For Presence

November 18, 2010 Leave a comment

|Photo by --Sam--||

Sometimes it takes science a little time to catch up with the world’s wisdom traditions.  Recent research findings from a couple of Harvard psychologists, Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert, confirm what meditation and mindfulness practitioners have long known – our ability to stay focused in the present has a strong correlation with contentment.  Using data collected from a specially designed iPhone application, the researchers report that people spend nearly 47 percent of their waking hours thinking about something other than what’s happening in front of them.  Furthermore, they find that, “Mind-wandering is an excellent predictor of people’s happiness.  How often our minds leave the present, and where they tend to go, is a better predictor of our happiness than the activities in which we are engaged.”  You still with me?

My colleague Gibran Rivera has recently been blogging about Otto Scharmer’s Theory U, and the power of collective presence this framework promotes. Essentially, Scharmer affirms that how we attend and the quality of our individual and shared attention and intention affects what emerges.  We know this from the simple and yet profound experience of listening to someone in a fully engaged way and or when we cultivate and participate in sacred spaces and rituals.  In other words, “presencing” is not just about happiness, but ultimately new ways of seeing, being and doing.  Knowing all of this, can we more boldly accept the invitation of mystics and poets in the midst of our otherwise mundane and muddled lives?

For Presence

Awaken to the mystery of being here

and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.

Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.

Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.

Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to
follow its path.

Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.

May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.

May anxiety never linger about you.

May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of

Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek
no attention.

Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven
around the heart of wonder.

– John O’Donohue

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  • Charlie says:

    Thanks for this blog entry Curtis. Reminds me of the DBT principle of mindfulness. Staying present despite the distractions of the day or the impulses of the mind.

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