The present, even with all its challenges and frustrations, is the greatest gift we have, but one which we so often squander because we are disconnected, or distracted, or caught up in the past or future.
If you are constantly thinking about the past or worrying about the future, you give away an enormous amount of energy – your life force energy – and you miss out on the opportunities of the present. When you place your attention fully in the present, you have more energy to bring to your life and in so doing you expand your experience and your consciousness. This is the true power of now!
Being present in the moment is one dimension of presence. But there is a deeper dimension of presence, which is about fully embracing your existence in the here and now. This is what I call radical presence.
The spiritual dimension of presence
It’s often said: “We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” This is true, but it’s important that to have the human experience, you fully embrace being in human form – in a human body, in your particular body and in your life. This is what it takes to integrate the spiritual and human aspects of experience.
Radical presence starts with being fully in the body so that your experience here on the Earth plane is an embodied experience. Your body is the vehicle for the life that you are in. It is the container for your spirit and the perfect instrument for your soul’s evolution. The Earth plane is the greatest arena for spiritual evolution and expansion of the soul and you need to be fully present in this arena to realise the magnificent potential for evolution and expansion.
You cannot aspire to higher levels of consciousness until are fully present in your physical form. On the other hand, if you are radically present, you can harness all your energy and your soul strength to live your life to its full potential and to honour your soul’s purpose.
Sometimes this spiritual aspect of presence is hard because you don’t actually want to be in your life, on the planet or in your body. Many conscious people have difficulty being in the world because they feel different or they are sensitive to its imbalances. Some of us remember the unconditional love that we came from and the separation is painful. This can result in a resistance to life on Earth and can make being present in a human body very challenging.
Commitment to this incarnation
Integrating the part of you that doesn’t want to be here takes time. It has many layers to it. In my experience, the answer lies in making a commitment to this incarnation.
What does it mean to be committed to this incarnation?
It means to embrace the life that you have, the path that you have taken so far, and the path that you are on, including all the heartache, the losses and the things you regret. Once you fully accept your life, and accept that where you are is a result of past choices, you can make a clear choice to participate in your life, and therefore your destiny, from a place of choice rather than being a victim of circumstance or fate.
Making a commitment to your life starts with making peace with being here, now, in this body, with all your life experiences until this moment. While making peace with your life is a conscious choice, there is also an element of surrender in being fully present. This is a form of radical acceptance, which makes way for radical presence – two concepts that go hand in hand. One can see radical presence and radical acceptance/surrender as the masculine and feminine aspects of being fully present.
From soul exit to embodied presence
Disconnecting from the embodied experience is something that many of us do as we become more ‘spiritual’. It is common to leave the body during meditation, for example. This can be a form of resistance or avoidance, as we enjoy the ‘lighter’ vibrations of being somewhat disconnected from the body. But your focus and attention are needed here, now.
An alternative to this soul exit tendency is to change your intention: become aware of when you want to spiritually leave and change your intention to bringing your full energy (and soul) strength to the present moment. In this way you can embody the higher vibrations that you connect to through your spiritual practice and ground these higher energies on Earth. This is much needed at this time of shifting consciousness.
Presence through grounding
Grounding is the foundation of being in physical form. You need to be grounded in your physical body to experience radical presence. Think of your grounding as the anchor – the thing that anchors your energy field and consciousness in the here and now, in your physical body, and in the present moment.
There are three levels of grounding:
• Being fully in the physical body – Grounding means to be fully in the physical body and consciously living in physical form. If you are in your body, you are able to fully experience life and all it has to offer – both that which is enjoyable and challenging.
• Being connected to the Earth – Grounding is our connection with the Earth and ability to take in life force energy from the Earth. If you’re not grounded, you are cut off from this vital energy source.
• Being committed to this incarnation – Grounding is also about being fully incarnated. It is about taking on a physical form to house the spirit and embody your experience in this lifetime. Your soul’s purpose is to live consciously and fully experience life; to understand and learn from those experiences and therefore to develop and progress. Your growth will be faster if you’re in the body, fully present and able to experience everything that life brings.
It’s important to remember that as long as you’re here (even if you don’t want to be) you can use the energy of the Earth to support you. Grounding will help you feel more rooted and centred, once you get through the resistance. What is more, if you can anchor your own being in this incarnation, you can also serve to anchor the higher energies here on Earth and in this way help to raise the vibration for the whole planet.
Presence through the breath
In every spiritual tradition, the breath is recognised as life force energy – or prana. Not only does it sustain life in the physical body, but through the breath we connect to the body and become present in the moment. Through the breath, we also connect to the universal field of consciousness.
Breath is really the flow of life force energy. We can imagine our life as a series of breaths between birth (the first in breath) and death (the last out breath) as consciousness moves from one state to the next state. The degree of presence in this process is up to us. We can enhance presence through conscious, or mindful, breathing.
Although breathing is an unconscious process (we do it even when we’re asleep or unconscious), conscious breathing has many benefits. Firstly, most of us breathe too shallowly – learning to breathe more deeply has many health benefits, including oxygenating our cells more efficiently and enhancing metabolic function. Secondly, focusing on the breath instantly brings us into the present – the moment we are in. Connecting to the breath also connects us to the body and to the sensory experience of being here, now. And importantly, mindful breathing brings a sense of calm and inner stillness and can help to dispel anxiety and fear.
Four keys to being radically present
Radical presence takes intention and discipline; time and practice. The ego will constantly try and pull you into the mind, usually into the past or the future. This is the nature of mind and ego. Acknowledge their role and presence and remember that radical presence starts with a choice to work with what is.
Here are four keys to enhancing radical presence in your life:
• Embrace being in your body and in your life as it is – this is both a choice and an act of surrender.
• Accept what is in every moment – this is a choice and an ever-present awareness of when you are resisting or rejecting what the moment brings.
• Work on your grounding to anchor yourself in your body and to the Earth plane – this is a choice and a daily practice.
• Consciously connect to the breath – this is a practice in mindfulness.
© Heather Linn, October 2018