In today’s world, we’ve become used to filling up all our precious moments and rarely experience a few minutes of simply being, without something to distract us. It’s as if we’ve become unconsciously anxious about the need to fill up any empty space, stillness, or silence with content, movement, and noise. We’ve developed many ways of making sure we remain busy, with 24-hour news, social media, TV, smartphones, radio, newspapers, and so on. We’re almost constantly engaged in activity and content, forgetting what it’s like to do nothing for a few moments.
For 99% of the time that humans have walked the planet, there was more time to relax and fewer distractions. So, it was probably much easier to watch the sunrise, listen to birdsong or look up and enjoy the clouds drifting across the sky. Today, many of us can’t even go for a walk without being distracted. Over the last few years, there’s even been a rise in pedestrian accidents, as people walk immersed in their smartphones. And of course, we’re also distracted by the uninvited thoughts running through our heads, which is another powerful challenge for simply being with the present moment as it is.
The opposite of all this outer and inner distraction is presence; the alert awareness, aliveness, and openness to present-moment experience that lies behind our thinking mind. . Presence is available in every moment and is something everyone can access. Even in our most stressed, anxious, or low moments, the inner resource of presence lies quietly in the background of our experience. Presence is being calm, relaxed, and open, where we experience a natural state of connected wholeness and wellbeing.