I once spent a weekend at a Buddhist retreat, where the theme was “Being Present.” It was a wonderful time and an awakening experience. I knew the importance of being here now. My life was extremely busy, and my mind was in the past, thinking about something I did wrong (and replaying the moment over and over), or it was focused on the future (obsessing about something that had not yet happened and might never happen). I was rarely in the moment…in the present.

While focusing on the things I was doing in the present…at that moment at the retreat…helped me become more aware, and helped me bring my focus back to that moment.

One of the things we practiced Mindfulness on was eating; focusing 100% on chewing the food in my mouth: tasting it, feeling the texture, chewing each mouthful at least 200 times before swallowing it. Each time my mind drifted, I’d bring it back to what I was doing in the moment. We practiced this with breathing and walking, as well, among other things. I couldn’t believe how hard it was for me to practice the present while walking. I felt each muscle I used while I slowly put one foot in front of the other.

This really helped me to be more present in situations such as conversations, being in relationships, working on projects, etc. I still practicing being present while driving. It is so easy to be distracted while driving with billboards, signs, and, now, cell phones.

Certainly there are benefits to being present. Being present will bring you more awareness, which, in turn, will bring you more happiness in certain situations. Being able to fully experience a wonderful moment, such as a wedding…sharing an intimate moment with someone…engaging in conversation, etc., will undoubtedly allow you to enjoy it that much more.

How many times do we rush through a meal and hardly taste it? There are days that we allow to just blow by us. I guarantee that you’ll enjoy food that much more if you take the time to appreciate it, or take time in the day to breathe and enjoy that moment, feel the gratitude of being able to do all the things you are accomplishing.

Let’s face it. We create a lot of our own anxiety and stress. We’re thinking about something that has already occurred, feeling resentful about it or feeling unable to let it go, thus creating stress about something that we cannot change.

All we can do is change the present. But if we’re in the past, the present is passing us by; most likely causing more anxiety and stress. Or we are thinking about the future; about something that “might” happen. We become fearful about it and play different tapes in our head searching for better results. I’ve found out (and I’m sure it’s true for most of us) that over 95% of the things I used to let my mind take me for a ride about, never even come to be.

There are times I don’t want to be present, such as in a dentist’s chair. Being present might not always be appropriate, so do use discretion.

Being in the Present is all about being here now…within creation. Witnessing… experiencing feeling…all that is happening now.

And all that is happening now has a beginning and an end. It is of creation.

Being in the Presence is about allowing ourselves to witness Source/God in that which we are and all that we see. Seeing Source’ Essence is not of this world. It is of eternity. It is not finite as being Present is, but it is infinite…without boundaries, i.e., limitless.
Nothing short of the direct experience of God/Source will ever satisfy our need for wholeness, fulfillment and completion.

While being Present will allow you to experience more joy and happiness, that same joy and happiness will fade, and you’ll be looking for more in another action of being Present.

But the experience of the Presence will never fade or be lost. It will always be a fulfilling and bring peace.

So how does one Practice the Presence?

There are so many ways. Each path has its own particular ways, but all paths have the basics, e.g., prayer and meditation. There are so many different forms of meditation that books have been written about them and, of course, there are different prayers for different people.

Meditation, prayer, chanting, service, observance and contemplating are some of the ways I have practiced being in The Presence.

Meditation is going within, focusing on our Light (our Source); praying is repeating words or songs/hymns in private or public; chanting is repeating the names of God or a mantra in a group or privately…out loud or in silence; serving is helping and serving others who are immersed in God’s work, e.g., washing dishes, gardening, etc., while keeping your mind on God; observing is keeping the Holy days sacred; and contemplating is always thinking of God in all that we do.

In my case, meditation was the key to helping me slow down and witness the feelings, witness the actions and, most importantly, not be judgmental or overshadowed by them. When I was able to be in that place, I began to see and feel the Presence more and more in all things in my life.

Author's Bio: 

Michael Hoare, D.D., is an author, minister and certified Angel Therapy Practitioner. Michael’s past life has been filled with challenges. He was born with a hole in his heart, was sexually abused during his early childhood, turned to alcohol and drugs for comfort, and ended up homeless in the New York City subway. In addition, Hoare has lost an unusually large number of loved ones to death: both parents by the time he was 16; his best friend 2 years later; and his fiancée died two weeks before their wedding date. Eleven months after his fiancée died, he learned that his daughter was battling cancer. Despite it all, and maybe because of it, Hoare can talk about his troubled past and how he came through it, thanks to a spiritual program called Ah-Man.

Central to the Ah-Man experience is being able to forgive oneself and to forgive others for past misgivings. The experiences that Hoare, a recovering alcoholic, describes in his book, “I Am Ah-Man,” are due in large part to the impulses of what Hoare terms “primordial man.” While Hoare admits that primordial man is not a bad guy, his actions are the result of instinct rather than the heart. Primordial feelings, he explains, include anger, fear, resentment, control, lust, jealousy, and suspicion.

To connect to Ah-Man, Hoare, a New York City native, had to change his habits and beliefs and ultimately surrender to them. That, he explains, is not an easy task. Why? Because both men and women, he says, are conditioned to conform to society’s expectations. For men, that may mean feeling the need to have the highest-paying jobs, purchase the largest homes, and maintain the lifestyles to match. For women, it could mean being just like men, and looking and acting a certain way, e.g., thin or sexy. But with trust, forgiveness and acceptance of ourselves, God and others, Hoare believes men and women can find a spiritual way of handling everyday life situations without getting sucked into them.

Through a series of seminars and one-to-one counseling sessions, Hoare teaches men and women to embrace the Ah-Man within them by creating a loving relationship with oneself, God and others; openness with other people; a sense of integrity; and the ability to communicate; all by incorporating trust, forgiveness and acceptance, thus allowing them to be whole.

The second edition of his book, “Returning to WHOLENESS…Discovering Ah-Man,” will be published in Summer 2011.

Additional information on Ah-Man can be found at www.ah-man.com.