What is presence?
Before I talk about presence, I invite you to think about some moments in time…
Remember a time when you were reading a bedtime story to a small child, fully absorbed, wrapped up together in enjoyment, both laughing out loud even when the story wasn’t that funny.
Recall a time when you listened to your best friend while they poured their heart out about a recent trauma. When there was nothing you could do but sit and listen to their story.
Or a time when you listened to someone with a problem and while you were listening an idea took hold, their thinking expanded and new solutions appeared to them. It happened in front of your eyes. You did nothing.
Notice, in those moments, the total absence of judgment (of yourself or the other person), criticism, worry, concern, plans for the future, regrets about the past.
Notice also that in those moments there was acceptance, joy, pleasure, kindness, compassion, sometimes curiosity, love even.
They are all moments of Presence.
In that moment when you watched wisdom appear in the person before your eyes, were you aware of the significant part you played in that happening? Without your presence it would not have happened.
When you saw the joy in the child’s face whilst listening to the story, did you realise that the level of joy would not have been experienced without your presence?
When you watched the face of your best friend calm down as they experienced a level of peace about the trauma, were you aware that the impact of your presence was this calming down?
Notice how your pure presence impacts on another person in the most positive way. Also notice that you did not make those moments of presence happen. You did not work at getting into a state of presence. All thoughts dropped away and you fell into that space. In those moments, in that space, creative potential flourished, wisdom surfaced, joy occurred.
Being fully present with another person is the best thing you can ‘do’ for another human being. It’s the most natural thing in the world, yet it seems that it can be the hardest thing in the world. It’s not something you do, it’s your ‘being’ or in other words, it’s who you really are. It’s the presence of who you really are that makes the difference.
And if you’d like to explore all about this try my Coaching Presence workshop. We’ll spend two days helping you to find the understanding that will enable you to be more present, more of the time, naturally and easily.
First published by Maria Iliffe-Wood in February 2018