Being present

What does it mean to be present? Or more accurately, to notice that you are present? When is it a useful pointer, and when not?

It is a pointer to bring attention to what is here now. To what happens in any sense field, including the mental field when it is noticed as happening here now.

And it is helpful in just that way. It is an invitation to notice that it is all happening here now, including mental field creations of past and future. It is an invitation to notice what happens when I get lost in ideas of past and future and take them as real and substantial (stress), and what happens when I notice them as ideas only (recognized as memories and scenarios, and as tools only).

As any pointer, it may be helpful and functional in some situations – in this case when someone is in the habit of getting lost in mental field creations without noticing what is happening.

But the pointer can also have drawbacks.

The witness/observer gestalt tends to come up, and it may easily be taken as what we are. I recognize that I am not most of what is happening in the sense fields, and the gestalts that come from a mental field overlay. Instead, I take the witness gestalt as what I am, and don’t recognize that one as a gestalt as well.

The idea of present also implies past and future, the three come in one package. So if the idea of present is taken as substantial and real, the idea of past and future tend to be taken as substantial and real as well.

A practical approach here is to use notice you are present as a pointer to bring attention to what is happening in the sense fields, and notice them as content of experience.

Then notice the idea of “present” overlaid on the sense fields, how it implies past and future, and how all of those ideas happen here now in the mental field.

And also investigate the sense of witness or observer created, see how it appears in the sense fields, and notice that too as a gestalt and content of experience.

Am I content of experience? Am I any of the gestalts? Content of experience comes and goes, what is it that does not come and go?


Initial outline…

  • be present
    • pointer to bring attention to what is here now
      • any sense field, including mental field when recognized as happening here now
      • helpful in noticing all as happening here now, not get lost in thoughts about past/future and take them as substantial or anything else than a thought
    • drawbacks
      • invokes the witness/observer gestalt, and can take that as what I am
      • implies past/future, so if the idea/overlay of present is taken as real, then past/future appears as real. The present is then a thin edge between past and future, and difficult to find or balance on.

One thought to “Being present”

  1. Hi Per. Your suggestion to notice the idea of “present” as an overlay, and how it implies past and future, is great practice. In that overlay, a present moment here and now seems to exist, but when we look for it, can we find it? Where does it begin or end? How exactly is it different from the past or future? Carefully investigating this can show the imaginary nature of the overlay of the present. And when that overlay is clearly seen, it can dissolve…

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