Presence, the Ultimate Gift
You may hear people from time to time saying that they need to be more present. This is usually at a time when they are on their phone excessively or not paying attention to what's going on around them, like conversations etc. Is this really not being present? Or is this simply just doing something you think that you should not be doing. In this scenario the person is 'presently' on their phone...
Remaining present in our society is extremely difficult
To be 'in the moment' in our western society is extremely challenging. It is especially tough to find free space where we are not organising the future; whether it's a business meeting, moving house, study, social events, getting the kids to and from school... The list goes on. Our minds are also heavily involved in the past dealing with previous events, trauma and perhaps past miscommunication or misunderstanding. Thinking of our future can hold fears of the unknown and trauma from our past is related to our mis-beliefs. To top it all off, many of us are constantly living in a state of complete or constant exhaustion. READ: Fighting Fatigue with Food. We are simply trying to survive or keep up with our fast paced lives, heavily influenced by the concept that progression equals happiness and so we are constantly trying to live out society's definition of success. READ: Success: Societies Illusion.
If we are ever in the future or in the past, we aren't truly present.
From very early in our childhood we are taught what is wrong and right. Our early teachings are mostly referenced from our cultural and political leaders (in the past it would have been a Monarchy or religious faculty) who define rules and laws that are in some cases legally binding and other times are just the 'done thing' culturally. From these rules and learnings we formulate our beliefs and values, which over a lifetime, can become very fixed.
If our beliefs, whether considered positive or negative Read: If you believe or don't, you still believe!, become cemented in our minds, we can turn more rigid and inflexible to different possibilities. It's as if we are wearing blinkers that prevent us from seeing situations from a different perspective. In this rigid state, we try and fit the current moment into our beliefs (what we think we know), whereby we augment the current moment and create a perspective based on what we believe, not what is actual.
Being present allows us to the truth in every moment
In order for us to see the truth in every moment we must refrain from judgement.
Our minds and conditioning have a tendency to label and fix everything. If we are unable to give 'it' a label or make 'it' certain, we don't seem to cope; we cannot seem to manage living in the 'unknown' - dealing with something that doesn't fit into our previously learnt/acceptable beliefs. By letting go of everything we know and sit in a moment of curiosity and wonder (eg, what actually is this experience/person/object?) we start listening, sensing, feeling and processing the moment in an entirely new way.
Imagine you were in an intimate conversation with your partner, perhaps discussing an ex partner. The conversation could easily trigger your past, where you may have felt hurt by your own ex. This may cause you to bring your own past thoughts and feelings into the conversation and therefore not be able to hold space and be present for your current partner, affecting your ability to listen to the person you love with complete non judgmental presence and intention.
By being totally in the moment, we use our whole body to experience and process situations, rather than just using our minds. In this open and non-judgmental state we are ready to learn the truth in the moment. This creates a listening experience on a whole new level. The type of listening which involves every sense, every muscle, every cell in the body.
Holding this state for others allows for the most intimate connections, leaving the other person involved feeling completely understood, supported and connected.