Cultivating Presence in an Era of Distraction, Separation & Divisiveness
The present moment is the substance with which the future is made. Therefore, the best way to take care of the future is to take care of the present moment. What else can you do? Thích Nhất Hạnh
This morning in my meditation I found myself lost in my concern for the safety of Claire and Jamie (the main characters in the series The Outlander). I had watched an episode the prior evening and realized that I had taken their story into my own. Before bringing myself back to a still mind, I realized how much what we consume, be it food, movies, news stories or agitated conversations, can impact and affect our consciousness. In these times of distraction, destruction and divisiveness I’m finding it more difficult than ever to focus and bring myself into the profound presence from which all power and performance stems.
In this month’s newsletter I will explore some of the practices that I have found to create a more empowering relationship to the fears, challenges and distractions that are prevalent in these turbulent times. It all begins with the recognition that our past does not need to determine our present or future and that there is nothing wrong with us that needs to be fixed! What is missing is a radical awareness and acceptance of the present moment. To what is! And to cultivate a practice of bringing ourselves back into presence when we fall prey to judgement, fear, and desire. This begins with some sort of medatative or contemplative practice which allows us to expand our awareness into the space between the remembered past and imagined future.
Meditation is not passive sitting in silence. It is sitting in awareness, free from distraction, and realizing the clear understanding that arises from concentration. Thích Nhất Hạnh
When we begin to awaken into presence, the process of dissolving the myth of separation begins. Presence is always here, mostly we aren’t! Where are we then? We live inside of a story that constitutes our identity and is centric to a self called “I”. This is a world of illusion and most of us have condemned ourselves to this prison of our own unintentional creation. Our firmly held attachment to this limiting narrative is at the heart of almost all human suffering. This is the world of mind which arises whenever we have thoughts and it is powered by our unexamined beliefs and assumptions about the world.
Most of what we consider thinking is simply having thoughts. We don’t really know how to stop having thoughts, because whatever we think would stop thoughts originates from our egoic identity. But, we can deepen our awareness of having them and embrace them without becoming attached or seeing them as “the truth”. They are simply thoughts and to try and suppress them or get rid of them, only strengthens their hold on us. The more we can embrace what is, and allow what isn’t, the greater our ability to deepen into the silence, that place which emanates from the very core of our essence or being.
When you connect to the silence within you, that is when you can make sense of the disturbance going on around you. Stephen Richards
We were born into a world of people who were not present. It wasn’t their fault, they too were born into this mind manufactured world. Neither you, nor they, got the unconditional love and acceptance that was needed to develop into whole, interconnected, self expressed and healthy humans. From this place of absence, permeated with unfulfilled needs, emotional wounding and unhealthy parental patterns, we created our sense of self. We were left searching for love, acceptance and approval in a world of separation and unconsciousness. From this beginning we entered the world of illusion.
To begin to awaken to our full potential, is to recognize that for the most part we are sleepwalking in a world of illusion and projection.To free ourselves from our fears, limiting beliefs, attachments, anger, and separation from the world and life is to embrace them. We think we need to rid ourselves of them, which only strengthens their hold on us. We can only truly know this moment in life, and each moment is in a constant state of renewal which lives outside of time. When we can relax, surrender into, and embrace whatever is arising in the moment we begin to shift our home from the world of illusion to awareness in the present moment.
It does not matter what you are present with, as long as you are present with something that is actually of the moment. Leonard Jacobson
The way into presence, when we are imprisoned in the world of mind, is to gently bring our attention to that which is here now. What is present is what we can see, hear, touch, feel, and smell in the moment. It is what is observable in the moment! We simply choose to be present to whatever is arising. If we are judging whatever is present, be present to that. Stop the story and be with what you are observing, feeling, thinking experiencing without adding or taking anything away. When thoughts arise simply notice them and let them go. Become a witness to them instead of a victim of them. Focus your attention and allow what is, to be as it is, right now.
To stop our incessant thinking we have to let go of any conflict with our thoughts. The practice is to begin to notice and bring to conscious awareness everything that pulls us out of the present moment. The identity can never be present as it is born of the past. The story of you came into being to protect you from all the challenging, painful and unsafe feeling you were having then. The identity, which started out protecting you, has moved into a new role of protecting itself and surviving. It keeps you locked into the past by bringing you back into the energy of regret, resentment, blame, guilt and remorse.
Your own Self-Realization is the greatest service you can render the world. Ramana Maharshi
We know that those of you who read our newsletter want to make a difference and contribute your gifts, strengths and talents to the world. Often our longing to contribute leaves us ignoring our own needs, health and growth. To develop a practice of continually bringing ourselves back into a state of presence with what is and allowing it to be as it is, is a healing process. This awareness, in and of itself, is the healing. All there is to do is to love and embrace all that is arising - the good the bad and the ugly - as these are all judgements of the self centric mind. Awareness returns us to our essence and our interconnection with all life.
There is at this time in the world much attention on discovering our purpose, but our purpose is not separate from the world and how we are living in each moment. The external world and our past experiences are not dictating our way of being in and of the world. This is to take a victim stance and robs us of our power. To be responsible for your own awakening is to be in attendance to the awakening of the world. There is no separation. Everyone and everything is deeply and intimately connected. When we become more aware, there is greater awareness in the world, and we begin to step into unity consciousness.
On May 9th we will be beginning a 5 week online course called Connections: Shamanic Tools for Cultivating Presence, Power and Performance. In that course we will use both ancient and contemporary practices to cultivate presence, reclaim our natural and innate power and remove the barriers to peak performance. We hope you will join us for this journey. The basic practices you will learn in this course will give you the necessary tools and prerequisites to join our live workshop Medicine for the Earth which we are holding the beginning of June on the Sunshine Coast, in British Columbia. We hope you will join us.
If you can't figure out what you were meant to do in this life, figure out what you were meant to do in this moment. Shira Tamir
Much love and gratitude for your partnership on this journey of awakening… michael & meriel