Summary of May 5 – The Power of Presence
Last night, we spent the evening exploring several ways to deepen and apply presence. The opening meditation focused on the essence of being fully present in the moment, paying attention to thoughts, feelings, and sensations as they came to mind. The possibility of letting the past and future fall away for a time was encouraged, and we were reminded to notice what was happening in this moment, again and again.
We did a short check in, including asking for the intention each person brought to the evening, and a request of the group that could support us. Openness, willingness, honesty and consideration were some of the requests that group members made.
We began by looking at a situation where someone has said something we didn’t like to us. We broke into pairs, and one person described the phrase or sentence to the other. The second person then repeated the sentence while the first person used presence as a way of responding. That person might bring attention to physical sensations, thoughts, emotions, underlying needs or observations, but the idea was to continue being present to all of that until there was some sense of calmness or centeredness. The first person could respond once they were able to get beyond simply reacting, and that might lead to more of a discussion. The second person could keep repeating the sentence so the first person could observe their changing reactions and responses. Many of us found it difficult to do, getting caught up in reactions, but most found some sense of easing as the time continued, a kind of stepping back to the place of being a witness to self and the other.
Next, we worked with presence to address something that came from inside us – the invitation was to consider things in our life that we had some discomfort around, and open to being as present as possible, again just observing the event, our reactions and thoughts as an observer. This seemed to shift more easily for people – just seeing what is as it is.
The final part of the evening involved giving our partner empathy using the idea of Presence. The image of communication as building a bridge was discussed, and the listener was invited to leave all of their own story behind and cross the bridge to the other side and simply be with the other. The invitation was to trust being present with openness and non-judgmental attention. If feelings, needs or requests came easily, we could share them, but the emphasis was on the quality of connection, rather than trying to do a technique.
We finished with each person talking about a way they would like to bring Presence into their life in the coming week.
Coming up – Sunday May 11 – Self and Community 10am-4pm a free workshop at Pacifica led by Jim.