In my work as a psychotherapist I have taught Presence skills to hundreds of people and have frequently been astonished by its power to heal. Basic psychology (cognitive-behavioral) tells us that the body physically reacts to thought with emotion. It is a physical change. Thought stimulates emotion, emotion drives behavior, behavior stimulates new thoughts in an endless cycle. Try it. Recall some event from your past that was stressful or traumatic. As you mentally replay the experience you will probably find that your body is reliving the experience emotionally. Notice what that does to your mood and how that mood effects your behavior.
We are doing this constantly as long as we allow our mind to have free reign to do what it wants. We all have had troubled times where something painful happened or we did something painful to ourselves or others. If we allow our past to dictate our identity by constantly replaying these dramas, we cannot help but live a life of pain and devastation. This is why the disciplines of Presence Practice are an essential aspect of living a healthy life.
Time and again I have witnessed in-the-moment transformations through facilitating someone into 100% Here/Now awareness. Depression, anxiety and panic attacks all dissolve in the face of Presence. They may also reappear when the mind is allowed to have its way. Which would you choose, mental anguish and torment, or the peaceful joy of the moment?
Remember the mind is a powerful instrument, it is not you. You are the awareness behind thought. Allow mind to be in charge and life becomes an emotional mine field.
I have also witnessed individuals successfully treat physical ailments using Presence exercises. Simply by consistently focusing their attention Here/Now, they have freed themselves of pain and suffering.
Try it! Sit quietly and feel the physical sensation of your feet resting on the floor. Maintain that awareness and add to it awareness of your body pressing down into the chair. Maintain these and add awareness of sound in the room. Then open your peripheral vision to its fullest extent while focusing on a point, like a candle flame, or even a spot on the wall. Then turn your hands up in your lap and feel the palms. Do all this at once with as much concentration as you can muster. Your vision may change. Don’t let that startle you, just allow it to happen. Do this exercise for three minutes by slowly silently counting to 180.
Notice how you feel now in comparison to how you felt when you started. Ask yourself this question before you start: “What percentage of my attention is Here/Now?” Ask it again after the exercise. If you were successful in performing the exercise, the number will have increased.
Use this exercise informally as you go about your daily activities. Feel your feet while sitting or walking. Hold your peripheral vision open constantly. Feeling the air on your skin as you walk through life. Be aware of the ambient sounds around you without attaching attention to them. Give your full attention to every little task you perform, no matter how mundane. There are no mundane moments, only mundane people lost in thought. Each moment is special and unique when you give it your full attention.
Life is happening Now!! Pay attention!! Do not miss it!!