Practicing Being Present – May’s Monthly Message

“To be effective in your work as a Licensed Practitioner, you MUST walk your talk.” I took this bit of truth teaching seriously nearly 20 years ago. In other words, any principle or practice I find myself teaching or suggesting, I must be living and doing that thing as fully as possible. For example, a theme that has surfaced in my work recently has been around the importance of allowing our experience, (especially the difficult ones, but the pleasurable ones too) to be fully felt. This is in direct opposition to what I witness is a prevalent unconscious pattern of resisting, denying, ignoring or avoiding our physical, emotional, financial or spiritual reality.

Awakened consciousness is not just the opposite of sleeping. Consciousness is paying attention, being aware, noticing what is going on around you, but more importantly, within you. No practice supports the awakening of consciousness like the practice of being present. That practice – of paying attention and not avoiding or distracting conjures up thoughts around two of my favorite power words  – Integrity and Authenticity.

Whenever a theme or pattern reveals itself in my work, or in my reading or research or conversations, I know to pay attention. I also know that when a subject, say for a talk or a class, comes to me and I initially resist it, that is usually a sign to take that path. I’ve learned that it will be in my and everyone I serve’s best interest.

So of course, when I found myself diving into the patterns of distraction and avoidance in my own spiritual practice, I knew that this would be the subject of the first “Monthly Message”.

There are many ways I practice being present. There are even more ways I avoid that practice! Especially meditation. Yes, I will out myself here in print and media-land. Even after over 25 years, I STILL resist the practice of meditation. I still find myself putting a load of laundry in or checking my phone or playing with the dog or any number of other delicious distractions.

But when I committed to this subject as the message, I knew I’d have to face my resistance in a new way. I knew I’d be forced by that promise I made to “practice what I preach”. And I knew I would struggle and I knew I would do it and I also suspected the rewards would be great. That last bit is yet to be revealed… I think.

SO… I am meditating more – and longer. I am sitting through the fidgets and spinning thoughts and tantalizing to-do lists. I am staying in my chair even after my coffee gets cold and the dog wants out or the bird feeders need filling or that text I never returned fills my mind.  And just this morning out on the deck I began to sense something new and unusual… something hard to explain. The best I can do is to call it “space” or expansion or something like that. Its like the brush of a feather tip on the edge of my awareness. Is both alluring and unsettling and elusive… so far. If I had to name it something, as I sit here on this spring day the fading light… I guess I might venture to call it peace, or presence.

I am clear also in this moment filled with the sounds of birds and my pup at my feet, that any and all resistance to explore that tantalizing newness is totally based in fear that has no merit – no reason that is real – no reality to it what so ever. Hmmmm… it also occurs to me that contemplating this by writing this blog is part of the practice. I didn’t realize a moment ago how present I am being and feeling until pausing just now. Writing. Breathing. Listening. Wondering. Big breath…. I think I like this. More to come.

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