Maybe it's crystal clear to you, maybe it's not. Let us go on a journey both to define the meaning of presence and also discover ways you can become more present in your life.
Many fo us are focused on living life through our past experiences, meaning: talking only about memories of what has been, how great it was before X (corona?) and clinging so much to the past that it is impossible to realize what is happening in the present moment. Meanwhile others are living life mostly in the future, meaning: talking about how everything will be soon, later and tomorrow. Dreaming and visualizing about future accomplishments and scenarios, but they forget to tap into the power of NOW to really be aware of the resources available now.
I am not saying we shall not remember great memories and spend some time enjoying the greatness of our experiences, neither do I say we shouldn't daydream about the future and spend time defining which direction we want to develop in. The issue is, most of us are switching between the past and the future but never spend "time" our being conscious of their present.
So again, what is presence?
Presence is stated as: the state or fact of existing
Let's do a mini exercise on existing: If you look around yourself for ten seconds and just notice what you see around yourself? Close your eyes now and listen to what you hear for ten seconds? (sounds outside of yourself or your own thoughts) Pay attention to what you/if you smell anything right now and just notice this smell. Place your hand on your chest and feel your heart beating in a rhythm and notice if there are any emotions you feel right now? .
Becoming aware of what you see, what you hear, smell and what you feel right now is the fact of existing and this is a way to define presence.
You might already have guessed it based on this picture :)
This is how I practice presence daily. By doing yoga. It's a great way to move your body and feel the condition of it. Am I sore somewhere? Any place that needs extra care? What I see and focus on in that moment is of course my yoga mat, my body and the instructions from my teacher. What I hear are a collection of my thoughts, the music playing in the background and my teacher's calming voice.
This picture shows the first time I was able to get into that position, it was after a five day long yoga retreat in Aruba with Yoga Girl, aka Rachel Brathen as a teacher. It was an incredible journey where I enthusiastically finished off by overcoming a big fear of mine, being upside down.
I do not mean you have to be upside down (even it would look quite funny if we all got upside down straight away), buy a yoga mat or sign up for a class in order to practice presence. It is actually way easier than showcased.
Practicing presence is as simple as taking a couple of 30 second breaks throughout the day where you just STOP for a moment, take some big deep breaths and pay attention to everything that is existing here and now. Remember the question above. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you feel?
Just notice this and be aware of the present moment and all the resources that are there for you allowing you to achieve what you want. What would get better in your life if you were more present? Would you be more focused when it really matters? More conscious of your own feelings? Would it enable you to say NO and YES to the right things?
What could you stop doing in your life if you were more present? Would it help you to stop complaining about your past? Would it help you not to be stuck anymore?
Up for a challenge? I would love to hear your experience of presence-training and how that contributes to your life! Send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know, with a chance to win a recorded meditation! Challenge is on until 26th November 2020.