Moments of presence filled with clarity, joy, love and great compassion.
by George Pitagorsky
The world is spinning and everything in it is in constant motion. Physical conditions, relationships, personal preferences, moods, values, beliefs, are all in motion. Nothing is fixed. Of course some things take longer to change than others. They give the impression of being permanent, but when we watch them closely over time we can see the changes and often predict their outcome. Mountains will be washed away; oceans displaced by mountains.
Everything is moving. Being present means to be able to observe the movement calmly and objectively. It is like being in the eye of the storm. Being present enables clear thinking, skillful action and the kind of relaxed awareness that promotes healthy living even in the face of stress. Being present enables acceptance and the ability to choose to change the things you can change.
There are many terms for being present and it is a concept that has been around for millennia. It is referred to as being centered, present, consciously aware; being in the zone, Satori, lucid stillness, direct apprehension, immediate knowing and more.
Realizing presence is a subtle process. It is influenced by the image of what being present is and feels like. For example, if someone thinks of being present in terms of being centered they may have the image of being in a glass case in the middle of everything, just watching. They may have a sense of calm but may be very detached. How much energy would they have to exert to keep the box intact so as to keep life's unpleasantries out? They might not let the pleasantries in. They might cut off natural feelings and be unable to have deep connections with others.
Being present breaks the glass box. You are totally immersed in the movement, engaged in relationships and yet aware of it all objectively; non-reactive yet responsive, calm and focused. In presence there is the ability to see your own reactive behavior along with the rest of the holographic movie that is unfolding around you.
Being centered implies limited boundaries, like a circle or square, and a reference point. Being centered requires someone or something being someplace in space. Presence goes beyond limitations. There are no boundaries and no specific reference point. There is a dropping away of the unhealthy identification with a fixed self. A sense of safety and peace is experienced in the expansive clarity and boundless space that is the natural ground in which we live our lives.
Where are you when you are not present? Where does the mind go when presence is lost to distractions?
Moments of presence are normal parts of everyday life. Recognizing them and setting the stage for their more frequent appearance and longer duration requires good fortune, knowledge and practice.
The good fortune is becoming aware of the instant presence, maybe when reading a poem, doing some meditation practice, seeing a beautiful sight, falling out of bed, or being in the company of others who experience presence and point it out.
The knowledge is about knowing that these moments are special (though at the same time completely ordinary) and that there are methods for cultivating and expanding presence by dropping away the beliefs and habits that obscure it.
Practice is about applying methods like meditation and the self-discipline needed to change old habits.
© 2013 George Pitagorsky Top