One of the things that is missing the most in the world today is “presence”. We’ve become a society where everyone watches TV, communicates electronically, interacts superficially and there is a lack of presence. This is because people have given away their own presence and don’t know how to get it back. There are many ways that people do this, but one of ways is by becoming too invested in a particular thing – a particular idea, a particular relationship, a particular possession or a particular dream. In becoming so invested in these areas or things, or sometimes just in one thing, we give away our power to simply be present because we’ve transferred it to the object of our focus. It’s a bit like tunnel vision where we’re focusing just on one thing to the exclusion of everything else. In doing this we not only lose our perspective, but we move away from our presence. We give away our ability to be our joyful, abundant self, fully present, fully aware. We lose our centre.
This usually happens very gradually as we move from being a small infant to a child and then an adult. When we look at a newborn baby, we often sense it’s presence and it can be a powerful and deeply touching experience. Sometimes when we play with a young child, they’re really there, just playing with us. At that moment, they’re not thinking “I need a popsicle”, or they’re not thinking about their next car or car payment. They’re just there with us and it’s a powerful and refreshing experience.
But with time, that child gets their attention captured by all of these other things. They need to get a good grade, they need to please mom and dad, or they need to have sweets, because they like sweets. They need to do this and have that and they lose that ability to just be present.
As we got older, we developed the habit of looking for presence outside ourselves. We seek it out in our relationships, in the people that are in our work and family circles. We lose the ability to truly connect, because in looking outside for that presence, what happens is that we are defusing the presence within ourselves. The presence doesn’t exist outside. It really exists inside. What we are really looking for outside is “resonance”. We are looking for someone who is present enough that it awakens our own presence within. Just like with that two year old child who is so much in the present moment that they draw us there with them. It’s not because we absorb their presence. It’s because their presence resonates and awakens our own internal presence.
Lack of presence is something that is a problem for a lot of people. Almost everybody is looking for this deep experience of being fully present, being fully themselves. As a therapist, if someone comes to me and I am able to be fully present, that can facilitate a powerful experience of awakening for the patient. It allows them to awaken in a way that they can’t easily get from their daily interactions.
That offering of presence in a therapeutic situation, genuine listening, genuine awareness of ourselves and the patient – that is a huge, huge gift. If a therapist is able to do that, people will automatically gravitate to that person. And it is the same in business or any other field of endeavour as well. If you are a gardener and you conduct your affairs with great presence, people will want to spend time with you when you are doing their garden.
So, how can we bring richness to our relationships with other people? The highest compliment we can pay someone, the best, most useful thing we can do for someone is to be fully present in their company – to really bring ourselves there and to listen with all of our awareness. Not just to them, but to ourselves, and to be fully aware.
As we learn to do this, it’s actually a double benefit, because not only is it the greatest gift, the most respectful offering we can give to someone else, but it is also the most respectful offering we can give to our self. When we are in that space, we are not looking outside. We’re not looking for someone else to bring us fulfilment or for some other thing to bring us fulfillment. We’re there, we’re just present.
As we journey along in our lives, it’s really this presence that allows us to enrich all of the relationships of our lives. And when we are really present it brings a lot of other things into perspective. There has been a lot of hype about the Law of Attraction, but why does it work sometimes and not at other times? Why do some people work really hard at it without getting what they are striving for? The bottom line is that if we are making lots of effort and so on, we’re actually setting out to try and make something happen. And there is nothing wrong with that provided that we understand that we need to be fully present to make that fully effective and that we need to maintain our presence even when we bring our focus outside ourselves. Often we are sending our energy out but we’re only ten percent present because the other ninety percent is dealing with all of these other things that we’re hardly even aware of – monitoring this and monitoring that and keeping track of our budget, our relationships, and are my nails too long and do I need to change my hair colour and what about my shoes and this and that. We aren’t likely to be fully effective.
Still, it is possible to do those things and be fully present, because presence isn’t about doing, it’s about how we do things. Presence is about what we bring, the focus and the concentration that we bring into our actions. With the law of attraction, if you fully focus, things will manifest in a most extraordinary way. And so it’s not about mantras, it’s not about rituals, it’s about focus and intent and presence.
Excerpt from the book “Journeys of a Thirsty Soul- Thoughts on Enlightenment and Evolution” by Lauren Young.