Being Present To Your Own Life

What does it mean to be present to our lives? We have been habituated to passing through our life with little or no presence. Yes, we are aware of things; we can focus on things and direct our attention to details or panoramas. But to be present means something more: it means to be aware of the external world in which one is acting and simultaneously observe how one’s inner world is stimulated by the external world.

The awareness that accompanies us throughout the day is automatic. But to go beyond this level of awareness requires an intentional effort, an effort that can only come from ourselves and be sustained by ourselves. Because it is not automatic, however, we need to learn how to make this effort, and have help sustaining it.

In order for a system of awakening to be truly practical, each person must be able to verify that its techniques work for them. To verify means to demonstrate to oneself that something is true or not true. As the foundation of spiritual work, verification enables a person to acquire a direct relationship to awakening. Spiritual work reveals whether or not you are awake or asleep in the moment.

The simplicity of presence is one of the main things that keep us from attaining it more regularly. We may try to be present, and either not notice that it has occurred, or if we do, then fail to notice when it has slipped away. It takes time and effort to see that being present to our life is more important than the passage of events in our life.

Simple does not mean easy. The notion that being in “the now” has something to do with “going with the flow” and passing from experience to experience in a passive state of mind does not lead to presence. There is no such thing as “going with the flow”; there is no conscious flow. We are present for brief durations each time we make an intentional effort to be present. When presence recedes we must again make an intentional effort. Without effort, presence will not remain.

Simple also does not mean indefinite. The momentary taste of presence, of the awareness of oneself in the moment, is the most specific and most definite experience that we ever have. It often happens that we associate a moment of presence with the circumstances that surrounded it rather than with presence itself. Because of this we can spend time trying to recreate an external experience, hoping it will evoke presence again. By making persistent efforts to be present, we come to understand that being present to an experience is different from going through the experience. Along with this, we must also begin to learn what is not presence. In this way we can come to understand when a line of effort is not yielding any results. It also means learning to recognize when something within us tries to masquerade as presence.

After gathering some moments of presence, as well as gathering experiences of struggling and failing to reach presence, one comes to understand the importance of finding ways to be more present more often. One comes to understand that without presence there is no real life, only an imaginary life. Presence is divine. It is the divine spark that brings us to that Great Pearl, our Higher Self.