Presence is one of the critical components of flow, mindfulness and ultimately, bliss, or so every book that even touches on meditation or focus will remind you.
They’re not wrong, but finding the right way to get that across to yourself can be difficult.
First, you’ve got guys like Eckhart Tolle, who take the concept and turn it into something mystic, continuously reference themselves as akin to Jesus and Buddha and then use a time-worn technique well known to charlatans and dictators: telling you that you don’t understand, that if you would just listen to them (and them alone, I am sure), then everything will be fine.
The thing is, though, presence knows no masters. It’s just being here, now, doing whatever you’re doing with full attention and awareness. All this excess dogma of vibrations and collective insanity is just that – excess. It’s unnecessary bollocks.
It’s someone trying to take a simple concept and turn it into a religion – a religion that they either control or profit from. Or both.
Tolle, for example, as “kind” as he presents himself, scares the hell out of me. He is not someone in whom I would ever entrust absolute power. Philosophically, he makes the same mistake I see in Ayn Rand’s work. He conflates enlightenment with the divorce of a critical component of our actual existence. It’s the opposite of Rand, wherein she denies emotion its place in reality (despite her own well-proclaimed focus on reality-based objectivism). Tolle denies the mind, the thinking part of our brain, as a rightful part of our make-up.
Yes, we can lose ourselves in thought and worry. It doesn’t mean the only answer is to stop thinking, just as the answer to emotions clouding our judgment doesn’t mean we should be emotionless.
If a car is running rough, you don’t remove the engine or drain the fuel as a solution.
The point of presence is to sink into the moment and to use that moment as we desire. If we have to do the dishes, we can distractedly do it while spinning circles in our minds, or we can tune everything out and just feel the sponge on the plate. We can be angry about having to do them at all, or we can accept that it’s better to let that go, because they need to be done one way or the other. We can use the time to practice our focus and meditation, or we can enjoy the relative mindlessness of the task to direct our thoughts to something else. We can think of vacation spots for some upcoming time off. We can plan an art project or think about some personal improvement we want to make. Maybe we think about some behaviour we’d like to change in ourselves, or the meaning of life.
Directed thought. Focused thought, rather than whirling funnel clouds of worry or stress or anger.
Simple. Take a breath, let go and just do what you’re doing. Think about what you want to do, what would be most productive, what would allow you to experience peace and joy, here and now, and then do it. Do what works.
Ignore all the other shit, the doomsday-isms, the mansplaining about the impact of periods to women or the amoral stance on behaviour (in the power of now, the mind can be free of concepts, like the concept of non-violence). To me, that’s terrifying and speaks to a mindset more narcissist than enlightened, and given the obvious desire for guruhood, one that probably has far more to do with greed than the raising of humanity’s positive energy.
But then, what do I know?