On Presence

We are on a deep quest for self knowledge and freedom. It begins with presence.

At the beginning of self-inquiry we are tempted to explain, to judge, to find out why this brain of ours works the way it does. This is the stuff of suffering. The ravenous grasping of information threatens to detach us from ourselves and our own inherent peace, and mindfulness meditation strips away those tendencies. It’s about shedding the layers of knowledge and judgment through gentle observation. What’s left is our true nature.

When we speak of shedding knowledge, it is not the same as becoming dumb, or becoming ignorant to the laws that hold our universe together. It is ridding ourselves of the assumptions and identifications that limit us and limit our view of the world. It is doubt. It is letting go. It is surrendering to the deep truth that we hold like a flame in our hearts, that makes itself apparent only when we commit to showing up new every single day.

This surrender is the most gentle and loving way of knowing ourselves, of accepting ourselves, of seeing ourselves. And once we experience the grace of seeing ourselves – our true selves, not the “I” that we identify with but our deepest, truest being and suchness – only then are we able to do the same for another.

When I am no longer “I”, you are no longer “you.” For there to be an other, there must be a self; when we no longer identify as self, we can no longer identify other. Therein lies the truth, and we become one. The truth is in the grey. 

So why presence? 

When we begin to live presently, showing up moment to moment as the world presents itself to us, our facade falls away. We cease all the tugging that shreds what we love and release the tension between ourselves and the outer world. 

This release of tension is what allows us connection to each other. Presence gives way to all other Tenderheart values: authenticity, vulnerability, communication, connection, compassion, growth, and ease, all of which I will discuss in future posts and focus entirely on in the coming months. What’s more, when we cultivate presence, we can “shine light” on our bodies, minds, and hearts, and the bodies, minds and hearts of our loved ones, to determine the best course of action and give our loved ones the generous gift of being seen.

We will begin cultivating presence by practicing mindfulness – tapping into the breath to become aware of our bodies, then expanding outward to become aware of the sensations all around us, until eventually, with practice, we become compassionately aware and connected to the entirety of humanity and nature. 

This practice has been crucial to my own becoming and unbecoming, my own cycles of growth. I hope it will help you, as well.

As you move through your week, try to take stock of the times you feel most present and aware. I know it may be difficult at first, but I promise, you know when you feel it. It may come as a sensation of zooming in, or alternatively, zooming out and feeling expansion in your body and mind. It may come as a deep centeredness and self-assuredness.

Take note of what that sensation feels like, and feel free to share in the comments below or in an email at hello@tenderheart.studio.

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