Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Lesson in Presence

Lately I have been pondering presence and what it really means.

Don't dwell in the past.

Don't wait for the future.

Okay, but how to actually practice it? Never think about the past or the future? Not gonna happen. How often have you been driving and got to your destination and have no idea how you got there or had your kids have to shake you to get your attention because your mind was a million miles away? I can't count the times I have stabbed myself in the eye with a mascara wand or failed miserably at a very easy Sudoku puzzle by not being present.

Presence isn't just about paying attention. It is paying attention with intention, being fully there in what you are doing and single-tasking in a multitasking world. Meditation is a great way to learn the art of presence and it is the practice that has helped me the most.  

So, I have been working on being present and the results have been pretty amazing. I am much more aware of the other drivers who are driving while dwelling. My kids no longer sound like Stewie from Family Guy... Mom mom mom Momma momma momma...Mother mother mother. I'm no longer afraid of poking my eye out and I can do very hard Sudoku puzzles without cheating. 

I knew that I was truly getting the presence thing on a recent walk. Not only was I able to appreciate the beauty around me without thinking that I should be paying attention to the beauty around me, but, well it is easier to show than to tell...

This is a single branch of white leaves on an oak tree. I wonder how many people have walked by and never seen this miracle of nature.

I spotted this chipmunk from far enough away from us that we could edge up on it and get some great photos.

I doubt that I would seen these things if I had not been fully present. By learning to be present I have given myself a wonderful gift. 

How do you stay present and what magical things have you discovered by being present?

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