The Power of Presence

Posted by on Dec 3, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

When I created the first Alchemy of Presence website almost three years ago, I wrote the following in the welcome: The greatest gift we can give ourselves, each other and the world is the gift of our presence. These words came back to me during a recent meditation and seem especially relevant and timely during this season. Often during the holidays, we expend an enormous amount of time and energy trying to figure out what to give our loved ones, and in that effort, we sometimes forget that the gift of greatest value is the gift of our presence.

What is presence? On a superficial level, it’s being physically present, but that can be a very poor gift if our hearts, minds and spirits are elsewhere. Who amongst us has not had the experience of being in the physical presence of someone yet feeling disappointment or frustration because they don’t seem present at all? And who amongst us has not had many moments of our minds wandering in distraction as we sit with a friend or our hearts feeling heavy with resentment/anger as we pretend everything is ok in a relationship?

Thus, presence is not about being somewhere physically. It’s about being fully present––heart, mind, body and soul––as we share a moment in time with someone we love. This is a state of openness, receptivity and availability that’s not always easy to achieve but is quite magnificent to experience. Think of a time you felt completely heard, seen, accepted, appreciated by someone. Remember how good it felt to be in their presence? Think of a time when you really heard, saw, accepted, appreciated someone. Remember how full your heart felt to experience that moment of connection and understanding?

That’s the magic of presence. Being fully present results in a sense of wholeness, connection and utter contentment. So, how do we cultivate this beautiful quality? It’s quite simple, actually, and can be done in three steps:

1) Make a decision that you value presence and set an intention to be more present to yourself and others.

2) Begin observing yourself to gain awareness of moments of when you are fully present and when you are not. It’s critical you do this without self-judgement or criticism. Simply note what it feels like to be in either state.

3) Focus on how good being fully present feels and silently celebrate each moment of presence by giving thanks for that moment. You can say something like, “Thank you, Spirit, for helping me experience this beautiful moment of presence.” Or even more simply, “Thank you for this moment.”

As you set the intention to be more present, experience the beauty of presence and give thanks for it, you will certainly be rewarded with more and more moments in that state. It’s that simple. Really. Of course, simple doesn’t mean easy. The practice, like any other mindfulness practice, requires patience and consistency of effort to move toward mastery. The rewards, however, are remarkable. Over time, you will experience a greater sense of ease, be more in tune with your authentic self, and enjoy much greater harmony and peace in relationships. Not bad for such a simple practice.

So, over this holiday season, play with this idea a bit and see how you can gift yourself and your loved ones the greatest gift of all––that of the incredible beauty and light of your presence. It is sure to lift your spirits and open your heart to giving and receiving more love, which is ultimately, what I believe what the holidays and gift giving are about––sharing love with those we care about.

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