What makes humans different from all other species is our forebrain. It allows us to think, analyze, plan and work with language. We have used it to gain unprecedented control of the natural world. But it is only the latest of a huge number of skills. Notice your tongue next time you eat a mouthful of food. It skillfully moves the food between your molars so you can chew it, and it all happens without any effort on your part. It is similar for digestion, walking, breathing; these are skills developed over billions of years.
Sometimes our thinking skills are superior, like knowing that too much sugar is bad for us, or that there aren’t really monsters under the bed, but we shouldn’t dismiss the wisdom of our evolutionary past.
This wisdom appears to us in a different form from the understanding of the forebrain. It appears as intuitions, hunches, knowings, fears. It does not use language. The great challenges for us are to silence the words enough to hear these messages and to distinguish the real ones from the monsters under the bed.
This, then, is the art of being present.
We tend to think of the present as being just one frame in the film of life, to be immediately replaced by the next frame from the reel, or these days, from the digital stream. But it is a mistake to give all these frames equal validity. The past and future frames do not exist except as ideas within our head of how the world has been and will be. They are shadows of the real world.
So to be present, put your attention on what actually is, rather than the ghostly past or future. You find it through your senses and your intuitions. It exists, but there are no words for it. It is timeless; the present never ends.
This isn’t a call to space out and avoid the practicalities of life. Be here now except when you need to take care of things, and even then, take care of them in the present.
To be present, put your attention on what actually is, rather than the ghostly past or future #quote Click To TweetA primary key to a peaceful successful relationship is being together in presence. When you feel totally accepted, you are able to let down the barriers that keep you apart. The feeling of being heard, and of being acknowledged for who you are and what you do is very calming and supportive. It leads to a different kind of behavior and gives your relationship a totally different strength and quality.
When you approach your relationship with presence, when you relate to each other as loved ones, as family and as friends with whom you do not need to defend yourself, you are offering your whole self. Stepping into a space where you are fully with your partner makes a palpable difference. It is what we call a sacred space.
This space is filled with reverence and heightened awareness. In this state you approach each other with an open, empty mind. You are not full of your worries and fears. You are not busy in your head with what has occurred or what might occur.
You are available in a completely different way than when you are running about taking care of things or being driven by things that are only occurring in your mind. Even in the midst of a busy day, you can step into this space with your partner. It does not have to be a long period of time to achieve the goal. Short moments filled with this kind of shared presence last much longer than the time they fill.
Setting aside longer periods of time in which you work and play together in the full sharing of who you both are will bring a deepening enrichment of your relationship. The practice of presence creates a shift in life which can only be known by experience.
Gratefulness and appreciation are acts that bring us into the present. They bring awareness of what is, instead of preoccupation with what was or might be. And the present is always a magical unexplored place. It is unique and therefore fascinating. Enter this space with your partner and you will share the deepest level of being together. In this place it does not matter what is happening. What is delicious is that you are together sharing all of who you are.