What is Presence?
Presence arises when your essential nature -Awareness, awakens to itself in this moment. Awareness is beyond space and time, beyond life and death. It is omnipresent- everywhere and nowhere, it is the formless dimension from which all things arise. When you are present, you let go of past and future. You surrender to the moment. There is no resistance to what is. Being present is not only about being aware of what is happening on the level of form, it is being aware of the very space in which all forms come and go.
Most people have had moments when they recognized Presence, even if they didn’t call it that. Have you ever had the experience of watching a sunset? The world became still and all thoughts disappeared as you sat in awe of the beauty unfolding before you. Or perhaps you have had the experience of running a race, skiing or riding your bike and suddenly you entered “The Zone” where you were one with everything, and your movements were effortless. Or when looking into the eyes of a newborn baby or your beloved, have you ever felt yourself melting into them until all sense of separation dissolved and you experienced Oneness? In all these situations, Presence emerged as you became liberated from identification with the thinking mind and surrendered into the direct experience of The Now.
For most people, Presence is something that is rare and fleeting. Instead of living in the Now, they listen to the incessant barrage of thoughts of the “thinking mind.” It constantly creates a story- judging, evaluating, and labeling as it fixates on a remembered past or an imagined future. The cost of living in thoughts of past and future is missing out on of the only thing that is truly real- Life itself, the Present Moment. How can you awaken from this delusional dream of identification with mind and discover the clarity and peace of present-moment awareness?
There are many forms of meditation that involve controlling the mind, trying to force it to be quiet. If you have ever tried to meditate, you may have experienced the mind resisting this agenda of control. Adyashanti, a self-realized master, observed during his 15 years of Zen meditation that he, too, was often at war with his mind. When he recognized the futility of battling with the mind, he developed a powerful new approach he calls “True Meditation.”
True Meditation is based on the understanding that Presence is your natural state. In essence, you are spacious Awareness. Awareness resists nothing and accepts everything-thoughts, emotions, sense perceptions, events, as they arise. True Meditation, honors this open receptivity. You learn to accept everything going on around you and within you exactly as it is in this moment. You do not reject anything that arises because the mind has a different idea about what meditation should look or feel like. Nor do you utilize any technique to create some kind of preconceived meditative state. There is no manipulation necessary. By aligning with your essential nature through the unconditional acceptance of what is, spiritual wakefulness is arrived upon naturally.
Another aspect of True Meditation is meditative self-inquiry. Meditative self-inquiry is the introduction of a powerful spiritual question that resonates within you in such a way that it “points” to the Truth of who you are. It is not a question that serves to stimulate the mind, instead it draws the attention into a realm beyond thought, where the mind is bypassed and you, as Pure Consciousness, behold Ultimate Truth. A couple of powerful questions to begin with are, “What am I?” or “Who is the meditator?”
3 Steps to Inner Peace
Presence is your true nature. Yet today, most people live lost in the mind’s story of a separate “me,” defined by past and future- both are unreal and exist only in the head. These 3 steps can be very helpful in shifting from identification with the mind into present-moment awareness.
First, notice when you are caught in a mind-stream of incessant thoughts, creating a story about past and future, and losing touch with what is real- the Present Moment.
Second, remain open and allow a relaxed, unconditional acceptance of what is, both internally and externally, in each moment.
Third, use self-inquiry to deepen the emerging Presence. Possible inquiries include, “What am I?”, “What never changes?”, “Who or what tells me I am not free?”
As you catch glimpses the your “True Self” during meditation sessions and recognize you are not being separate from the world “out there,” you will begin to notice this awareness spilling over into your life as a whole. You begin to realize that the world of form- physical forms, thought forms, energy forms, emotional forms, is ultimately an elaborate dream being dreamt by the eternal One Consciousness that you are. Suddenly, the world loses the scary, heavy quality it had when it was understood to be an absolute reality. You begin to live from a place of inner peace and tranquility.