Learning to be present with others
There is a theme that seems to be running through my readings and my exposures these days. That theme could be summed up simply as being present.
I’m involved in series of seminars that focus on being present–being present to my current experience.
Being present simply means having all of your senses focused on what you are experiencing in the very moment. It means paying attention to how your body is feeling, not just in general, but very specifically.
What is going on with the skin? What’s going on with the heart rate? Is there tightness in the chest? Is there peace in the stomach? Is it stressed, or is it in knots?
Being present also involves paying attention to your emotional and mental state. Are you distracted? Is your mind racing? Is it empty? Is it at peace?
Being present in the very moment to the current experience is something that requires awareness and attention.
This is not something that is typical for the average person. But when the average person is able to remove himself or herself from the chaos of life and focus on the present moment, it’s really a liberating experience.
Not only is it liberating but it is also empowering.
The empowerment comes in the awareness that you have removed all extraneous thoughts and distractions and you are fully present to what’s actually going on. This gives you the ability to be single-minded in how you process the current experience and how you go forward.
So, I’m attending the seminars and I’m also reading a book. The book happens to be on the subject of abandonment and how to heal from it.
The first chapter talks about a coping strategy called mindfulness.
Mindfulness is essentially being present. The book talks about mindfulness being where are you completely focus yourself on what you are experiencing in that moment.
Just like the seminars talk about being present, being mindful also has you paying attention to the sounds that are around you, the things that you see, and how your body is feeling. All of the same things that are part of mindfulness are also a part of being present.
I have a book of devotional centering readings that I read every morning. These are faith-based and centered on the person’s relationship with Christ. Each of the devotionals talks about being present with Christ. They don’t so much talk about focusing on sights and sounds and feelings in the body as much as being present to your relationship with Christ–deliberately choosing to rest in that relationship and let go of anxiety.
The focus there is on choosing to trust and giving up worry. Actually not even so much giving up worry as choosing to trust. In the choosing to trust and in the trusting, there is left no room for worry. So you are not trying to stop worrying; you are focusing on trusting and in so doing pushing worry out.
It’s very interesting to me: all of these things that I’m reading and participating in that are separate from each other are all linked by a similar message or theme–the theme of being present.