WHAT IS PRESENCE?
The easiest way to explain presence is to explain what
it means to not be present. This is the state to which
we have become accustomed. When you aren’t being
present, your mind is pulled into the past, the future
or both. Your thoughts of the past are what could have
been or what you thought happened versus what actually
did happen. Your thoughts of the future are what will
be, what could be or what might be.
When most of us are in the treatment room with
our clients, we worry about what’s happening at home,
what we are going to make for dinner, who is picking
up the children or what we will do with our time
off. We don’t practice stillness with our clients and
appreciate being fully present because our “monkey
minds,” as Buddhists call them, vault from thought to
thought like monkeys swinging from tree to tree.
YOU ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS
The average person has about 48. 6 thoughts per
minute, according to the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging
at the University of Southern California. That adds up to
a total of 70,000 thoughts per day. 1
Of course, it is natural to spend moments of thought
in the past or in daydreams of the future. Identifying
through associations with things that have happened
in the past can be used as learned points of reference.
Our thoughts can be pleasurable memories that lift
our spirits or they can be signals to keep us safe in
stressful, even potentially harmful situations. However,
when our lives become dictated by these thoughts and
the emotions attached to past events and potential
future outcomes, we are not living and being fully in
the present. Unfortunately, our clients can feel when
our attention is somewhere else.
BEING IN THE PRESENT MOMENT
The present moment lies in the concept of time.
The present is a vertical dimension in the moments of
time called “the now.” When you center yourself in the
present moment, the mind stops making noise and you
focus more fully on what is happening now. You are
able to connect with your deeper self and become more
alive and awake to what’s happening in the moment.
Living in the moment, also called mindfulness, is a
state of active, open, intentional focus on being in the
present. When you become mindful, you realize that
you are not your thoughts; you become an observer
of your thoughts from moment to moment without
judging them. You are noticing your thoughts and
being with your thoughts as they are, instead of being
a victim of your thoughts and emotions tied to those
thoughts. You can’t feel the past or the future, but you
can feel what it feels like to touch something right now,
to see something and to hear something in the present
moment. Awakening to your life’s present experience
brings fulfillment and joy in everything you do. Being
THE POTENTIAL OF YOUR PRESENCE
We don’t live in the present when we don’t stop the chatter in