Your fingertips. Your eyebrows. Where the air meets your skin. Where your clothes fall on your body. Where your body rests on your chair. The sounds in the forefront. The sounds in the background. Your thoughts.
Not your yearnings. Not your next step. Just, the now.
One of the goals of a presence meditation is to sew together everything that is separate and begin to see it as one. One moment, one truth. When you focus on all of the little details that make up one second, you’re able to recognize it not as several little things happening on their own, but as a whole—and you are able to appreciate it as such.
To me, presence is freedom. It’s freedom because it’s the only thing that I can be absolutely sure of. But then as soon as it’s gone, I’m sure of it no more.
If that sounds deep or heavy—think back to a time in your life when you felt truly present, truly aware, truly alive. Now, try to describe that moment to me in every tiny detail.
You may be able to recall the big parts, the parts that affected you most emotionally. But it’s likely you can’t remember what you may have seen out of the corner of your eye, or may have heard deep in the background. In that moment, you could feel every part that made up that second, but now it’s fleeting and it’s just a dream; a memory; an idea.
That’s freeing because it’s a reminder that in one moment I experienced it, but it’s not up to me to try and control it from the future. It’s up to me to experience the next second, the next moment, as fully as I can to get the most of my experiences.
My present is empowering because If I’m doing it right, I am fully experiencing it. I’m not wishing for what it isn’t, I’m not wanting it to be something else. Instead, I bring it attention and I am letting it fill my body with the sweetest gifts and lessons.
The truth of the present? You can’t always be in it. You’re going to slip up. You’re going to wish for something better. You’re going to dwell on what came before.
And you know what else?
The present is not always good.
The present is a mere moment, one that you can only have in that moment and then it’s gone again. Just like a cycle of inhale and exhale; the present fills you and leaves you and refills again.
I touch on this lesson of presence this week because I’ve had a hard time sticking with this practice lately. I’ve been wishing for and wanting for and focusing on wounds of the past. So what’s my presence now? The sound of my keyboard. The warmth of my couch. The stiffness in my leg from the weird way I have it positioned. The sound of the fan in the bathroom, and the dryer going in the distance. When I read this back to myself tomorrow, those details won’t mean much to me. But now, it’s the moment I reminded myself to experience all, however exceptional or mundane. It’s the moment I remembered what was important.
When I breathe life into my seconds,
my seconds last a lifetime and that lifetime
is full, rich, and free of “what if?”
I am empowered by my present,
because when I’m present I have full experiences.
Have a happy & healthy week!