One of the first steps in understanding presence is the theme of returning to the self, a return home. Now, what does that mean – returning to the self? It means gathering your attention, beginning to be aware and present to all aspects of the self. Presence is learning to abide in any given situation with an inner sense of awareness in this moment. To do so there has to be a beginning step of returning some of your attention back to your source – a focusing and centering of attention back to your home. We call this conscious use of attention mindfulness.
What we are going to call the home is nothing more than the sense of being within you. The capacity to be is the home. With mindfulness you return your attention, settling back in as close to the source of your being as possible, thus beginning to grow the presence of being. This is also the beginning of our first practice – meditation; establishing this inner home as the place where you reside as you live life.
Inasmuch as that is not happening means that your attention, your focus, your investment of energy has abandoned the home. It is as if you have a beautiful estate home that has several rooms that are all a part of your joy of living. You have a music room with a beautiful mahogany piano; you have a study filled with your favorite books and a place to study and write; you have an open kitchen filled with wonderful foods; a gathering room for family and community; a sun and garden room to enjoy light and flowers. You have this wonderful estate home and yet you stay away from it. You live your life away from the home.
The inner world of our being is a beautiful estate home. And many of us only live on the porch, when we actually make it there! To actually come in, to enter, and to begin to live inside this home of being is an art. This art can be learned and it is a learning that never ends. The art can be mastered to a degree, yet as long as you are living, this art has ever opening and deepening possibilities. There is no end to this creation.
This abandonment from our home represents a schism, a split of attention that relinquishes our inner world for the demands and dynamics of the outer world. This schism, or split, appears to be a necessary step in the human evolutionary story as it looks like it happens to all. In order to survive the environments we find ourselves, it looks as though we are frightened out of the presence of being. We become separated from our source, or at least it appears so since we are no longer attentive or aware of our source.
The being is the estate home of the soul. Getting settled back into the home, returning and ending this abandonment of the self allows us to begin to rediscover the richness of our inner world. We realize that the source has never left us and is always awaiting our return and recognition.
Presence is residing within our inner home and yet being able and available to fully live this moment in the world. We have wonderful inner resources within as we face the challenges of life. We find courage to face fears, resolve to endure hardship, and strength to make needed changes. We may find a new access to creativity, authenticity, contentment and peace. And we find the source of dialogue, community and communion, and simply the joy of moving through life with a strong and centered sense of presence.