Listening to a case recently, I heard the therapist ask, “Are you willing to be present here with me?” What if this is presence? “Being present” often implies that we should be different from how we are in this moment. That’s being “absent” in the pursuit of “presence.” “I need to get a life.” What if you are life? What if how you are now is the perfect expression of your life as it is unfolding in this moment? What if you don’t need to get a life, but are living it right now? What if this is your life right now?
Yeah, your attention wandered. What if that is the expression of who and how you are now. We regard presence as something we need to find in some other place or time else. But your presence isn’t anywhere else. You didn’t lose your presence. Presence is how you are now, here.
When we think of “being” present, we are wanting ourselves to be some other way, feel some other feeling, thinking some other thought. The reality of me right now is wrong, so I need to some other way and I’ll call it “being present.” Now is present. What’s wrong with this moment if you don’t ask yourself to be in some other moment?
Presence isn’t something you put on or turn on. It is how you are in this moment. All these states and feelings go through: inattention, scattered, angry, attentive, happy, and sad. “I don’t want to feel this way.” Yet that is how you are present: feeling this way and not wanting to. The weather systems keep moving through the sky. Deep down, you are like the sky through which everything passes. The sky doesn’t have to do something to be there. It’s just there. Present. So are you.