You Must Be Present to Win

Raffle Tickets

If you’ve ever purchased a raffle ticket, it is likely that the fine print included this disclaimer: You must be present to win. This important caveat informs you that you can’t claim the prize if you’re not physically present at the time of the drawing.

It may be useful to consider that life carries a similar disclaimer regarding being mentally present through mindful awareness.

“When we are present in each moment,
the past gently rolls up behind us
and the future slowly unravels before us.”
~Rev. Richard Levy~

Whether we realize it or not, during every waking moment, our lives are being created through our moment to moment experiences. Therefore it is important to realize that we either create our lives through intentional activity and conscious experience, or we float along with low levels of awareness as passive recipients of happenstance.

We often hear the metaphor, “sleepwalking through life.” Scientifically, sleepwalking refers to the performance of normal activities while barely awake in a state of low consciousness. Therefore, metaphorically, sleepwalking through life refers to the state of unconsciousness living – unconscious consumption of environmental stimuli, underdeveloped awareness of our interactions and behavior, and disconnection from a sense of purpose.

We create all of our goals and decisions within the present, and those decisions set the direction for our future experiences. Philosophically, it is similar the butterfly effect of chaos theory; each flap of a butterfly’s wings sets other phenomena into motion which largely affects all future outcomes. This simply illustrates that the decisions and behaviors we make in the present have a deterministic effect on our futures.

Conscious living allows us to be more aware of ourselves, environment, and purpose, which in turn enables us to embrace and respond effectively to our evolving experiences. Being present and aware allows us to be active participants – aware of our options, able to make decisions, and consciously engaged in the sensations and experiences of our activities. Additionally, present-moment awareness allows us to experience our experiences, and enables us to experience life rather than be subjected to it.

Winning in life does not refer to a dichotomy of winners and losers. It simply refers to the success of accomplishing our personal goals. Therefore, it may be helpful to remember that success rarely occurs by accident. Creating the life that we desire requires awareness and intention, which means that we actually have to be present and engaged.

Of course, there is no hard and fast rulebook for life. However, if one existed, it likely would be approximately the size of a small pamphlet. Because, as much as we try to complicate life with deeply elaborate thinking, the most important universal rules are very simple: take care of ourselves, be kind to others, what goes around comes around, have respect for the environment . . . and probably a few more. And then in fine print there will be one simple line with an asterisk that says:

*To build the life you desire, you must be PRESENT to win.

Personal Reflections:
  • On a scale of 1 to 10 (Sleepwalker = 1 Fully Present = 10), how would you rate your level of awareness and intention?
  • How do you think your level of awareness affects your ability to accomplish life goals?

*Image: pashabo

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