Presence is a state of awareness in which the mind is still (Inner Peace) and at least 100% of one’s attention is focused into the present moment. I say at least, for the intensity of the state of Presence is infinitely variable. It is the thin slice of no-thing between yesterday and tomorrow that we call NOW, called by some the razor’s edge. Practicing Presence is like walking a tight rope. We frequently fall out of the moment. It is difficult to attain and easy to lose.
Here/Now awareness is actually a natural state. Our mind is structured to multitask, to perform multiple tasks simultaneously. Mankind originally was a part of Nature’s food chain, placing him/her in constant danger. Under these conditions an individual’s awareness is constantly multitasking on sensory input in the Present in order to sense danger. This is why people find pleasure in visiting the wilderness where they are again part of the food chain. It forces them to be Present, to pay full attention to their physical surroundings. The same is true of extreme sports like skydiving, downhill skiing, or motorcycle riding. These activities compel present-moment focus.
Multitasking attention away from The Now is Unnatural. It is the consequence of thinking about what happened before Now or what might happen after Now, making that focus of attention more important than what is occurring before our eyes. In reality, the past and the future have no existence except in the mind of the Thinker. No one has ever physically visited these places. When yesterday happened, it was Now, when tomorrow comes it is today. In this frame of reference, all is Now.
Most people have experienced Presence, though they may not have identified it as such. Frequently it comes with trauma. Have an auto accident, even a minor fender bender. Notice how your Consciousness is propelled into The Now by the shock of the accident, which may have been caused by inattention to the moment.
We have all driven a car down the freeway while lost in thought only to discover we were so busy thinking that we missed our exit ten miles ago. Who was driving the car? Autopilot. Our conditioned, stimulus-response mind was driving. This is probably true in other areas of our lives. We are driving down the road of Life lost in thought, running on our conditioning. This makes us stimulus-response robots. Is that really living?
To live life fully, is to live Now. Embracing Life on its own terms, loving it just the way it is, without conditions or resistance.
Shakespeare said it all when he wrote:
“To Be, or Not To Be, that is the question.”