Flavors of Being Present

It seems that there is only one way of becoming – or rather noticing that we always are – present, and that is to shift the center of gravity to the Witness, space & awareness empty of characteristics, the formless unborn. And there are many ways to do this.

One is shikantaza (Soto Zen sitting practice), where we rest in the field of awareness – allowing the content of awareness to arise and unfold on its own. We rest in/as the Witness.

Another is to bring focus to the body, to the breath, the weight of the body, the movements of the body (including the subtle ones that are always there), the facial expression, the tone of voice. This brings the focus to something which is undeniably here/now (away from the habitual patterns of thoughts/emotions) which shifts the center of gravity to the Witness. Breema is one of many approaches which emphasizes this technique.

In the first case, there is a wide open field and a sense of space. Here, we have the benefit of allowing ourselves to rest in/as the witness without any effort – supported by all that is.

In the second, there is a focus and a sense of richness. This seems to bring an additional experience of deliciousness which makes it very attractive to come to, more so than almost anything else available to me.


Anything and everything obviously only exists here/now. Still, there is the possibility of being exclusively identified with – and “lost” in – thoughts/emotions which tends to be directed at past or future presents. We are lost in thoughts about past and future, and less available to the rest of what is manifesting here/now. And there is a beauty in this, it shows us the wide freedom of the mind.

At the same time, when we shift our center of gravity to the witness, we become aware of all this unfolding within space & awareness, unfolding here/now. We can still focus on thoughts and use them as aids for clarification, exploration and communication, and we can add the context of space & awareness – knowing we are present. And this seems to add something to it. There is more awareness, more sense of perspective and choice, and more appreciation of what is here/now – of our life as it manifests here/now.

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