The concept of being in the present moment has become quite popular lately. People say to each other, " I (you) need to be more present," and they usually mean "bring my attention to this moment." My question is HOW? What is the pathway by which one becomes present? Do I block out and concentrate? Or open up and listen to all sensory input?
Students of the Alexander Technique commonly say that their mind clears and becomes more calm as their coordination improves, either as a single session experience or over a period of time. Improving coordination and use is generally achieved by letting go of excess work (tension) rather than by adding work, by releasing/not-doing rather than doing. The less tension there is in the our system, the less constant feedback via our neural network. This feedback can then be interpreted by the mind as random thoughts, anxiety, pain, etc.
Bodymapping for Musicians teaches Inclusive Awareness: an open field of awareness with a roving focus point. It is the opposite of concentration, which excludes all input except the focus point, sort of like putting blinders on a horse. Somatic studies have shown that concentration requires tightening through one's system. Input from the world comes through our senses all the time, it requires work to block it out. Inclusive Awareness opens up our awareness to the input from our senses. It's like looking at an entire painting, while also noticing a particular detail.
If my physical coordination improves by letting excess work go and my thinking becomes more clear as a result, and if I allow for a more Inclusive Awareness as part of navigating life, then the pathway to being in the present moment includes releasing tension and opening up to the world around us through our senses.