“If you’re not here, you’re nowhere” – Baron Baptiste
Picture yourself sitting in a classroom, listening to a lecture. You know that the material in the lecture is important for the upcoming, test, but you seem distracted; you can’t fully concentrate or listen. You hear the instructor’s words, but you’re not deciphering them; they just seem to be sounds emanating in and out of your consciousness. Maybe you’re thinking of the tough day you had; maybe you’re thinking about going food shopping after class. Maybe you’re distracted because your car is in the shop, and you must find other means of transportation all week. Maybe you’re thinking of everything and anything else besides the content of the lecture. In reality, your physical body is present in the classroom, but your mind is elsewhere.
In the classroom setting, you may be marked present by the instructor, but you know you missed most of what she said in her lecture. You may have even looked as if you were interested in her talk, but your mind was filled with all kinds of other chatter that kept you from being fully present in the moment.
Presence transcends the physical body, and it involves much more than turning off your cell-phone and muting the television. You may even ask yourself how you can become more present? Is it just being a good listener? Is it just about unplugging and being attentive? Being present means that you de-clutter the mind and be with what is. It means ceasing the chatter and ceasing the struggle within yourself.
One helpful way to declutter the mind is through meditation. Mediation is a powerful practice that can initiate presence. Meditation allows you to focus on the breath and to let go of thoughts and energy that distract you. Mediation also allows you to press the restart button and begin again at any moment. When you realize you have disconnected during meditation, you can always come back.
Meditation is practice for your every day experiences as well. When you feel disconnected in your life, in your relationships, or at work, you can always press the reset button and come back to the present moment.
Week One in the 40 Days to Personal Revolution awakens you to the “underlying factors that are contributing to wherever you feel stuck in your life.” Presence means awakening to the underlying factors that contribute to your outward behaviors. If you feel controlled by your problems or by stress, the issue is not of “powerlessness” but of awakening to the “power within yourself.” Presence allows you to awaken to new insights about your behaviors, emotions, and reactions and opens you to new possibilities for inquiry.