Monday, August 24, 2009

The Practice of Presence

It is easy to be distracted by all that surrounds us. We are constantly stimulated in our every day lives by many things that seem to be so important. We have many concerns on our minds, decisions to make and problems to solve that keep us from noticing the simplest and yet the most beautiful elements in our lives. I frequently practice being totally present and tuning into whoever, or whatever is around me. I am never disappointed.

Yesterday while on a six mile trek on country roads, I was totally tuned in and present in each moment. Only a block away from my house, I noticed a pair of gold Finch that played in the air just a few feet in front of me. They seemed to be putting on a show just for me.

A doe and her fawn crossed the road only 20 feet ahead on my path.

I watched the breeze shift the leaves on the trees, with each leaf having it's own rhythm and dance in the air.

The highlight for me was several miles into my trek. I was walking up a long incline on a dirt road and about a quarter mile ahead, I saw two figures crest the hill. They were in a race walking rhythm that was perfectly in sync. They were highlighted by the sun behind their backs and a swirl of misty fog that seemed to follow them. While watching this beautiful scene, the music from my IPOD was the perfect soundtrack. A cinematographer would have won an Academy award for creating it, yet it just naturally happened. I was mesmerized by the beauty of nature and my fellow walkers.

These natural and beautiful experiences couldn't possibly be planned. They were there in every moment ready and available to be appreciated. I'm grateful that I was awake on my walk and not distracted by what was yet to come in my day or by what has already passed.

Presence takes practice. I recommend it highly.