“Presence is a noun, not a verb; it is a state of being, not doing. States of being are not highly valued in a culture, which places a high priority on doing. Yet, true presence or “being with” another person carries with it a silent power — to bear witness to a passage, to help carry an emotional burden or to begin a healing process.” ~Debbie Hall (from npr.org)
I doubt I had any awareness in the fourth grade about the power of my presence. I simply followed the instructions given to me and raised my hand when called on to acknowledge my attendance. In undergrad I had a business law professor who placed numerous “presentation days” on the syllabus, meaning on those days we were to “present ourselves somewhere else.” For most of life’s events mental and physical presence are all that are truly required. Beginning a consistent yoga and meditation practice created the need and desire for my true spiritual presence.
In Debbie Hall’s article, entitled “The Power of Presence,” she speaks of true presence carrying a “silent power.” As I begin to deepen my practice I have been able to experience the same “silent power” more often. On the mat, spiritual presence emanates for me through my gaze, my awareness and my breath. Broadening my gaze to include all of the practitioners in the room gives me a sense of inclusion. Remaining aware of my body and how effortlessly it communicates to me during each posture helps me to readily identify areas that need improvement. And of course, my breath allows for the deepest connection “to bear witness to a passage, to help carry an emotional burden or to begin a healing process.”
When all three are in alignment I shift into a state of being that makes me feel powerful and centered. Honestly, being totally aligned doesn’t happen often, the hope is that it will increase over time.
As I continue to practice fearless yoga and meditation, I struggle with the concept of not “doing.” Doing is easy; it just requires a physical commitment to show up and take your place. Bringing spiritual presence to my practice and my life continues to add depth to the simplest of tasks. Showing up is no longer the end goal. Now I feel compelled to truly be in the world, to experience and strive for harmony of the body, mind and spirit.