Becoming A Master In Presence
“We are constantly aware of a certain duration — the spacious present — varying from a few seconds to probably not more than a minute and this duration is the original intuition of time.” — William James
the state or fact of existing, occurring, or being present.
presence of mind the ability to remain calm and take quick, sensible action
existing or occurring now
1 (usu. the present) the period of time now occurring: they are happy and at peace, refusing to think beyond the present.
This talk of presence is a popular one but what does it mean to really be present? What does it feel like to truly be present? Why are they ‘happy and at peace, refusing to think beyond the present?’ Why indeed do I even want to become a master of presence?
I think that I would want to become a master of presence because truthfully this time now (also known as the present) — is all that exists. It is everything. So why does my mind constantly jitter here, there, and everywhere!? My natural state of being is not so natural after all.
I read somewhere that any time you are thinking about the future, you are projecting your worries into a moment of time that does not even exist yet. So really I am creating anticipation for events. The amount of times that I am creating negative thoughts about the future and worrying about the future are countless! And any time I am thinking about the past I am just remembering a moment that has passed. So both of these moments, the past, and the future, do not really exist other than inside my mind. The state of the present then, is what it means to be here now within my mind. The only real moment that exists — but why is it the only real moment that exists?
We experience life through the medium of our senses. We hear, smell, touch, see, and taste to get by and there is never a moment that we are not using our senses. In order to be present requires us to use our senses and we cannot use our senses in the future or in the past. When I am thinking of the future, I cannot project experiencing through my senses into the future and feel what it feels like to be there; it is just an anticipation. Likewise, when I try to feel something from the past, I can only imagine it but cannot feel myself precisely in that moment. So, the past and the future really do exist only within our minds.
I wonder what it feels like to experience life within a clear moment of presence. The point is not to suddenly acquire this state of being present, no, it doesn’t work like that. The purpose is to continuously acquire presence. I don’t believe that you have to be stressed to make good decisions. I do believe that when you are in a state of presence you can make very clear and wise decisions because you are not reacting from the emotional and physical sensation of stress. You are acting from a state of calm in order to make “quick, sensible action.” So why would anyone not want to become a master of presence?
All of this information is great to know and to hold within my mind but the map is not the destination. Just because I have this knowledge does not mean I know what it feels like to become a master of presence. Just because I am reading this now, it does not mean that I am one. To fall deeply into presence from experience is the only true way and in order for this to happen, requires effort. Nothing can be achieved without action. I am not here because I think that it would be a great idea to become a master in presence, I actually intend to become one.
So then, what am I doing in order to become a true master in presence? This work involves internal contemplation, it really is nothing outside of myself. I started meditating and it was kind of hard to begin with. For someone not used to spending moments in solitude with their thoughts, it’s not going to be an ‘easy’ feat. These are just judgements though so I persevere. Sometimes it seems like the meditation has no affect on my life but I know that is not true. So I sit, every day for 15 minutes on my own. I can see the changes within myself already, with the way that I interact with people, with the way I interact with myself. Life seems a lot calmer, I can’t imagine life without meditation really. It has been so good to me, and not only to me but to other people for my actions have changed.
No more erratic communication or decisions. No more being offended by what people say. I have a choice now to act or to react and I prefer to act. Emotions are so illusory and when I can see that, by being present, I hold the choice in my response. I am satisfied within my lifestyle now. I know that for me, the intention of my meditation is to cultivate presence. I’m doing this for me, who knew that there exists another way of living in this world? It feels like I’ve reached a new level on another plane of existence. I always knew that there was more to life. The more exists, only within my own mind and I am the only one who can achieve it. Experience it. Share it. Be it. Presence. They say that the layers are infinite, and so I continue to discover and learn more about myself as each day goes by.
I am the adventure. The adventure is me. There are so many distractions of the world outside of myself but the deepest secret lies within. The most precious beauty that ever did exist, exists when I do the work internally on myself, as I improve my mind. Cultivating awareness. Mastering presence. This life is mine for the taking and how much I want to discover about myself is up to me. Nobody else. I will put in the work because I feel the results. Experience is everything. Everything is experience.
So, what am I waiting for? If I wanted to resist this effort it would be so easy. The truth is that it takes time and effort but I know that it is so worth it my dear. Time to get down to that meditation now. There is so much more to be revealed to me as my journey continues…
“We can perceive the present or perceive something as present. But although we perceive the past, we do not perceive it as past, but as present.”— The Experience and Perception of Time, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy