Being Present

There was a light wind in the air. The morning thrush is singing its song. There was a trace of frost on the grass blades. Sapphire (‘Saffy’ for short) ran into the middle of the field and stood still. You could see no movement apart from the raising and relaxation of her chest as she breathed. Very occasionally, there was a slight twitch on her hindquarters. She then sat down and continued her gaze towards her front. Her guardian walked right by her and she looked back. He knelt by her and said, “What’s up? What do you see?” She gazed at him with her soft eyes, seemingly unfocused and yet, acknowledging his presence. He could see that all her senses were alert but not committed to any action. She was ready but not responding to her surrounding stimulus. She stood still not because she saw something. She was just being present.

Can you recall the last time when you were wholeheartedly, truly and without a doubt present for someone or yourself? In this busy world of ours, where Fast is the new Big, endless distractions ranging from everyone shouting for attention to the tiny device in your hands feeding your addiction to engage with it and the seemingly increased levels of hustle/bustle, demands and stress that comes with it, do you search for that little slice of heaven where you are able to listen to another or yourself with your not just your ears and mind but your soul? Can you?

It is often that we ‘engage’ with the environment. What we see and hear is often used for interpretation for a response. When you observe a situation, it invariably elicits a response. For example, if you are driving, you have to be extremely responsive to all the cars around you to avoid an accident. That is normal and essential for survival. So, in a way, you are present. However, the need for that particular type ‘being present’ is to respond. This type of ‘present to respond’ is often important, useful and needed for us to survive and thrive in life. We need to be present to respond to others and situations.

Sometimes, there are situations that do not demand our response, just our presence. If you are not aware, in those situations, even if you are present, your response may negate the value and the interaction. Sometimes, being present for someone or something does not require your input at all, just your presence. In reality, it can be difficult for anyone to be fully present in the first place, much less be present for the sake of being present. When was the last time you took conscious effort to clear your mind and were ready to accept whatever the person or situation in front of you had to say? (You may find it is not so much in introducing new ideas to your mind but more of letting go of old concepts you have.) When you do that, you are no longer listening with your ears to their words nor seeing with your eyes to their actions/reactions. When you do so, you are interacting with your soul to their soul. When souls meet, no words or actions are necessary. The intent will be clear enough.

When you give the gift of your presence, the receiving party is not the only one who is gaining. You gain it too. This is a gift that when given, you can feel the gift presenting to yourself as well. It allows you an opportunity to glimpse within yourself, even if it is only a few moments. Your external façade is stripped away, your defences torn apart and your vulnerability exposed. The feeling is extremely subtle and yet can be powerful and in some cases, overwhelming. When you do so, the other party may not feel it if their soul is hidden under layers of presumptions, bias and self-limiting beliefs due to past experiences. We all have a past and are at different stages of our journey. However, you will benefit. It may be worth doing practising being present just for that.

Remember that being present may not require you to provide a response. Someone wise said that we are human ‘beings’, not human ‘doings’. Being present is a state of ‘be’, not ‘do’. Another important person you may choose to be present for is yourself. When was the last time you carved time out to be present with yourself? I am not referring to talking to yourself (most, if not all thoughts are questions you ask yourself. Think about it…). I am referring to being completely present for yourself. Meditation and mindfulness are some ways that many have adopted to do so. It involves dampening the racing thoughts in your head, calming your brain down to take a break from thinking (usually full of stress and worries) and stepping into your soul, almost like saying ‘Hi, what’s up?’ to an old friend. Giving yourself the opportunity and task of your own presence may seem inane, pointless or even ridiculous. However, when you do so, you get connected closer to your true, authentic self, your sovereign soul.

It allows you to reconnect with the bit of you that govern your life when you were a child. The bit that provided the vitality in life was obscured by experiences (usually traumatic, whether micro or macro) as time passes. It will allow you not only to be reminded by the huge life force that was given to us that provided the first breath but possibly, step into the power that was you as a child. It may remind you of your dreams you had long forgotten but still desire deep down in your heart, explaining much of the pain you may be currently facing. It may also explain why you find joy in what you do at present. At a minimum, it will allow you to see you, to be you as you see yourself, not what the world sees you (to be more precise, what you perceive the world to see you). You are just you, spending time with the only person you are guaranteed to spend the rest of your life with.

The more you practise that, the more you can extend the gift of your presence to others. By allowing your soul to communicate with other souls, you cannot help but raise the energy in all. Sapphire gives her gift of her presence to her world, herself and her guardian. Who would you give yours to?

‘Gratitude is an essential part of being present. When you go deeply into the present, gratitude arises spontaneously.’ -Eckhart Tolle

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