Friday, April 20, 2018

The Presence

What is “Presence”?
What does it mean to be “present”, to live in the “now”?
How do you define it?
How do you attain it?

I love to travel.
I think traveling is one of the mind-expanding experiences a human been can have.
And I’m not talking about the cultural aspect and entertainment but the spiritual enrichment traveling provides.

Every time I am in a foreign country I experience a state of “Presence” a state of enhanced awareness underlined by a genuine feeling of curiosity, freedom, and exploration I used to have as a child.
It is very hard to describe but if you have traveled you probably know that excitement, that state of mind I’m talking about.  That “Presence” in the moment, in the NOW.

Of course, once returned home the feeling is gone and I return to the mental-spiritual state of “Ordinary”.
 I always thought that was a normal thing and I always attributed the magical experience to the geographical location. You feel extraordinary in an exotic place and ordinary in an ordinary place. Right?
But here is the catch. I live in Hollywood and every time I pass by the Hollywood Boulevard I can see hundreds of tourists in the exact same excited state while the only thing I feel is the dread of the traffic congestion the tourists create.

So, the excitement is not created by the place as I thought. The excitement is a state of mind, the place is just coincidental to the experience.
Last weekend I made a day trip to Julian, a little quaint town south of LA.
The old buildings, the blooming spring flowers, the weekend visitors with smiling places, all that experience and feeling of being on a vacation came back to me.

Once again, I switched from the “Ordinary” state of mind to the “Presence” state of mind just by being away from what I considered “ordinary”.
But what is “ordinary”? How do you define it? 
After all is Hollywood an ordinary place or an extraordinary place?

The other day I had to take my car to the dealer for some factory recall repairs.
I had to drive about an hour to the city of Duarte, which I knew about but never been there.
BTW you can live all your life in LA and never see all the streets and locations.
So why I was waiting for my car to be fixed I started walking around, found a Deny’s had some breakfast then went to Starbucks for some coffee and WIFI.

All this time I’ve been in Duarte I was in my “Ordinary” state of mind until that moment in the Starbucks when I snapped out of it and entered the “Presence”.
I looked around and everything was suddenly different. The flowers, the trees the people sitting outside at the tables under the green canvas umbrellas, the morning sun sparkling a little brighter, the blue skies, the white clouds. Everything was vibrant, beautiful, new and exciting. I was “Present” living fully in the moment.
And it was at that moment I understood what the “Presence” was and what the “Ordinary” was and how the whole state of mind works.
It is all in our brains.

The “Ordinary” is created in our mind by our Ego through the process of thought.
We build an imaginary reality in our heads, a story to put it simpler, that becomes the background of our life.
In this story, we have a different reality better than what “reality” is.
Our jobs, relationships, even ourselves are viewed through this fantasy filter.

We live in our heads, not in reality, therefore reality seems foreign boring, uninteresting, unappealing “ORDINARY”
Everything around us is “Ordinary” when we are living in the Ego build “reality”
It is really easy to see it once you become aware of it, but otherwise impossible to see because it is the normal state of our mind from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed.
We spend our lives “thinking” we spend our lives inside our head inside our Ego reality.

The moment you stop living inside your head. The moment you turn your attention, focus, presence from the inside to the outside things change, your experience change, you become “Present”.
It is the state of mind of children which still find reality exciting. It is the state of mind of tourist which for a moment are back like children with a genuine curiosity and senses wide open to the external experience to the surrounding reality. The Ego and its mental construct are simply not there anymore.

I spent the next hour experimenting switching from one state of mind to another.
It was very interesting because switching back to the Ego mind became more and more difficult.
You realize that the Ego reality is a make-believe, it is stupid childish and embarrassing.
Think about if the people around you could hear your thought. How would you feel?
Embarrassed, right?

 Sao this is what I recommend you do: Take a little vacation this weekend (I know I will) and go to a place you would consider out of ordinary. Observe the change in your state of mind and then try to switch back and fore. I think that will give you a new inside in the process of living in the moment and an understanding of “Presence”.