“Invoke the presence of your Presence in the present” E.J. Gold
Writing a blog about ‘presencing: the possibilities’ has been a very interesting challenge. To me, it’s like a needle in a haystack! Where does one start? Or how does one end? Where’s the thread? Where’s the needle? By frantically searching for ‘it’ what was I missing - the point?
There are subtle differences when talking about presence – with a little ‘p’ presence is part of time, the here and now, and with a capital ‘P’ Presence is a part of the emerging future. As presence consists of parts and wholes, then it’s important to understand how they interrelate. Living systems i.e. you, me, the trees, the weather system, our ecosystem, create themselves and continually grow and adapt to the changing conditions. However, we have been trained to think and see that a whole is made up of separate components, which can be replaced or repaired, to complete a singular known goal. This is pure rational thinking when we speak about the productivity of inanimate objects like machines because it’s quite clear the specifications and function of each component, but it’s not the optimal way to think about natural living systems. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the German writer and scientist, argued over 200 years ago that we need to ask more insightful questions of nature because the whole is something that is dynamic and living and continually comes into being “in concrete manifestations”, whilst a part is a manifestation of the whole rather than its component - neither can exist without the other. Hence without being present we may miss Presence in the present!
And therein lies the point. To be present in Presence in the present we need to be aware of its existence and the interrelatedness between the part and the whole, for example each of us is a unique individual (whole) and we can invest in different ways (part) to help us grow and develop into our best selves, now when we interact with another person or group of individuals we have become a part of another whole. Our personal persona has extended into its environment and connected the two and created our social identity, or personas, to match the surrounding environment and play the required role. When our personal and social identity is in balance we are normally present because we have a sense of calmness, purpose and direction. However, for most normal people, we spend the majority of our time passively tackling the conflicts that exist with others and within oneself, and with the rapid pace we now live and operate in, it has become harder to find the time and sometimes appreciate the value of cultivating and building presence in one’s life. Hence, rather than tackling the whole at once, we need to consciously take the time to focus on the parts, or even the subdivisions of those parts that are manageable, to make small and positive differences. And when we do take this time something new emerges.
Sensing those shifts – whether personally from a state of negative emotions to that of calmness or peace or productivity (flow) – or within a multi stakeholder team solving local or global problems where the individuals come together and fully cooperate as a team, they have moved from dialectic to dialogic conversations and find plausible solutions that benefits everyone – requires awareness. And this awareness comes from being able to register the experiences without prejudice by utilizing all of our senses whilst we,
- Suspend our assumptions/negative chatter, which takes time, and allow for redirection when we see emerging events, contents, patterns etc.
- Observe what’s actually happening from all perspective by slowing down and taking the necessary time.
- Actively listen and with empathy.
- Retreat and Reflect to process all of the above and allow them to connect with the bigger picture.
With time, whether working through the stages in order or haphazardly, presence emerges from within us to make meaning and allow us to reconnect with the external world (the whole) with a level of clarity whereby there is no decision making because the action is obvious. That awareness, that shift, it’s visceral though subtle, and it is a marker for being present. Realizing the presence by taking swift action that naturally flows we are in our Presence.