“Where, except in the present, can the Eternal be met?” ~ C.S. Lewis
Some coaching friends and I have lately been exploring the transformational aspects of Presence and Attention. We’ve been studying the skills and practices one needs to develop in order to be fully present and to bring your full attention to a person, a situation, or to life itself.
It’s amazing how Being Present seems so simple on the surface, but can be so elusive for us, and so rarely experienced from others in our lives. And yet, when it happens, Presence changes everything. It opens the Way for connection, wisdom, love, healing, transformation, for God himself…just to name a few. Like the wardrobe in the Chronicles of Narnia, without Presence, you never really get to Aslan’s Country.
As the holidays are often a time when we wish we could slow down and be more present than we are, I thought I’d share a couple of quotes for you to ponder as you go into the holidays, and also a simple practice for increasing presence that you can do anywhere.
The quotes first:
“Pure, intuitive attention is the only source of perfectly beautiful art, truly original and brilliant scientific discovery, of philosophy which really aspires to wisdom and of true, practical love of one’s neighbour. This kind of attention when turned to God is true prayer.” ~ Simone Weil
“The practice of paying attention really does take time. Most of us move so quickly that our surroundings become no more than the blurred scenery we fly past on our way to somewhere else. We pay attention to the speedometer, the wristwatch, the cell phone, the list of things to do, all of which feed our illusion that life is manageable. Meanwhile, none of them meets the first criterion for reverence, which is to remind us that we are not gods. If anything, these devices sustain the illusion that we might yet be gods—if only we could find some way to do more faster. Reverence requires a certain pace.” ~ Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World
Then the practice ~ Box Breathing:
1. Inhale to the count of 5
2. Hold your breath to the count of 5
3. Exhale to the count of 5
4. Refrain from inhaling to the count of 5
5. Repeat 10 times
Try it now. Then use it anytime this season you want to be a little more present to what’s happening in the moment.