Presence: The Quality of Consciously Being Here

Kabir Helminski

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Awakin FeatureA common theme runs through all the great spiritual traditions. It goes by many names – awakening, recollection, mindfulness, dhyana, remembrance, zhikr, presence – and by no name at all. This state of consciousness adds further dimensions to being in this world. Beyond the narrow band of awareness that has come to be accepted as the conventional state of consciousness is a faculty that is the master key to unlocking our latent human potential.

In certain teachings, such as Buddhism, the practice of mindful presence is the central fact. In Islam remembrance is the qualifier of all activity. In Christianity we must look to the experience of its great mystics and to prayer of the heart. But in all authentic spiritual psychologies this state of consciousness is a fundamental experience and requirement. For the purposes of our reflection I shall call it presence.

Presence signifies the quality of consciously being here. It is the activation of a higher level of awareness that allows all our other human functions – such as thought, feeling, and action – to be known, developed, and harmonized. Presence is the way in which we occupy space, as well as how we flow and move. Presence shapes our self-image and emotional tone. Presence determines the degree of our alertness, openness, and warmth. Presence decides whether we leak and scatter our energy or embody and direct it.

Presence is the human self-awareness that is the end result of the evolution of life on this planet. Human presence is not merely quantitatively different from other forms of life; humanity represents a new form of life, of concentrated spiritual energy sufficient to produce will. With will, the power of conscious choice, human beings can formulate intentions, transcend their instincts and desires, educate themselves, and steward the natural world. Unfortunately, humans can also use this power to exploit nature and tyrannize other human beings. This potency of will, which on the one hand can connect us to conscious harmony, can also lead us in the direction of separation from that same harmony.

I have been speaking of presence as a human attribute, with the understanding that it is the presence of Absolute Being reflected through the human being.[...]. Because we find it extending beyond the boundaries of what we thought was ourselves, we are freed from separation, from duality. We can then speak of being in this presence.

Seed questions for reflection: How do you relate to the double-edged nature of presence? Can you share a personal story of a time when you found presence extending beyond your own boundaries? What practice helps you apply presence constructively?

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4 Previous Reflections:

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    On Feb 13, 2016 Tammy wrote:

     Michael Singer, in his book the Untethered Soul talks of this, I believe.  I have named this part of my being "She Who Sees All" (with the added implication, within,of: "and does not judge".  THANK YOU for your time and efforts. :)


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    On Feb 9, 2016 Manuel wrote:
    And then we wake up and learn to truly live ... looking like increasingly harmonize with the Universe ...
    M.Castrillo

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    On Feb 9, 2016 PIUS wrote:

     When I become fully present Now, in body,mind and spirit, I get a glimpse of eternity already in the  Now


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    On Feb 7, 2016 david doane wrote:
    The past houses regrets and happy memories.  The future holds worry and dreams.  Only the present is alive.  It is only here and now that I am.  I can do good or bad only in the present.  I can remember what I did or didn't do in the past, and I can imagine what I will or won't do in the future.  Only in the present can I take action, and that action can be either constructive or destructive, which may be one aspect of the double-edged nature of presence.  Another aspect of the double-edged nature of presence is that it is both a privilege and responsibility.  The present is mine to enjoy and suffer.  Becoming more deeply aware that we are one has fostered my awareness that presence extends beyond my own boundaries.  I and all that is, animate and inanimate, co-exist in the present and are my present to interact with and be responsive to.  Remembering that all that is is one fosters my compassion and helps me be present constructi... [View Full Comment]

    The past houses regrets and happy memories.  The future holds worry and dreams.  Only the present is alive.  It is only here and now that I am.  I can do good or bad only in the present.  I can remember what I did or didn't do in the past, and I can imagine what I will or won't do in the future.  Only in the present can I take action, and that action can be either constructive or destructive, which may be one aspect of the double-edged nature of presence.  Another aspect of the double-edged nature of presence is that it is both a privilege and responsibility.  The present is mine to enjoy and suffer.  Becoming more deeply aware that we are one has fostered my awareness that presence extends beyond my own boundaries.  I and all that is, animate and inanimate, co-exist in the present and are my present to interact with and be responsive to.  Remembering that all that is is one fosters my compassion and helps me be present constructively.

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