Presence is at the core of our being. It is a state of awareness without judgment. Or, as Eckhart Tolle would describe it, when you become the Observer of the voice in your head.
There is a reason for practicing presence. More than just simply being aware of your surroundings, being present offers you all of your answers, as well as a tangible level of inner peace. It is the most solid of foundations that you could ever create for yourself.
There is a reason people meditate and do yoga (and have been doing so for centuries), it is because practices like these invite presence and guess what? Presence feels good… really good.
So, here are some feel good benefits of practicing presence…
Resiliency – the ability to not react when things happen, but to remain calm and observe the situation.
Confidence – being present develops this sense of self that can be hard to describe, but it’s almost like you know that you are choosing the wiser path, the happier path, by remaining present as frequently as possible. This incredible sense of self is confidence.
Focus – Being present helps you to develop focus because you are dissociating from your ego’s chatter. You will also be taking in important information that you could have otherwise missed because you could have been playing out an ego scenario in your mind.
Connection – One of my favourite benefits of presence is connection. This is when you truly feel the person you are speaking with. Or when you really feel the love of your pet by your side. I even practice this when I’m out walking, I still my mind and feel the peaceful energy of nature all around me. It’s invigorating! There is life energy all around us, we just need to stop and connect with it.
Trust – Being present helps you to develop that level of trust that everything really is okay. You begin to see that what is going on around you is different people playing out their different stories, you can play along, or not. But, either way, you see the stillness behind the busy-ness, and it is this stillness which lets you know that everything actually is okay.
Peace – the ego is complex and it loves to tell a tale. Practicing presence helps you to feel removed from the ego’s stories, so much so that at some point you will truly recognize that the voice in your head isn’t actually you. This is peace.
Solutions – A Course in Miracles teaches that all answers come to a quiet mind. Whether you are thinking about what to do as a career, or for retirement, and even as to what to make for dinner or what to wear to an event, all of your answers are found in the wisdom of presence. Why is this? Because you are tapping into who you really are. Think of it this way, you can’t find a solution if you’re too busy unraveling whatever concept your ego has given you, can you? Your mind is too unfocused when it is analyzing and analysis is an ego trait. I teach that the only point in time you should be analyzing is when you’re figuring out a math problem. Even then, practicing presence would be very helpful for you to figure out that math problem. But you see my point; life, emotions, issues, they do not require analysis, they require peace, presence, and space. Clarity then comes forth and all things are resolved in peace.
How to Be Present
Practice quieting your mind at every opportunity…
Welcome the gap between your thoughts. Once you have that gap, let it grow.
Take a mental step back from judging your surroundings, meaning, observe without attaching or labeling objects.
Deep breathe for a few minutes, uninterrupted each day. Challenge yourself; begin with one minute of deep breathing, then add a minute as it gets easier for you. (Remember the benefits of deep breathing document you received when you first signed up for my blog.)
Invite your family to be present with you. Introduce it and model it. Deep breathe together before bed (an excellent way to get children to calm down) or you could take a few deep breaths together in the morning to help everyone focus before the day continues. Or do both!
When waiting in the coffee line-up, ignore your phone and practice your presence. Breathe in the aroma of coffee, hear the café music, feel your feet firmly standing on the ground, and let your muscles relax.
You could also practice presence any other time you are waiting, like when you’re stopped at a red light, or waiting in line at the grocery store. You could even take the initiative to allot few minute intervals throughout your day to just sit and feel peace.
The positive thing about being present is that you actually end up craving those moments of solace and solitude. These moments are very mentally healthy. My dear friend and Mindfulness colleague, Tamara Hackett (www.tamarahackett.com), describes taking moments of peace as a way of developing your Mindful muscle. Like when you lift weights then notice that your grocery bags are lighter. Tamara describes that your Mindful muscle also get stronger as you use it, and that you will really notice the benefits when you are faced with challenging moments.
Presence is the center of your inner peace. It is the place where the healthy and happy you exists! Go there more often.
Love and Presence,