Being in the Present

by Brad on December 6, 2010

A client recently posed an interesting question. He’d been pleasantly amazed to experience a few moments of complete calm and presence, that sense of being “at one” with all of life. At the same time, he wanted to know how he could ensure repeat performances, rather than just fleeting moments.

I’d love your thoughts on my response to him:  to “ensure” anything means that there’s a cause & effect relationship between what you do and the results you achieve, that you can take a specific action and observe a specific result. We’re taught to believe this is how we “take control” of our lives – by making life happen. But consciousness doesn’t follow the laws of classical science. Creating possibility in our lives is more like tending a garden than it is like building a house (model borrowed from “Living Deeply,” a book by the Institute of Noetic Sciences). In tending a garden, you don’t make plants grow; you create conditions that encourage them to grow; plants grow pretty well on their own. Growing conscious experience is much the same: create conditions conducive to being present, and presence “shows up” on its own (based on the conditions, not on your control). You create the conditions through quiet time, reflection, self-observation, etc. Therefore, the new life skills involved (instead of planning, thinking, executing), are: patience, to wait for possibility; awareness, to notice when it shows up; acceptance, that things will turn out however they do; and trust, in your own power to thrive in this uncertain territory. By simply allowing moments of presence to show up, you experience more and more of them; from there you find yourself stitching them together into a fabric of growing consciousness.

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