Presence

“Your reflections on presence ran through many of the conversations during your last workshop and is also a continuing theme in your written works and elsewhere. Could you condense your views on this into an easily understandable, everyday definition? What’s necessary to become more present in every moment?”

My personal sense of presence that I kind of carry around with me is along the lines of “Somebody has to be there first before acting.” The more one is there, the better the results in whatever you’re doing — more precision, subtlety, relevance…and much less dispersion and depletion. When you watch someone who is good at this, you can sometimes feel like they’re actually stretching out the walls of possibility in a given situation, literally creating open space. Much of this comes only through time and experience, eventual understanding that how one does something, not the specifics of action, is what impacts others most.

In thinking of people I know who have exceptional presence, they all embody these common traits, which I hope serves as a decent working definition:

~ Open receptivity and panoramic perception

~ Attentiveness and conviction in engagement

~ Unselfconscious equanimity and generosity

~ Close, conscious proximity to essential priorities

~ Self-generated enthusiasm and inspiration

I hesitate to give a single example of this, because there are so many variations in tone, mood and forms of expression, but here’s someone with obvious presence who also happens to be talking about the subject…

Photo of peregrine falcon by P. T. Valo

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