Presence and Letting Go
As the Transformative Learning Map points to presence, it offers a deep place to consider. What does Presence mean? “Wherever you go, there you are,” is a saying that reminds seekers how to be totally present to this generous moment, right here, right now. Rather than having the mind wander to the “to do” list, another choice is to let go of worrying about the future or fretting about what happened in the past-and find the present of being here now.
Ram Dass wrote a book with that title Be Here Now, and it was 30 years before Eckhart Tolle wrote The Power of Now. These are excellent books to have on hand as this big universal pandemic “reset” time we are in is awakening us all to come home and be safe. Coming home is for many a metaphor. Coming home to oneself. Stop the automatic patterns of doing doing doing, to become present to oneself to examine the infinite interior that can lead to becoming aware of the gift of each moment. Stillness is a key to becoming present. And then there is how to free oneself from thought.
At an event on Maui in Hawaii, in 2011, there was an open conversation about spiritual awakening and the transformation of consciousness. These two thought leaders were together and speaking about essence, love and awareness. Words from Eckhart: The Dalai Lama says, my religion is kindness. He uses that word—kindness. So this word points to something. Points to something within you, and essence from where you perceive and interact with the outside world in a very different way from the usual mental, mentalized, conceptualized perception of reality around you including other human beings. The usual way to relate for people who have not awakened to this deeper level that I often called “essence” or your “essence identity.” The usual way is to relate to other human beings through mental concepts or judgments. They become the veil that comes in between you and your perception of reality. And awakening is to become free of the compulsive—the compulsion to judge continuously, to interpret continuously, to label and name continuously, what surrounds you and to whoever you are with. And when that compulsion to label everything mentally, the conceptualized reality, when that subsides, and that subsides when presence arises. Then, there is when you sense something in whatever you perceive that is a kind of recognition whether it’s a human being, or whether it’s any other being, natural, a tree, or an animal—you recognize something in the other that before when you were naming and labeling, you couldn’t.
Perhaps, becoming present is to stop the judging of the mind, letting go of the ego, and the stream of thinking the “already thinking,” and instead be in each moment with new eyes to the formless presence and to listen from the ear of the heart.