Being Present
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Christ in Majesty, Matthias Grünewald
Christ in Majesty, Matthias Grünewald.
March 2009

The Steward

A Sufi is a child of this moment.



Being present produces a new inner ‘Being’, a psychological entity that is simple and natural, as unassuming in wearing the crown of presence as a hermit with a halo. And as with all keys to understandings awakening, esoteric schools represent this new Being in many ways. A saint, a wise man, a sage, a Sufi, or in legendary names, the Buddha, Lao Tzu, Solomon, Gabriel, Heracles, to which Gurdjieff added the term of ‘Steward’. In each case, the name of this Steward does not represent a human identity, more the name of its role, the guardian against imagination and the servant of presence. Names disappear, fame or repute has no meaning, since the Steward has no self-concerns, wholly dedicated to guarding against one’s lower, animal-self, while serving as the bridge for the pure, intense consciousness of higher centers.


A Steward therefore has unity when one’s functions have none, resists where the mechanical tendency is to become identified, discriminates on which effort to make, sets aims when imagination is aimless, and disengages consciousness from the many I’s. Visual representations of the Steward show these attributes as symbols; the Tarot magician with his table, cup and dice, the Pharaoh with his crook, flail, his lock of hair and braided beard, the Desert father with his prayer book and beads, the Buddhist monk with his staff and begging bowl. The hero’s strength, cunning, endurance, the lover’s ardour, compassion and forgiveness, the saint’s wisdom, inner certainty and faith, all these attributes, these virtues develop from the Steward’s aim to awaken and the reward of Third Eye.


Yet while the Steward is developed by and for the sake of presence, it fades in relation to it, fades because of it. The Steward is ephemeral, since it is strong for the sake of presence, and disappears once presence emerges. Solomon was wise as a result of his higher centers, Heracles strong because of his; the Steward is an ultimate servant, intuitive, precise, and discrete when the occasion demands, profound in its management of the household, and at once humble when displaced by the master’s arrival. And it is right for the Steward to be this way; its primary aim is to awaken one in the moment, and as the moment is where reality resides, the rise in strength and ability of the Steward is momentary. The Steward does not develop into a permanent psychological trait, a fixed habit; within the same moment, it serves presence and then withdraws as presence emerges.
Being present is a moment to moment effort; an effort that comes from the persistence of the Steward. Come into the moment and stay there; whatever the distraction, a noise, a thought, an emotion, stay present. One way to develop a Steward is to persist in returning to the moment.
Remember, when your mind starts thinking, hold it and go back to Now. Stay in the moment, the moment is eternity.
Hindu Texts
“What is the steward's glory? Engaging the presence of the Third Eye.”