At one with the is-ness of reality, aligned with the eternal now, acceptance of the structure this moment takes. Presence can be defined in a variety of ways, all of which refer to the state of being in the “now”, the elusive place where all phenomena exist.
Accessing the power of now is often easier said than done – In the midst of our busy lives it can be easily overlooked.
So: how can we realistically incorporate this spiritual practice into our lives?
Here are some useful techniques that help me find greater access to presence:
Create gateways to the now
This method can be applied anywhere, anytime, but works particularly well in new environments where there isn’t a heavy past. A gateway to the now is simply a place where we immediately enter presence through external triggers.
Gateways come from consistent effort and training the mind to recognise situations as reminders for presence. I like to practice presence on the train to work, in elevators, driving, and walking to the office.
To initiate a gateway, bring attention to sense perceptions: listen, look, smell, touch, taste. When we are in touch with our senses, without labelling them, we are fully present with this moment.
Ultimately we want to incorporate presence into each and every moment, gateways are the perfect reminder to bring attention back to the only thing that matters: Now.
Nature has the potential to unlock blissful stillness in the mind if we can learn to see past the mental labelling. Plants are alive, like us – however, they fall below the level of thought, they simply are as they are, rooted in being.
If we can practice looking past the mental abstracts and labels we have given plants, trees, and flowers, there is a realm of beauty behind them that touches the very essence of life, that which is beyond words.
Acknowledge the presence within nature.
When we bring the light of awareness to nature this reverberates back and makes the mind still.
I personally like to use trees as an anchor for the now. To do this, appreciate the tree from a place of no thought – Wayne Dyer gives great insights on the power of perception: “when we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change”. Look at a trees and all of nature from a place of wonder and appreciation, they are more than they appear to be.
Ever been in a conversation with someone where they didn’t pay attention to a single word you’ve said?
We tend to avoid people who show a lack of engagement and interest to what we have to say. This is because attention initiates connection – connection is something that is inherently built into us, we all seek connection in a variety of forms.
Presence in conversation is one of the greatest gifts we can give, do not disregard the importance of this simple act.
A good listener requires a high degree of presence, most people allow their attention to be absorbed by the mind by preparing the next thing to say. Silence the mind before preparing a response.
“The word ‘listen’ contains the same letters as the word ‘silent’.”
― Alfred Brendel
Treat every conversation as an opportunity to practice presence – good listeners are among the most respected people on the planet.
Give everyone the gift of alert attention and the universe will repay the favour.
When we live in the now, there can be no worries, fears, or anxieties; these emotions need a past and future to exist. Thinking about past and future pulls us out of the present moment, when this happens we lose the ability to experience the richness life has to offer.
Increased presence opens us to a new way of experiencing the content of life. Things in the past that seemed ordinary now take on a new space of beauty and wonder.
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.