The Power of Being Present
Ever talk with people only to think, “They’re not really listening to me?”
When you are in the listening role, how present are you to the other(s)? Are you really listening or mentally
rehearsing what you will say in reply? Or perhaps even just judging what they are saying.
Ever been to a doctor who is so engaged with their computer, their screen, their documents,
clock-watching that you know for sure they are going through the motions of listening ie they are not
fully present. Oh of course it’s not really their fault, it’s the system! Or is it?
Or try this! You call a call-centre and it is so obvious with the number of times you are asked to repeat
the same information because the operator is simply not listening, not present, and following through a
computerised prompt checklist.
Then there are the “It’s all about me!” brigade who may be physically with you but so obsessed by their
own agenda they are blind to what is going on for you.
Or how about the moment when you are in the spa, you experience the "in-the-moment" bliss of standing
under the water chute, aware only of how you feel physically, emotionally, and with a deep sense of inner
The Benefits of Being Present, Living in the Now
You are comfortable in your own skin
You become more honest & open
You have increased vitality and energy
Peace brings joy, joy brings playfulness
You have less stress, lower blood pressure, sharper mind therefore better health
You are present-minded not absent-minded
Your performance under pressure is more focussed
Your listening and memory skills are greatly enhanced
You can deal with criticism and offer feedback in the moment
You stay open to hearing and learning, more patient and tolerant of difficulties
You resolve conflict more easily – you stay true to what is unfolding and not tied up with emotional baggage from the past
You make wiser, clearer decisions in that you respond to what is happening and not through habit, you are creative, not reactive
Past NOW Future
There are only three possible time frames – past, present and future. Once you become aware of the thoughts you are having and the content of those thoughts, you will notice which timeframe you are in at any given time… you will either be dwelling in the past, contemplating the future, or be totally here, now.
A call to the NOW
We need to learn individually and collectively to be more present – present to self, to each other, and what is going on in the world right now. The UK has become a nation of reviews and committees, seeking to dig up the past. All well and good if we learn from it and bring the learning into the present, the now. But we seldom do. So as a society, we are not present.
Presence is the quality of consciously being here, right now, in this moment, totally focussed not just on self but on what is going on. It is giving undivided attention. It is active listening – which is not just about “hearing” but about letting the other know that you are actually listening to THEM and not defaulting to your own agenda.
Presence is the activation of a higher level of awareness that allows all our other human functions – such as thought, feeling, and action – to be known to those with whom we are present.
How would someone know through your thoughts, feelings, and actions that you are truly present with them in the moment?
When we are present, we are in harmony with the other; when not in presence we leak and scatter our energy, our non-verbal language clearly shows we are not listening, we are bored, we are disinterested.
Presence is the way we occupy space, as well as how we flow and move with another within that space. I have a friend who loves talking “at” me about her life experiences and when I begin even just within one sentence to share mine, she will always yawn, look away, check her texts. She is suddenly so not present…unless the topic resonates as one of interest to her.
Presence is revealed through our degree of our alertness, openness, and warmth.
Presence is a common theme which runs through all the great spiritual and wisdom traditions and it has many names – awakening, recollection, Buddhist mindfulness, dhyana - in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism - an uninterrupted state of mental focus, remembrance – Sufi heart centred prayer, Islamic zhikr. It is rare in the third dimensional state of being for people to demonstrate this level of presence with others. But it is hugely needed to move away from the narcissistic societies to ones of humanity, compassion, and unity.
Being Present is what we experience when we are completely at peace with this very moment. We are “in the zone.” Our feelings are calm. Our mind is clear. We are attending to the moment. We are decisive. We know what we want. We know what’s right for us. We give others undivided attention. Our confidence is deep. We know and accept that we’re not perfect. But we are in our realness. We accept we have faults and we own them.
The simplest way to master being present is to practice the universal spiritual principle, originally taught by Jesus, but which works with anyone of any faith background and those of none. We learn that when we seek “peace first and results second,” we are naturally present, positive and centred.
To develop being present
Cease judging, avoid switching to your agenda when with others, stop assuming - can you know something is really true?
Keep checking in with yourself, “Am I giving this person, this situation, my undivided awareness” which is not the same as “thinking” about what is happening. It is attending to the moment. Dealing with the moment. Now!