Have you ever truly felt the power of a song; relished in the beauty and warmth of the sun; or experienced a moment of deep Soul connection with another person? Can you remember a time or times when you truly “penetrated the moment” and felt in synch and at one with everything?
Many of us might be able to report that we have indeed experienced moments like these in our lives, but they are often more the exception than the norm. They may arrive at random times and last a short time. However, they do tend to leave an impression.
Encounters like these are typically described with words such as mindfulness, connectedness, and attunement. These words highlight the depth and intensity with which we experience these moments. I would like to consider them within the context of the term authentic presence.
As we grow and mature psychologically (and spiritually), I believe we come to experience a deeper understanding of what matters most to us in our lives. Having run numerous experiments in our youth, we often come to know what belongs and what is best omitted from our life spaces and dynamics. We may become more decisive and selective, often due to the wisdom of “cause and effect” outcomes from the past.
In the midst of these transformations, a very important shift can occur. This transition involves a deepening of awareness and connection within and towards what may have once been considered mundane in our lives. As we were originally “blazing our trails” we often missed the full spectrum of the sensations, experiences, and meanings that were available to us.
The journey becomes our new destination as we learn to pause, meditate, think, and feel towards the more subtle nuances of life. This is what I call authentic presence, and it is a gift I hope all will come to experience.
When we are present authentically, we learn to connect with the moment, release our fears and worries, suspend our judgments, and open our minds and hearts to subtleties, nuances, and essences. Tones are clearer, colors pop, smells captivate, and sensations tingle. Add another sentient being to the mix, and we have a recipe for wonder.
Try this: Close your eyes and take a few slow, deep breaths. What do you hear? Smell? Taste? Feel? Next, focus upon one experience (mine is currently a winged friend perched just outside my window). Try to “dig deeper” into the sensations of the experience by noticing something you typically tend to overlook. “Milk” the experience for all it has to offer you.
You may discover that you are able to learn to do this with many experiences and sensations, and you might also discover that you begin to do it more often. The next step is to have it become our more usual way of engaging the moments of our lives.
Friends, do not be fooled into believing that this cannot be more the norm than the exception. Authentic Presence is not a luxury item, it is a standard issue to every one of us. It is we who have forgotten how to use it.
A quote from Words that Heal:
“What is it about peak experiences that make us stand in awe? What is happening in that instant that makes it so different from any other time in our lives? Quite simply, it is the mere fact that we have penetrated the moment itself. It is not the experience that has changed, but the “experiencer.””