On being present

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What does being present mean to you? How do you feel when you are in the present?

How do you stay in the present moment?

What would change if people around you were able to be in the present?




Alka Patel
Teacher
Essex, UK

To be present is to be able to be me. I thought I had to wear many hats and play different roles. But really being myself has made my work clearer and easier.

Being in the present moment is when you go looking for thoughts but they are not there. I hear and feel the stillness around me or the odd noise in the distance. All my senses are on alert, waiting for a reaction from a deeper place. It makes me realize that Heartfulness has made me present. There have been times when I haven’t kept to the practice and I have felt a build-up of heaviness from within, and repeated thoughts and drama play in the mind. I didn’t feel like myself, and these were warning signs.

If everyone around were present, we would listen to each other more. Actually listen and then respond. People would be less selfish and more considerate. There would be less anxiety, stress and less worried people. People would be in sync and work would be done efficiently. I know I would feel less disturbed in their presence. The environment would change. More positivity. More stillness. Therefore more connected.



Alla Revenko
Owner, Academy of Mindfulness
Kislovodsk, Russia

Being present means being able to feel rather than think, remember, analyze, plan or dream. Being present I donot think what I would like to  feel. I simply feel everything that comes my way. I may feel the chill of the air that bites my face. I feel wind that getsunder any clothing during the Russian winter. I feel my body! When I am in the present I can hear birds singing; however when I am deep in my thoughts I may not even notice the most beautiful song of a famous Russian songbird. I feel beauty and life around me only when I come out of thinking and return to life and to the present moment. I see beauty!

When I am in the present I feel my children and their condition right away. I am one with them in such moments. Thus I do not worry about them, do not control, do not teach them. I give away pure love and my attention. I enjoy!

When I am in the present moment along with my beloved, I feel deep love between human beings. I feel his live presence. I see his eyes. I am attentive to what he speaks about. I realize what he keeps silent about. I love!

My thoughts of past and of future just bring about more thoughts. Being in the present moment brings about a gift of Life.



Amir Imani
Therapist,
Certified Mindfulness Trainer
& Heartfulness Trainer

When we speak of being, the notion of presence is imbedded in the word. Whatever effortlessly we are is presence, be it high or low, inside or out. When traces of effort appear in our being, we are changing into a mode of doing, which in itself is a level of our presence, but an opportunity to let go of it, and feeling what is here. I like this practice of realizing what is unfolding and allowing it in, like a constantly inflating bubble of awareness and kindness.When this state of being  comes closest to the pulse of nature, then what remains is sheer compassion for what arises; a place to recognize that awareness and kindness are not two but really one, or at least closely attached twins. How can we separate knowing from loving in this state, when whatever arises stirs a deep sense of connection in us? Here, our mind has touched its depth where heart resides.

When did we ever leave the present moment? When did the fish leave the water?Or the bird the air? When we have known the infinite depth of silent heartful connection with ourselves, then everything is a part of that being. Then our turning away is a small fraction of the ocean of presence we are in, if we allow ourselves to be that (the turning away) at times, and let it in with a smile. Where else can we go if not here and now? That is all we have, when and where we are, even if spending it indulging in the past or future.

What would change if the people around were in the present? I think we would all laugh, cry and hug a lot more. These are some of the human responses to deep connection within, with others and our surroundings – the joy of being alive and in touch, the tears of feeling the pain of ourselves and others, and the gratitude for being human to feel. Finally, the embracing comes of its own when it does, and it is a bodily response to hold life and its manifests closer to heart, where they came from.



Bindu Mani
Retired Bank Manager & NGO Volunteer
Hyderabad, India

Being present means ‘just being’. Like the trees, plants, animals are just there, so also I am just there. I feel very happy to be in the present. Carefree, joyful, attending to things that need to be done, with no thought of likes and dislikes – enjoying everything that is to be done. In other words, ‘going with the flow’.

How do I stay in the present moment? By being internally connected 24/7 in the heart. I like to live in the present. It gives me tremendous joy. If people around me were able to be present, it would be wonderful! Each of us would be connected to One, and hence all of us would be t peace with ourselves. All of us would start looking and treating each other in a totally different way – no prejudice, no judgment, no expectation, so no acceptance would be required. There would just be love, and the environment would become more conducive for our growth and also for others who come in contact with us.



Connie Grogan
Medical Writer
Starnberg, Germany

Living in the present is the awareness of living in a state of Grace. There are moments of peace and beauty, but accepting suffering as a gift is also an essential part of living in the present. Living in the present requires a clear conscience. As impressions are cleaned over the years, the conditioned conscience from past religious, parental and social upbringing is replaced by divine conscience, so discrimination becomes more and more important.

I don’t think about staying in the present moment. I just do it. A daily meditation practice is essential. I like to swim, because all thoughts are lost in the sensations and movement. I like to walk, because there are always new points of beauty to notice. I like to cook, because the vegetables have nice colors and aromas and it makes me grateful. I even like to sweep my floor. I like to work at  my job, because I get immersed in the reading and writing.

One thing in the back of my mind is the story about Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur drawing a single line on his hand and pointing out that if there is no other line the way is clear and focused.  There is only single focus. If all were to live in an attitude of submission, the world would be perfect. There would be no war, no disease and no famine. There would only be love.



Jesal Mehta
Proprietor
Kolkata, India

Being present means not to be taken away from the moment by anything; to be fully involved in that moment. I think when we have total acceptance of what was, what is and what will be, then we can be totally in the present moment. Being in the present makes me feel more connected with everyone around me. I am also able to see people and situations from a new perspective.

I get inspired by children when I see them embrace every moment as it comes. It is natural for them. They are not bothered by the past, nor are they worried about the future. Unfortunately the same is not the case for grown-ups. But something that has helped me tremendously over the years is the simple practice of Heartfulness meditation. It allows the mind to remain settled and focused in the present moment. It has enlivened my existence.

I think we do justice to none but our own selves by being in the present. Else we deny ourselves the chance to learn and grow from what life has to offer us every moment. By being in the present we would complain less and appreciate more.



Joan Even
Adjunct Professor of Meditation Theory and Practice
Massachusetts, USA

Perched on the cliffs, looking out over the ocean, breathing, nestled in my heart, feeling a peace within me and a flow of gratitude moving through me. I am present and Nature is present for me. Driving my car, resting some attention in my heart, aware that I am alive and this life force is me and moves through me, I reach for my husband’s hand, he takes it. I feel an expansion, an openness … I am present and so is he. Mingling through the family holiday gathering, aware of an uncomfortable feeling of disconnect, an emptiness, a sadness in my chest. I breathe, rest my  attention on my breathing, and feel it. I nestle again in this peaceful place, allowing the calm, loving energy of my Nature to nourish me. Amidst the party, I stand there, quietly, slowly filling some of this sad space within me, with love. I am present. My daughter joins me, we share a piece of cake, we laugh … Rebecca is present with me.

Arriving home, some sadness remains, I sit in a quiet place to write this. My son, my college sophomore comes in, he sprawls his 6’3” frame awkwardly across my lap, gives me a hug, and says, “Thanks for everything mom.” Again, what happens when those around me are present.



Dr Hester O Connor
Clinical Psychologist
Ireland

Sometimes I feel that strangers are people I already know. I do not experience them as separate, as  ‘other’. There are times when I get this feeling during the day at work or at weekends when I am out and about. It is quite delicious to feel connected to others. I experience a softness or tenderness in how I perceive them when I am present like this. This feeling of being present is a quality of connectedness to self and others that is quite precious.

The image of a mountaineer recalibrating the direction of travel comes to mind. Doing my Heartfulness practice each morning is the best way I have found to help me to connect back with that heart space that is there, and it is especially useful when I notice I am being pulled out of my center and away from my heart. When I’m driving I mentally say, “Everything surrounding me is deeply absorbed in godly remembrance.” At work I say, “All are developing correct thinking, right understanding and an honest approach to life.” These suggestions help me connect via my heart with my surroundings, and I notice that I readjust in a very subtle manner as I relax into the feeling they evoke within. Physically I reconnect with my breath and slow down. Mentally the second suggestion seems to diffuse my edginess and helps dissolve my need to be ‘right’ in meetings. I can let things go more easily.

Being more in tune within myself seems to have an effect on others too. At work if I am centered and present, I tend to be softer and less rigid. In these moments I notice that it’s easier for all of us to behave in a more genial way with each other. Of course there are days when others are more present, and this has a really positive effect on me. I believe we are social beings to the core. We are deeply affected by each other more than we realize. The inner state of each one of us helps create our experience of the present moment together over and over each day. The more we can be present, the more harmony we can co-create together each day.


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  1. Viswanadha Sarma Vedula,8500739910 : May 24, 2018 at 9:43 am

    The above contents is expressly very well. Thanks so much.

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