You don’t need me to tell you that what is going on around many parts of the world is destructive, chaotic, unkind, and even sinister. All we need to do is turn on the news for five minutes to feel the weight of despair. Disease, war, oppression, discrimination, climate change, violence, intolerance, and unrest. What does it mean to be present?
The world at this time desperately needs presence, a dramatic shift in consciousness.
The world needs us to be present.
The worse things get, the more important it is for us to become present.
It’s an incredible opportunity, as well as a noble responsibility.
When we take a global view of the world as negative and “bad” from a higher perspective, it is actually the greatest opportunity and opening for the rising of a new state of consciousness that currently exists.
We could sit back and simply watch the chaos and destruction unfold.
We could complain and not do much else.
We could become activists, run for office, and lobby Congress.
In the midst of the dire need around the world, we could also become present.
What does it mean to be "present," though?
Out of the destruction of the old, the new arises.
I’m not just referring to the destruction of the old patterns in the human mind, the egoic mind. I’m referring to the external world that humans have created.
This external world is a reflection of the patterns that we have created in the human mind.
The destruction of these patterns is how we bring presence to our families, our communities, and the world.
The world-famous spiritual teacher and author Eckhart Tolle says that our function in this lifetime is to be a “midwife” to help bring about the birth of the new consciousness. This is the presence that is unconditioned consciousness, not the consciousness that we create based on the events of the day, our opinions, our triggers, our biases, or our habitual patterns of behavior.
Tolle references the Book of Revelations from the Bible to make this point. He points to how the Bible references the collapse of the old system of things so that a new world arises, a new earth. This is specifically why he says he chose the title for one of his books the “New Earth.”
He quotes the Bible: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth”
This new heaven and new earth mean a new world on a manifested level, the manifested realm.
In Buddhism, the Sanskrit word bodhisattva, means “one who seeks awakening.” The root of the word is bodhi which means “to awaken.” In essence, a bodhisattva is an individual on the path to becoming a buddha. That’s you and me.
(This is also the name of a particular and rare type of ficus tree called ficus religiosa, or sacred fig, the type of tree under which the Buddha became enlightened. This is why we use the symbol of the Bodhi leaf in the Satsang House logo and we have a Bodhi on the Satsang House property.)
We all have what in Buddhism is called our “buddha-nature,” an inherent goodness that is present not only in you and me but in all sentient beings. According to the teachings, this buddha-nature "the natural and true state of the mind,” is the pure luminous mind free from what triggers our habitual patterns of behavior. Buddha-nature is inherently present in every sentient being.
This buddha-nature is said in the teachings to illuminate once we rid ourselves of our triggers and habitual patterns of behavior.
So this then begs the question...
How do we rid ourselves of these habitual patterns of behavior and the triggers that ignite them? First by getting still, by learning the art and practice of presence. Once we become still, we can gently begin to explore the behaviors that set the triggers in motion.
With continued, committed and dedicated practice, we will find ourselves becoming less reactive and more responsive. It is a subtle but very profound shift in our way of being. In the midst of the dire need around the world, we can choose to be present.
If you would like to learn how to be more present through the practice of meditation, Maggie offers a Basics and Benefits of Meditation Introduction class as well as a more comprehensive Mantra Meditation course.
To deepen your practice and begin to transform your habitual patterns of behavior, you can also meet with Maggie for spiritual, life, or business coaching which can include meditation.
The need for us to do so has never, at least in my lifetime, been greater.
We need to become not only practitioners of presence but also teachers of presence. We do this by practicing meditation and mindfulness on a regular basis so our presence brings this “new earth” so this new world can arise.