The Art of Feeling Presence
Within every human, as well as every living being, there is a flow of energy. As humans, we are usually not aware of the energy flowing inside us because we are too busy dealing with everyday situations. Sometimes, for example, when we are very tired and resting in bed or reclining in our favorite easy chair, we may be a little aware of the energy, but usually we aren’t. Getting in touch with this energy flow can open our awareness to a much deeper and wider experience than we ever thought possible.
Feeling presence is not imagination or an illusion, it is as real as sunlight and gravity. It is formless yet fills every cell in your body from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. Feeling presence is the portal that allows you to break through the ego barrier because by feeling it you become the witness of your body, your thoughts, and the energy within. Once you feel presence you may recognize a connection between your own awareness and the awareness of a higher consciousness. It is truly an enlightening experience.
This first thing you want to do to feel presence is to get in touch with your body. Your body knows what is good for you, but you may have lost the ability to listen to your body like most of us have. One of the things that is important for feeling presence is being able to accept whatever is happening in the body and relax into it. This doesn’t mean that you must ignore pain and discomfort which might be signs of injuries or illnesses. On the contrary, injuries and illnesses must be taken care of as soon as possible.
The process of learning how to feel presence consists of two distinct parts. 1) The first part is the art of being aware of your thoughts and body sensations. As you sit in silence, thoughts will pass in and out of the mind and subtle sensations will occur in your body such as discomforts here and there, the process of breathing, the growl of a hungry stomach, an itchy nose, the heart breathing, and so on. 2) The second part is the simple act of just letting all your judgment of those thoughts and sensations dissolve into neutrality – letting your experiences be neither good nor bad but just be.
As you sit in non-judgment of your thoughts and your body sensations, you will probably begin to have a deeper and more relaxed feeling. With practice, your ability to let all of the thoughts and sensations go will increase the intensity of your awareness. As you continue to be more and more aware, you will soon realize that what you are doing is becoming the witness of your body and your mind at the same time.
Experience Your Inner Energy
Once you have mastered listening to your body’s subtle nuances you should almost immediately feel the energy that is within you. Focus on nothing but the feeling. Relax into the feeling and allow it to be non-conceptual. The energy may simply be the feeling of existing, somewhat like the steady “humm” of an electrical transformer. See if you can experience it by doing the following exercise:
Sit in a comfortable chair. As you sit, notice your breathing and any other movements, sounds, vibrations, aches, pains, etc. that your body may be producing. Once you get in touch with your bodily sensations begin noticing any thoughts that may pass through your mind. Simply notice everything that is happening in your body and and let it all just be. Don’t try too hard – relax and notice. Don’t judge anything as good or bad because they are simply happening. Once you have become “one” with all of your thoughts and all of your body’s sensations, see if you can disconnect from them and simply feel your whole body from the inside out and from the outside in. What you are feeling is the very subtle energy flow of presence.
If you can commit yourself to experiencing presence, you have automatically stepped into being the witness – the essence of being. This is a very special place to be because, as the witness, you realize that you are more than just a body and a mind – you are consciousness.
The main purpose of this article is to have you feel the freedom of being the witness by losing the bonds that the body and mind have on you. The more you practice the above exercise the more freedom you will experience. When you are ready to go further into a higher state of consciousness you can explore ways that will take you into pure awareness.
Neil Crenshaw, Ph.D.