No 3: Presence

‘We can’t live in the now all the time, can we?’

I’ve heard so many people who straddle the spiritual and material world ask this question. Many of us may have touched the sense of freedom that comes from letting go of thoughts and feelings, but the idea of always being present can make us feel afraid of missing out. 

Just as the mind fears the salve of emptiness it experiences when it detaches from thought, it also fears letting go of the idea that happiness is a few moves ahead or some paces behind. Sometimes I still think we’re hanging on to the idea that being present means stepping away from something vital. We think we might be cropped out of the vision of the future we always thought we could land if we held on hard enough. 

This belief hints that presence is a useless kind of void, a form of stasis where little happens. After all, who are we without our fictional and often unkind internal narratives?!!! But presence is where life goes on. The one we can feel. The only one we really have.  That is where the movements, sensations and dimensions are. It’s where the portal to our unchanging self abides.  

The media likes to sell us cosiness at this time of year, but I find too much cosiness suffocating. A warm body, beneath layers of jumpers, contracts another kind of coldness that goes away when I step outside. A heated room is comfortable, but it can also feel removed from activity, like it is waiting for something to happen. 

Outside in nature, even at this time of rest, there is motion that our closed hearts long for. Here, I find it so much easier to climb into presence and to dance with the movement of life that we are always being invited to join. 


Some days,
When I am tired
Not from sleeplessness
But from the burn of
Stinging thought-

I take myself to where the trees
Turn the mind 
Into the dream of a woodland walk, 

Nothing irks me
Or pains me in the same way
As it does in the warmth, 

Where living so easily get lost

Behind closed doors – 
where TV screens
And burning fires
Blindly steer their lives
off course. 

As I walk to where 
The moss-covered woodland,

and the skyline  meet, 
 The wind draws

All the hues of thought

Into a pause,
I find there is nothing left,

But a spiral into being,

The kind that only knows me
When I step outdoors.

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