so we see that there is a whole world outside the tunnel vision of our self-centered thoughts. Once we see this world unfolding, we can come back to ourselves and others in a more present way.


Once we stop what we are doing, and have looked within and around us, then we can then listen. Just as we can look within and outside of ourselves, we can listen to our inner self and the world around us.

What do we hear with our inner ears when we stop and listen? Does out body have any messages for us? Is there guidance and wisdom that we have been ignoring?

We can also listen to what is occurring around us. When we do this, we are hearing what is happening in this moment, this helps to get present. Whether it is birdsong, waves crashing or sirens wailing, we are hearing the moment.

Living In The Now

If we stop, look, and listen, we can move into the now, we can be present in the next moment with a new and fresh perspective. We can access the knowing that we are safe, taken care of, and that there are answers.

Of course, this is all fleeting. The ability to be present is a life long practice, so be kind and gentle with yourself as you are pulled away from the moment. It happens to all of us, all of the time.

In closing... these are just a few of the many tools available to us, please feel free to comment below with what works for you to get grounded and present. The more tools at our disposal, the better!



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