Presence in the Now
I am at a fuel station on a very sunny day, on the outskirts of Malaga, Spain. I have actually gone there to buy some Charcoal, as I will have some friends over for a Barbecue.I park the car, and notice two men in their late 30's who are checking the oil level of their car.
I walk into the convenience store,looking for my bag of charcoal.
I notice that these two men have joined me, and are looking at various oils.
They walk towards the cashier, and they end up in front of me.
They wish to pay by card and the system is taking its time to respond after one of them has entered his pin code.
I see them having a conversation with the person at the cash register, during which there seems to be a lot of explaining and laughter going on; I am too far and too uninterested to actually hear what they are talk about.
After a few minutes, the electronic payment system regurgitates the sales slip, and the two men leave the premises, while continuing that animated conversation. What I do notice, though, is that the bottle with oil that they had so carefully chosen was still standing on the counter.
It now is my turn to pay and, as I approach the Lady on duty that afternoon, she realizes what happened.
She activates the P.A. system:"Gentlemen, Gentlemen, you have forgotten your bottle of oil...Gentlemen, Gentlemen....."
The conversation between these two men is going on, I can see them walking towards their car, not paying much attention to what is happening in their surroundings.
Aware of this situation, and realizing the Lady behind the counter cannot really leave her post, I pick up the bottle and run after them.
I try to catch their attention by screaming "Gentlemen, Gentlemen....", yet I get no reaction at all.
They are now about to get into the car and, because of that, they need to turn around so that they can open the doors of their vehicle.
And now, finally, they notice my shouting:"Gentlemen, you have left your bottle of oil on the counter"
One of them, in particular, looks startled at me and hardly recognizes the bottle of oil. In fact, when he looks at me, his expression seems to be saying:" What does this person want from me?"
Suddenly, he seems to realize what happened, and his expression changes to a big, thankful smile, while he takes hold of the bottle.
I could not help but notice the nexus between the forgotten oil and our human ability to completely be somewhere else with our mind.
"Having a great time,...wish I were here" could be the subtitle of a situation like this, if it were filmed.
Presence with what we are doing is what it is often referred to. An ability to be with what we are doing in this moment. If we are driving the car, we are driving the car. If we are walking with our dog, we are walking with our dog. If we are buying oil, we are buying oil.
what often happens though is quite different; when we are driving the car, we are thinking of the lunch we will have. When we are walking our dog, we are going to a point 20 years back, when we were going out with that attractive person after studies. When we are buying oil, we are chatting with the other person, completely forgetting what we came to this place for.
How do we create presence?
One way of doing it is by embracing meditation.
Meditation is a tool that helps us look within; it is also a too that helps us free the mind from itself, from the very thoughts it generates. With this process we can sit in a relaxed position for a certain period of time, letting whatever thoughts that need to come, enter the space of now, the space of this moment.
With practice, we can slowly bring ourselves to let all thoughts transit through our heads, without letting them rule us; if while walking my dog I catch myself wandering off mentally, removing myself from the situation that I am in, and thinking about lunch, then I have made a tremendous step in the direction of being mindful.
By simply being aware that I started thinking about lunch, I brought awareness to my inner process, and, thanks to this awareness, I am able to join my dog on the walk, and fully enjoy my physical presence in nature, smell all the smells of the trees and the soil, pick up the playfulness of my dog who is chasing squirrels and, quite simply, be more relaxed.
Being able to extend this level of awareness and relaxation to all aspects of my life, means living a life in which I can take decisions that come from a peaceful inner core.
Taking decisions from this inner core is bound to bring happiness and peacefulness to myself, and hence to those that surround me.
Jerry Zondervan is an Inner Referencing Guide, and is available through online consultations or in person. His website is www.caring-for.eu