Presence in the present moment

Practice being in the present moment

To be in the present moment should not be taken for granted. Of course, we are all in the present moment, but are we truly awake here? The present moment practice is not one's ordinary experience. It is to be here present with an unusually intense consciousness of being present and of what is present. So don't just take all this for granted; because there is a possible experience of being present that is quite extraordinary.

Important hints and aspects to remember in any present moment practice are as follows. First is breath. Being conscious in the flow of breath helps one be in the ongoing present moment, in the flowing continuity of time. Second, relax. Relax the breath, relax the mind, relax the feelings, and relax the body. Relax and let go of all the different kinds of tension, mentally, emotionally and physically. Third, be conscious in the body and senses.

Be conscious in this physical body and in this world. This does not mean that one has to be stuck in just the physical, or stuck in a physical identification, nor fixated on just the physical world. But it is important to be grounded in the earthiness of this world and body, as part of being fully present in the ongoing moment. Otherwise, the mind tends to drift in daydreams of the future or reminiscing of the past, which is so usual for most people that we tend to regard this as the normal.

Also, many spiritually inclined people tend to float in the clouds of imaginations and visions; and many psychology inclined people tend to be submersed in their emotional feelings and introspective thoughts. There is nothing inherently wrong about any of this, but we need to especially balance a rich emotional and mental life with being grounded in the senses and in the present moment of life.

So, after the initial stages of relaxing emotionally and letting go of one’s thoughts through dis-identification; one is now ready to be more intensely in the present moment.

Also important to note is that the present moment should not be thought of as a 'static point of time', but rather as a flow; so it might be more appropriate to speak of awakening in the present flow of time, or in the ongoing flow of here and now.

In order to remain conscious in the present flow, it is useful to also practice conscious breathing, which involves keeping some degree of awareness on our breath. This has also been called observing the breath. In meditation one can practice observing the breath and nothing else, but in everyday life practice we keep just some degree of awareness on our breath as we walk or do things. Conscious breathing keeps us conscious in the present flow of time, because breath is always in this present flow.

Remember the purpose of this practice, which is to be fully here and present with as much consciousness as possible. It is to be conscious here and now, and continue being conscious in the ongoing present flow of time. This is called a spiritual practice, or sometimes called a 'work', because it does require some effort and will to get here and sustain consciousness in this ongoing present flow. For without some degree of will and intentional practice, the mind often has a tendency to drift away from the present moment and into past or future thinking, worry, or fantasy. So we need to train the mind to be here and develop the mind’s latent capacity to be fully present. This is also partly what self transformation is about, a transformation of self into the present moment.

Awake in the Present

Being fully here in the present moment is being fully present in the here and now. It is to be fully awake, open, and accepting of the moment and what it has to offer. Each moment is like a gift, so we don't want to miss it.

Being present often takes some degree of work and will to be and stay in the present moment, because there is a tendency of the non-unified mind to continually drift away from being present. We might even have developed strategies for avoiding a direct experience and understanding of the present moment. So in some sense, it takes some courage to be in the present moment and really experience what is here, both inside oneself and in the outer world around oneself.

Yet being fully present is not merely a receptive or passive practice. It is not just simply being an observer or listener, nor is it necessarily walking about with an attitude that everything is always perfect, such that there never is any needed response to the moment except for praise. For at many times there is a need for an active response, and sometimes this needed response is to help transform or improve the moment at hand. Hopefully this response will be from our inner centre of conscious love.

This does not mean that we necessarily have to make an active response in every present situation. For in many moments the right response may be no response, or just simple listening or perception. We do not always have to be responding or making some action in every moment. But as part of the practice of being fully present, one needs to be ever ready to give an active response to the immediate world, if a response is felt to be needed. One kind of active response in the present moment could be called self-presence. This has many aspects, but it could be understood as being especially awake, present, alert, and ready to respond (with love and intelligence) in each moment.

So there is this responding aspect of being present, which is our possible response to the present moment or to the world as given. The question is, can we respond lovingly and intelligently to that which is given in any present moment? Also, can we respond with the full presence of our being, with the fullness of our present consciousness, love, intelligence, and will?

Conscious presence

We are only really alive consciously when we have conscious presence, or conscious being. This is a higher level of being, than merely walking around in mechanical being. But conscious being requires an extra amount of effort, or energy, though this is a subtle kind of effort. It is the effort to be conscious and present in this moment. And it is possible to be full of conscious presence in any moment, whether it be in mediation or in relationship with the world.

Be present each moment to your being, your breath, and to the world at hand.

Become fully alive with consciousness and sensitivity of your body, mind, feelings, as well as the ground below you and the environment around you. Be in contact with this world through sensitivity, while transcending and permeating this world through consciousness.

To be fully alive and present is to be conscious of one’s presence within the presence of the world, the presence of life. One finds the Divine Presence in oneself and in others, and once found can be shared through one’s encounters, work or play. The Divine Presence is found in our own presence as we awaken to it, and it is shared through our presence of love and the qualities there of. This is how the Divine Presence is spread into the world. It is through the conscious human being that the Divine finds receptivity and ways of expression.

How we live life and how we work or express ourselves is at least equally important as to what we do.

Love in expression can take on many forms, but it is essentially the same way. Love has an essential presence that is transmitted and carried within an action or expression. Without this presence of love carried through expression, an act of creativity or an encounter is without value from the Divine perspective. It is merely an automatic, conditioned reaction to existence, which does not carry life forward in evolution toward Divine fulfillment.

Recovery from being scattered and fragmented

If we were to sum up what is the main problem with our regular life, from a spiritual perspective, it is our awareness being scattered in so many diverging directions. Our mind is all over the place. Sure, we are often focused on one thing, and it is usually good to be focused, but then the mind gets diverted off in another direction. Maybe this doesn't sound like much a problem. Maybe each divergent area of focus as a good justification. Also it might be argued that contemporary life is complex, and so a person must deal with many facets. This is true. Complexity, diversity and 'many-ness' is a fact of our lives.

The problem is that, because of this, our consciousness gets scatttered and fragmented; we, our self, get absorbed and lost in all these many directions or phenomena of life. It is as though each different attraction or 'need' is like a sponge soaking up some of our consciousness. It is as though each of these attractions or 'needs' break off a small piece of our total consciousness, so that our sum of consciousness is fragmented into so many pieces.

And because of this fragmentation of consciousness, there is seldom a wholeness of consciousness. Yet we need to return to our self-wholeness; the lost and scattered parts of ourself need to return back together, reuniting into wholeness. We need a time when nothing is soaking up or fragmenting a part of our consciousness, and nothing is distracting the whole presentness of consciousness; that is, a time when we are all here, when 'I' am all here, rather than being pieced and parted all over the place. We might call this the 'gathering of oneself', or the 'return to one-self', the regathering and return to wholeness of consciousness.

This is also a rediscovery of the Unity, instead of being lost in the fragmentation and separate pieces of life. This is a great goal: to hold a unity consciousness while moving and acting through our life. It is retaining a larger, unfragmented consciousness while living in this pluralistic and complex world; as much as possible, not letting our consciousness get fragmented and lost in whatever little attraction or need presents itself. Hold on to this larger, whole consciousness, and develop an ability to move through the ordinary world without losing this whole and unified consciousness. This is the profound spiritual practice.

We can even raise the level of meaning here, or enlarge the level of consciousness, by opening to an even larger wholeness of consciousness, the greater Self-Consciousness (or some degree of God-Consciousness). Now we are speaking about an even higher spiritual practice, which is an even greater level of unity and wholeness of consciousness. More is coming together into Unity. This a great spiritual work, for those who can understand and practice this. It is bringing all parts and pieces into unity and wholeness. In the final level of experience, there is a great unity and wholeness of God. And everything becomes finely connected and related.