To be in the present is to feel a sensory stream of consciousness, from one or more of the sense organs. Without that, there is no way to be in the present moment.
If you are thinking, then by definition you are not paying any attention to the information that your senses are feeding you, and by contrast, if you are paying complete attention to the information your senses are feeding you, then you are not thinking, and hence are in the present moment.
To listen is to be in the present, to feel is to be in the present, to smell is to be in the present. The quietness of the mind, which is an interesting phenomenon, does not seem like it could be created at will. It kind of just happens, and it must happen for one to be deep inside the present moment. To forcibly quiet the mind, one has to think to make all the other thoughts go away, in the process, create another thought. So we have a thought trying to quiet down other thoughts, like a teacher in the kindergarten trying to quiet down her unruly students, while creating a big ruckus herself.
The only quietness she receives, is temporary, and rumbling with the anticipation of a much expected outburst, which could happen anytime.
So the issue of quietness is related to presence. Presence is a very powerful thing, for when it exists, you do not. There is a certain kind of unification with the universe around you, and the effort required to carry out mundane, or cerebral tasks becomes completely unnecessary. Necessity of stress or effort, is felt if one is out of the present moment, and hence out of alignment with the universal force.
Oh what is this universal force? Indeed, what is it? When you have occasionally found yourself in it, you have felt light footed. Like you were gliding across from room to room, from task to task, quiet, unperturbed, and deeply blissful and oblivious.
To ask the question, “How can I be in that state again?”, also seems like a trap. For asking that question is a sign of desire. Desire, a sign of pleasure. Pleasure, a sign of shallowness. And nothing that is shallow can find that state. “Why do you want to be in that state?”, seems like a more valid question.
Why indeed? Was it intensely pleasurable, and does the mind wants to experience it once again? Can a human being do anything apart from pursuing pleasure? Perhaps ordinary pleasures can be overridden, but what about the ultimate pleasure? The pleasure of God?
What if God is still an escape, and whenever one escapes, it is out of this belief that something better is out there?
So we come back a full circle. You leave the present moment, so that you can find a better state. But the state of presence, by definition, is the opposite of escaping, of running away. So to seek presence by doing something, is to deny it.
If presence cannot be sought, or found, or desired, how does it come about? Or should one just wait indefinitely, until by some magical providence, it enters your life? Can you bring about presence indirectly? Not seeking it directly, but by doing things, taking actions, which inevitably create presence?
Which indirect actions, if any, can bring presence? A simple look at the question reveals that doing anything to seek presence, whether directly or indirectly, is bound to be futile. Doing something indirectly and then waiting for presence is anticipation. And anticipation, has much to do with the future, and not with what is happening now.
Presence, is always here and now. It is always there, no matter where you are and who you are.
It has to be, where else would it be? You have covered it up with layers and layers of thinking and experiencing. Under all of that garbage, it waits. If there are no thoughts, there are only sensations. Sensations, when not commented on, are still sensations. They are not good or bad, comfortable or discomforting, pleasurable or painful, they are just sensations. They are life itself.
To be with sensations, and to not look for anything else, is presence.
Total non-seeking, is the state of presence.
Find out what you want. Find out the thing inside you that is trying to reach outwards or inwards. Trying to become, trying to seek, trying to search, trying to survive. If you release that thing from the burden of succeeding, it will fail.
And in its glorious failure, is your greatest victory.
The gate through which you must enter is very narrow. It lies at the precipice of a breath, at the beginning of a thought, in the silence between two words and within the vast abyss of the passing second. To find that gate, time itself must come to a standstill. Time, which passes so easily with the wandering mind. Time, that slips through your fingers like sand. When the mind does not wander, and becomes steady, still , like a cold morning in the woods, when, even a leaf won’t move, and if it does, you move with it. In that stillness, the gate of presence is open.
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