Presence – yes, yes, but how…? 

To really be there while doing something – how does that work? I have been struggling with focus lately, doing something and already thinking about the next five steps or about what I said to someone the other day or or or… Not being there, in the moment, whatsoever. My mind was telling me all the time to be patient with myself, my actions, with everything. But somehow… 

It was warm for the first time this month when I spent a beautiful early afternoon at a like close to where I live. Sitting at the shore, thinking about many very different things while trying to read a book… an older man in a canoe approached the water’s edge. Nothing extraordinary at a lake. But something moved my focus towards him as he, with a lot of patience… no, actually with presence. Yes, that’s it, PRESENCE! Similar but oh so different from patience. 

With each grip, each movement he was present. Pulling the canoe out of the water, drying it, taking the wheels out, drying the paddle, storing it away, drying the seat and putting it away, tying everything for transportation. No rush and seemingly without a thought about what still had to be done or when how to do it in the best way possible. Yes, he probably had done it several times before. And of course, I couldn’t look in his head to read his thoughts and what they were about. Still, in this moment, right there, he represented presence. To be and to act in that existence; not to do in order to be. You get the difference? It’s the same subtlety with patience and presence. 

Patience can be challenging to acquire. We strive for it and in this striving we achieve the opposite. For each longing will bring us father away from our goal. Practicing presence will automatically teach us patience: bringing the attention to details of our actions, our breath, muscles moving in our body, contemplating shape, texture, temperature, scent of what we have in front of us… There is nothing else then the moment in which we exist and every step and movement is done consciously or you could say patiently. 

All the inner eyes, that are usually so busy to look in all directions become one to gaze at the word as exactly what it is in that moment. No drama, no script, no imaginary soundtrack (which I would  love sometimes to have in my day to day life!). Just pure existence and the dance of life to the infinite music of the universe. 

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