To be fully engaged in the present moment is a state of consciousness called presence. Presence is well documented as a vital element for psychological healing and spiritual awakening. Learning to be more present is beneficial to everyone including those who have no clear psychological or spiritual aspirations. The importance of accessing and embodying a state of presence is emphasized in all of my counseling and teaching activities and is a guiding principle in my personal life. My personal and professional experiences have confirmed that Presence – fully surrendering to the present moment – is the path to joyful living.
What is presence
Presence is the state of recognizing reality as it appears in the present moment. True reality only occurs in the present moment for the past and future are simply imaginary mental constructs. To be fully present in the now is our natural state.
The truth of reality is that we are eternal Beings and our fundamental essence is that of love, peace, unity, and joy. Each of us is a unique expression of God’s pure, creative intelligence on a temporary sojourn in a physical world of time, space, and causality.
When we enter physical reality we quickly learn to use our minds to negotiate the three-dimensional world. By entering our minds we leave the present moment. We abandon the state of presence by becoming absorbed in thinking. Our mental life is usually preoccupied with the presence, the past, and future and manifesting as thoughts, concepts, beliefs, ideas, opinions, interpretations, memories, fantasies, evaluations, plans, and judgments.
Most of us spend the majority of our time engaged in these unremitting thoughts of the mind which distracts us from present reality and places us in an unconscious state. We are unable to discern what is true and real when our mind has been seduced into a world of its own creation. We have become lost in this imaginary world, forgetting the truth of our existence, and subsequently encountering unnecessary pain and suffering because we have created an experience of being separated from the Source and essence of our being.
Being absorbed in our thoughts diverts our attention from reality and creates the deceptive illusion that this mental state of existence is reality. To realize our full potential as a spiritual being we must awaken and recognize that we have been lost in a self-created illusion or dream, and return to the truth of reality in the present moment.
Presence is a deeply satisfying, non-changing, ever-present state that simply goes unrecognized when we become lost in the thoughts that enter our minds. It is a naturally occurring state that entails direct experiencing the present moment in an open, receptive, non-judgmental manner. Being fully present entails effortless recognition and total acceptance of all that is presently appearing in awareness.
Being present in this way opens us to the truth of reality by allowing our awareness to be fully occupied by that which is appearing in the immediate moment and not distracted by the ego’s anxious and fearful thoughts about the past and future. Thoughts about the past and future are wrought with fear, pain, anxiety, guilt, pride, and desire. Whereas, experiencing the present moment reveals a direct knowledge of what is happening in the now accompanied by a sense of equanimity, peace, and acceptance.
Dr. James Strohl
1250 Greenwood Drive
Bethlehem, PA 18017