Main Pages

By Region



Being Present

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Being Present?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Being Present

Being Aware of Your Essential Presence which is the Kernel and Source of Feeling Generally Present

Awareness of presence is fundamental, and that will determine whether you are on the second or the first journey. I don’t mean here simply being present in a general sense, as it is commonly understood; I mean being aware of your essential presence, which is the kernel and source of feeling generally present. It doesn’t matter what quality of presence is manifesting when you’re just trying to distinguish which journey you’re on. However, part of the work in the second journey is to inquire into the presence itself, in order to know it more precisely. As you go through your day, being present is basic. An added refinement is to find out what the presence is, what quality it has. That moves you further along on the second journey. The point is that you never understand exactly what’s going on if you don’t know which quality of presence is manifesting. The presence might be the Strength Essence or the Will Essence, or any of the other qualities, but if you don’t know which one it is, it will be difficult to understand why you’re behaving a certain way. It’s important that you have this precision in order to move in the second journey effectively.

Continuity of Presence is the Unfoldment of the Soul

This continuity of presence is the unfoldment of the soul. Since it is a succession of moments of presence in the present, this unfoldment can only be experienced and understood in the present by being present in the now. This is the “real time” of the individual, the real life. All other time, when one is not present, is a waste in terms of life, for there is no presence in it. Wasted time occurs when there is no unfoldment, when you are fixated and stuck, existing in linear time; basically you are just walking in place, getting nowhere in terms of development of the soul. How much one has been in real time indicates one’s true age, since it determines the development and maturity of the soul. Most people have spent a year or two in their entire lives being truly present, so that is how old they really are from the perspective of the soul.

Facets of Unity, pg. 174

In Self-realization We Experience Ourselves Being Present as Presence

To be ourselves fully, spontaneously, and authentically, means simply to be. Not to be a reaction, not to be determined or influenced by image or experience from the past, not to be according to memory and mind—is to simply be. This is far more than the colloquial meaning of the phrase “being oneself.” It is the experience of Being. To be—and in the experience we know this with certainty—is not an action, not even an inner action. Being ourselves, we find, is being Being. In self-realization we experience ourselves being present as presence. It is not the presence of the body, the emotions, the thoughts. It is the presence of presence. To be fully cognizant of oneself as presence is the central and most positive characteristic of the experience of self-realization. (See Appendix B.) The absolute given in perception is presence. Presence is not a characteristic of mind or body. It is a concrete ontological given, more fundamental than either the mind or the body. The presence of Being is deeper than our conventional experience of the existence of our minds or bodies.

Our Practice Becomes one of Simply Letting Everything be, of Just Being Present with Whatever Happens Without Judgement or Comparison

As we have seen, the wisdom of each Holy Idea helps us clarify our orientation toward the work of spiritual development. From the perspective of Holy Perfection, doing the Work becomes a matter of not doing it from the perspective of judgment, but from an attitude of surrendering to reality the way it is and the way it unfolds. It is a matter of trusting that letting go into reality is the Work, and that understanding means both seeing the delusions that stop you from surrendering, and the process of unfoldment itself. Our practice, then, becomes one of simply letting everything be, of just being present with whatever happens, without judgment or comparison, of being interested, curious, and open to the perfect unfoldment of the truth within you. Being present with whatever your experience is, means that you are not comparing your experience with someone else’s. You are not comparing your experience now with your experience yesterday. You are not comparing your experience against some kind of standard. You are present with it because you are curious about it and want to find out what it is about. If you are judgmental about your experience, deciding whether it is good or bad, or good enough or not good enough, then you are not open to it in a way that allows you to see it and understand it objectively.

Facets of Unity, pg. 160

Presence that is Present in the Moment

When people talk about being in the here and now, it is a more profound experience than simply being aware of the content of the experience of the moment. It begins with that awareness because the content of the moment is what is arising now. So, we are aware of the content of the moment—the physical attributes, the feelings, and the thoughts that are arising in the moment. But the more we are attuned to what is arising in the moment, the more time slows down as we become more present to the moment. And when we become more present to the moment, we begin to recognize the now-ness itself, which turns out to be the presence that is present to the moment. So, my presence is the now-ness of the moment; they are not separate. It is not that my presence is present in the now of the moment; the presence is the now of the moment. That is how we actually know what presence is. In the practice of being where we are, it becomes clear that to be ourselves, to be real, we need to be in the present moment. We need to attend to the moment, we need to embrace and be completely aware, immediately in touch, with the moment. This immediate in-touchness with the moment is the in-touchness with the now-ness of the moment, which is the same thing as the Being of our presence.

The Practice of Being Present is a Method that Comes from the Recognition of Presence as the Fundamental Nature of Reality

Our true nature is a sense of presence, the quality of immediacy, of beingness. That is why I frequently call true nature “Being”— it only exists in the direct present-time experience of being here now. I use the term “Being” in a general way, to refer to the whole range of subtlety in how presence manifests. The purest experience of that presence is true nature. True nature is the absolute purity of Being. When we recognize that true nature is presence, we also see that this presence has many properties that let us approach our beingness in various ways. Each spiritual method can be seen as reflecting certain of those properties. The practice of being present is a method that comes from the recognition of presence as the fundamental nature of reality. The practice of inquiry, which incorporates the practice of presence, reflects other properties of true nature as well.

The Work is Nothing More than Being Present in Your Experience in an Undefended Way

So as you see, we are not looking for states, nor trying to get rid of anything. The Work is nothing more than being present in your experience in an undefended way. When you are present in your experience without defenses, then there is contact between this beingness or presence and whatever happens in internal or external experience. When this contact happens, there is a process of transformation which we call metabolism or absorption. This process of transformation causes you to get bigger or more expanded. That is how you grow up. Just as your body grows up by eating food, your soul develops by eating experience. From this perspective, there is no bad experience since any experience can be metabolized if you are present in it. Some experiences are painful, some are pleasurable, but they all can lead to maturity. The only exceptions are experiences beyond your capacity for metabolism, whether painful or pleasurable.

We Need to Slow Down When We are not Being Present in Our Activity

There is nothing new in what I am saying. It has been said for thousands of years. But usually it goes in one ear and out the other because we continue to believe in our activity. “If I don’t do such-and-such, I will never be happy.” We are not talking about activity like driving a car or buying food; of course, you need to do these things. I am talking about inner activity, and the expression of that inner activity in external activity. You could be engaged in very intense outer activity while inside you are still, but most of the time external activity is an outer reflection of the activity of the mind. We are busy externally because our minds are busy. We are not being present in our activity. That is why many teachings say to slow down, to be a little quieter, to make your life simpler. You need to slow down, just to see the process and understand. This is so that you will see the difference. It is not because external activity is bad, it is more that you are too busy inside and outside to have the chance to see what is really here. When you are really being, it doesn’t matter how fast you go outside. But if you are not being, no matter what speed you are going, you are still going farther away from yourself. This world we live in, the world of appearance and everything that is in it, has nothing wrong with it. In a sense, it is neutral in that things are neither good nor bad. What makes it a place of suffering is that we are not present in it; what makes it a place of fulfillment is that we are present in it. For fulfillment is nothing but the fullness of our presence.

When You’re Completely Content with Being Present You’re Just Present

Yes. When I say valuing presence, I mean being content with being a presence without thinking you’re being present. It’s a very simple thing, really. When you’re content with anything, you’re not thinking you’re content, see? You think you’re content only when you’re going into the contentment or going out of it, since at those times there’s a contrast. When you’re completely content with being present, you’re just present. However, if you are simply present, a person observing you from outside might say, “Oh, this person’s content being present.” Now, you’re the one who’s present. You’re not thinking or feeling that you’re present, you just are. It’s very simple. You’re just present. So, that’s it. But, if you think of it in your mind, or someone else looks at it from outside, then there is an evaluation or conclusion about your state. The notion of being content is a concept that the mind creates to explain why the person is not doing something else. For the person who’s complete and present, there is no need to conceptualize contentment. You conceptualize contentment only if you’re not content. If human beings were always content, we’d have no idea or concept called contentment. If it’s always present, you never conceptualize it. You don’t need to separate it out from the rest of experience. Only when it’s absent, can you become aware of it. The same applies to completeness. If it is always there, you don’t feel its absence, so you never conceptualize it.

Subscribe to the Diamond Approach

See past editions of the Diamond Approach newsletter