Oxford dictionary defines “presence” as: “the state or fact of existing, occurring, or being present in a place or thing.” Another way of defining “presence” from Inner Frontier is: “inhabiting our body, heart, and mind, inhabiting our space, inhabiting our actions and inhabiting our life, not just passively letting it all happen.”
While I might be somewhat of a “novice” and am just beginning to dip my toe in the art of presence, I have already experienced the life-changing impact that it has on my life and want nothing more than to help others experience it too. It is clear to me that it only takes a single moment to experience the power of presence in one’s life and feel its profound effects. Once the choice has been made to experience life with more ease and joy, it is something that anyone can do – you don’t have to have a PhD or be a guru, monk, therapist, licensed coach or anything other than what you are this very moment. You simply need to make the choice to inhabit your life actively, without judging it, and continue to make that choice each and every moment.
Up until about 6 months ago, I was a self- (and sometimes other-) diagnosed worrywart, perfectionist, depressed, bi-polar individual who struggled to be in the moment and enjoy life. From an outside perspective it might have seemed at times as if I was “living the dream” – traveling to foreign countries, having a nice job and living in a beautiful city. But, I struggled to find joy in it. I was lonely, sad, dissatisfied, and at times quite depressed. My thoughts and emotions often controlled me, at times leaving me paralyzed, angry, and confused.
One day, a friend of mine suggested a book to read and I jumped at the opportunity. The book is titled “The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer, and it suggested some not-so-new (but new to me) ideas around being in the present moment, creating space around my thoughts, and becoming more aware. This laid the foundation for the shift that was about to take place. I then read Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” immediately followed by “A New Earth” which became the building blocks for my new way of living.
After a few short months and making the daily choice to be more present, I found that I was not experiencing stress as I used to. I was significantly more at peace with my life situation and ease was found in nearly everything I did – from conversations with co-workers, to people and ideas coming into my life as if by magic.
In my experience, being mindful and choosing to live in a state of presence has reduced my stress and anxiety, brought more ease and joy into my life, improved the experience of my life situation, expanded my possibilities, helped me build resilience towards the challenges life throws my way and created space for creativity.
All we have is the here and now and I have learned that when I am open to the moment and honest and non-judgmental with myself, life becomes easier and more enjoyable. My situation didn’t change – I was still in a job I wasn’t thriving in, I was still without a life companion, I was still figuring myself out – but my awareness shifted and I became wholly accepting of each and every moment.
Psychology Today says, “the way to uncover brilliant sanity and to alleviate suffering is by going more deeply into the present moment and into ourselves as we already are, not by trying to change what is already going on.”
You don’t have to have 30 years of experience studying with Buddhist monks or a psychology degree to experience this sanity. I read a few books and articles and make a conscious choice each day to live in the now to the best of my ability – without judgment, without resistance, and without attachment. And, it has changed my life.
Can you recall a time when you chose to accept the present moment as opposed to resisting it? What was your experience when you made that choice?