Let me ask you an essential question, which is the way I begin each session with my clients. That question is this: “What is present for you right now?” Breathe deeply and just contemplate this for a moment.
Another way for me to pose this question is to ask: “At this moment, do you feel in alignment and at peace, or out of alignment and in chaos?” Consider this honestly, and without judgment.
Many of us spend the majority of our lives in some degree of disconnection. You will know when you are disconnected because your aura will feel staticky rather than smooth; constrictive rather than expansive. You will feel anxious rather than calm. This disconnection from ourselves, one another, and our planet, can be understood as the root of all suffering and disease. And therefore, the healing solution for every form of pain and upset is to find reconnection. But how do we do this in a world that is so overrun with chaos, distractions, and noise of every kind?
Start with Being Present
The answer is simple yet profound: Presence. As a wise person once said, it is not so much what you do, but how you do it that can make all the difference. So whatever it is that you’re doing — washing the dishes, driving, speaking with your loved ones, walking from here to there – when you engage with a high degree of presence, you will experience a sense of connection that is deeply fulfilling, centering and even calming.
Stillness is a doorway to presence, and presence is a doorway to stillness. So when you make a conscious effort to come into stillness, you will experience the presence that I am speaking of, the presence that brings you back into alignment with your authentic self and your source of being. And when you are highly present — on a busy bus, for instance — you will experience a rare form of stillness. So you see: Stillness and presence are two sides of the same coin, and both will lead you back into deep reconnection with yourself and your loved ones.
What’s missing is you
Allow me to ask you another question: “At this moment, do you feel like there is something missing in your life, but you can’t quite put your finger on what it is?” Once again, breathe deeply and contemplate this.
If you answered “yes”, I have the secret solution. That which you have been missing is… you. You have been missing you. In other words, the way to fill the void that you have been feeling is to reconnect more deeply with yourself. You can do this by carving out more alone time, specifically alone time spent in stillness, such as walking in nature, meditating, yoga, spiritual reading, and creative activities. But once again, it is not so much what you do, but how you do it. So, even if you’re working, running errands, cleaning the house, or preparing dinner for the family, when you engage with presence, you will experience a sense of inner connection that is healing and deeply fulfilling.
Cultivating connections with your kids
Presence is also a doorway to cultivating a deep connection with your little ones. They desire nothing in the world more than your attention. Children are especially sensitive and perceptive, and they sense when you are even the slightest bit distracted when you interact with them. And when they feel that you are not fully present for them, they may feel unfulfilled, not fully accepted, and even unloved. As I teach the parents that I work with, almost every form of behavioral disturbance can be understood as an unmet emotional need. When you engage with your child with loving, focused presence, they will feel deeply connected, loved and fulfilled, no matter how simple or mundane the activity. And you will feel deeply re-connected, loved and enriched as well.
This guidance around the power of presence is particularly valuable in this time in the world. As we navigate the landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are engaging in some degree of quarantine, and many families are forced to traverse the territory of homeschooling. This experience can be challenging for both parents and children. When you engage with the homeschooling process with a high degree of loving presence, your children will respond more calmly and effectively, and you as the parent will even find yourself enjoying the experience. You will also cultivate presence and mindfulness in your child by example. And so importantly, you will reconnect and deepen your loving bond with your little ones.
Eckhart Tolle, the master of presence and the now, said it beautifully when he said this: “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the ‘now’ the primary focus of your life.”
This is how you will find all the healing, peace, and fulfillment that you have been searching so long for.