‘Be where you are.’
Take yourself back to the last time you arrived in an unknown and exotic foreign country. The sounds, the smells, the tastes, the colours all compete for your attention as you attempt to take everything in. The experience is physical, visceral, vital and totally captivating. This is presence. It is that feeling of aliveness and alertness that means we are making ourselves fully available in the now moment for everything that life has to throw at us.
A key aspect of presence is therefore awareness. When we are fully present, we are truly ‘being’ where we are.
We might think that presence should be the natural state, but if you think back over the last 24 hours you might agree that these moments of clear total awareness are, in fact, quite rare. Take right now for instance. On a scale of 1-10 how present are you?
Sometimes when I read I am totally absorbed and present with the material, whilst other times my mind wanders on to other concerns so that I have to read the same page 2 or 3 times. Whatever you scored on the presence scale, as an experiment, see if you can become more focused, alert, centred, stable and present right now. All it takes is a clear intention to welcome the fullness of the present moment into your awareness. This is the ‘Power of Now’ that Eckhart Tolle describes so well in his bestselling book of the same name.
The word presence can be defined as existing or occurring in a place or thing. You are present in you (your body, mind and soul, or however you currently think of yourself). So we could say that your state of presence is really your best attempt in any moment to experience all of yourself. It would also make sense then, that the more of yourself that you can keep online and experience at any one time, the more energy or power will be available to you.
Consequently, in a world of distraction, stress and competing needs it is important and practical to develop a craft for presence.
If you aren’t already familiar with how to do this, then watch out for the exercises that will be outlined in the next two posts!