What is presence? A characteristic of great performers or athletes is being present and poised, their whole self in the zone, in flow, fully alive awake and aware.
Presence is a muscle we develop by engaging the conscious mind, the body, along with all our senses – an expanded awareness – a unified field of awareness – where the conditions are such that we feel whole, complete, we can give and receive, there is nothing to be added, nothing to fix or change, nothing to take away, perfect the way it is, perfect the way it isn’t. These are the qualities you see in young children- fully alive, present and in the moment, very much like nature, not forced or rushed, an easy effortless, flow.
We often look a great performances and marvel at the effortless, flow, ease, poise, beauty and presence; but often a great deal of practise, persistence, passion, pain and patience will go into making the activity look so flawless, graceful and easy.
The culture we live today makes it challenging to feel and experience a sense of unity, connection to the self, others and nature. The unconditioned self is naturally all of these qualities, unity is what we are, and separation is what we add.
I love to remind the huge variety of people I work with that I am not teaching them anything they don’t already know or have; this wisdom of the mind/body is truly innate, and remarkable and we all possess the natural capacity to want to grow and expand.
We live mostly in result-oriented world, a technological culture, most of the time we are moving through life with little awareness, a feeling of being disconnected from our bodies, we spend so much time stuck in our heads, our attention being sucked into computer screens and all the other challenges we are dealing with.
If you think of traditional cultures, they embody a natural sense of lightness and poise, you often see this quality in their expressions, they look light, easy, lit up by themselves, a bright smile, a twinkle in the eyes, their bodies much more nimble, agile, subtle and strong.
The Alexander Technique is a remarkable method which, teaches skills to reawaken these innate natural qualities of poise, presence, ease and grace.
The Alexander technique is taught in many of the world’s most prestigious performing arts schools and it underpins, and contributes to a performer’s performance being extraordinary. The Alexander Technique provides the skills, tools and knowledge to be effective in all we do, learning to tune(into) our own instrument and connect with our authentic selves and others at deeper level to better understand the inner working of the extraordinary human body.
This neglected skill is relatively simple to develop, however it takes practice, just like a performer practices and develops their craft. One of the biggest challenges and obstacles to being present is most of our daily activities are habitual and require very little awareness because we have performed them so many times, they lack a freshness, aliveness, they have become automated and not animated and alive. My invitation to you is to see what daily activity you can bring more awareness into.
This will help you develop an embodied mindfulness, an expanded awareness of what you are doing and the way you are doing whatever you do.
Many of the world’s wisdom/spiritual traditions speak to us of the benefits and qualities of being in the present moment.
“Life is available only in the present. That is why we should walk in such a way that every step can bring us to the here and the now.”
Thich Nhat Hanh.
The only reality is in the present, as the future and past only exist in our mind, so the present is a wonderful, place to be and quality to develop. Presence is one of the most precious gifts we can develop; to be truly be here and now, and from that space is the possibility to create.
Simple ways to develop presences and awareness are activities such as walking, speaking, sitting, noticing your breathing, your reactions to stressful situations.
Think of an activity you can do where you begin to develop presence; Thich Nhat Hanh says, he brings as much presence into washing up as he would bring to washing the baby Jesus or the Buddha.
Being present can be transformative, you will experience feeling connected with yourself, others, the world around you and the ability to feel fully alive.
I feel so blessed to have discovered this remarkable work, which has transformed my own life, and in this process, I have helped countless people do the same, which gives me a great sense of joy and satisfaction.
If you are curious to find out more about the Alexander technique of finding a teacher please visit my website https://poisedandbalanced.com/