The gift of presence
I heard someone say recently that the highest expression of gratitude we can give is our attention. “Giving” our attention to someone is the best way to honor their existence. This is because our presence is so precious.
Presence, by my definition, is all about attention…and awareness. It is measured by the level of one’s consciousness or ability to be cognizant, embodied, available to the here and now. When we come fully into our own being, we are not wandering mentally, we are not distracted emotionally. We are attuned to all of our senses at once.
Our full presence and attention, when given to another
is an exquisite gift to give indeed.
But what about being present to ourselves?
Learning presence is a practice, mostly of recognizing when we are not present!
Directing our presence inward involves a willingness to be wherever we are, doing whatever we are doing, returning continually to the experiential reality
within and around us.
It is about observing, noticing, and surrendering to that which is beyond our control. Because when we are present with what is, we are not trying to change it. We are not trying to understand it. We are just experiencing, witnessing, which opens us up to the unlimited potential of our participation.
When we are fully present to ourselves, we cannot help but tap into the fact that we are infinite beings living in a finite world.
A world of impermanence where one moment ends so that the next can take over until all our moments run out and we are embodied no longer.
There is beauty in the immediacy of this truth.
Personally? This is what makes me want to really be here.
Because whenever I tune into the fleeting nature of time and life, my humanity rolls around inside itself looking for its edges.
I have to feel my boundaries, my limits, to push up against the places that define me. And then push past them to feel the vastness of eternity.
I love this.
I long for the fullest expression of my beingness possible.
I want to taste what can’t be tasted. I want to come in so fully and completely
that I have no room for doubt or hesitation.
There is no wrong move that could possibly be made.
There is no way to disregard the magic of the moment, or not see the perfection of all things even within the imperfection of my perception.
Or (especially) my stunted attention.
Because presence is a high art.
We cannot expect ourselves to never wander into contemplation.
Or to forget who we truly are beyond the small form that peeks out at us from inside
the mirror, each other, nature.
We are made to see ourselves in everything,
and we are made to forget that it is always ourselves that we are seeing.
But in order to appreciate the ecstasy of coming home, we have to do our time wandering around outside ourselves
bumping into our own shadow
curling into the pain we came here to heal and process
then unfurling the onion layers that pretend to be us.
Because we are so much more.
It is through presence that we learn this.
Through staying when we want to flee,
feeling when we want to be numb,
pinning down the monkey mind that wants to run
It is perhaps the most impeccable thing we can do,
to give ourselves the attention we most yearn for.
To cultivate our ability to be present, even a little bit every day.
And only then are we able to truly gift it to another anyway.