As I sit here in presence, I notice something both beautiful and difficult to be with, it is what it is. In many ways, this moment is profoundly uneventful. It doesn’t cater to my comforts or my needs. It isn’t what I think it should be based on any of the beliefs that I hold. It is what it is, and unapologetically so.
Along my journey to eternal presence, I’ve had two major motivating energies. The first was what I would label as a calling. There was something deep within me that always lit up when a mystical topic was being discussed or was on TV. I felt goosebumps when I saw magic tricks or when I heard stories about miracles. The older I got, the louder the calling became so much so that when I decided to go on my own quest at age 20, I chose my destinations based on that feeling.
The second energy was how I coped with my trauma and my shadow. Growing up I felt lost in life. I felt like everyone else got a manual with instructions on how to do this human thing and I didn’t. The sense of being lost led to a feeling of shame and insecurity that was with me for most of my life. Pursuing enlightenment and eternal presence became an answer and a way to transcend having to feel those painful emotions.
As a result of these two energies, a large part of my presence practice has been seeking something awe-inspiring or trying to heal enough so that I don’t feel lost or shameful anymore. While there is nothing wrong with either of these intentions, neither of them gives space for life to be life. How can I be truly present with life if the entire time I am needing it to be magical? How can I be truly present with life if I need it to eradicate my discomfort and make me eternally peaceful?
Sitting in presence
The more I sit in presence, the more it reveals how unconditional it is. What I mean by this is the present moment doesn’t favor pleasure over pain. It doesn’t favor heat over cold. It is unconditionally itself. Returning back to my first sentence, as I sit with that, it is both beautiful and difficult to be with. Why? Because it shows me how conditional my presence is. How often I show up in life, even when I am being highly sincere, with conditions on my presence.
If I am feeling uncomfortable sitting in a silent room, I tend to check out. If I am feeling a turbulent emotion like the shame that I grew up with, I tend to check out. If I am feeling annoyed by the state of the world, I tend to check out. How do I check out? It may be as simple as thinking about yesterday or tomorrow. It may be that I start doing something else. It may be that I bury myself in work or throw on YouTube. Anything to get away from this moment.
Sometimes it is healthy to get away. Sometimes that’s exactly what my organism needs. However, I know in my heart when I am taking needed rest and when I am avoiding. I also recognize that being with certain parts of my shadow or working through my trauma is best done with supervision and may be counterproductive to enhancing my ability to be present.
Why does presence matter?
The question that I’ve often asked myself is (both as someone who is on a path of presence and one who coaches other people on that path), “why does being present matter?” The paragraph below is my answer. You can imagine me asking, “ok, why does that matter?” between every sentence.
Simply put, presence brings me into a greater connection to reality. When I’m in greater connection to reality, it gives me access to my intuitive and instinctual intelligence. It gives me access to more of my being. When I have greater access to my intuition and instinct, I begin the process of self-sourcing and becoming more sovereign in my life. When I am able to self-source and have more sovereignty, I increase my freedom to choose and it brings me into contact with my power (more energy). When I increase my freedom to choose and I am in contact with my power, I continue my maturation process and become an integrated and more fully developed human being. When I am more integrated and developed, I can interact with others in a more authentic way and learn to speak my truth, which increases self-awareness. The more I interact in an authentic way, speak my truth, and increase self-awareness, the more I foster a deeper connection and greater level of intimacy with myself and others. From here it sets in motion a positive feedback loop of deeper connection to reality, myself, and others that continually feeds itself. As this feedback loop continues, presence leads to an embodied sense of well-being, internal fulfillment, and wholeness. All of this process fosters growth and healing.
Overall, to me, presence is the ultimate ceremony. It is the ultimate retreat. It is the only practice someone needs to find themselves. If I sit, focus on what is here now, and stay, everything in my way to eternal presence and connection will arise. It will reveal all things that I have within me and all the ways I am not in harmony with reality. It does this by being unconditionally itself. My path to eternal presence is my path to unconditional presence and to a deeper connection to life.
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Harry Sherwood is a certified HeartMath® trainer, Circling facilitator, and wholistic life and stress management coach. Along the way, Harry has studied Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Kriya Yoga, HeartMath, Circling, Sports Nutrition, Sports Performance Coaching, Meditation, Mindfulness, and Psychology. The culmination of these experiences led Harry to found Consciously.org, where he and Melanie McDaniel guide people into presence, connection, and expanded awareness in mind, body, and spirit.