Presence is an inner state of awareness in which your attention is fully focused in this moment. You are “being here and now,” as many other spiritual teachers have instructed. Okay, so where is here and now? It simply means being in your body! That is having attention focused inside your physical body. The only place where you can be totally here and now is inside your own body. To use the words of the Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, “you have come home to your body”. When you are deeply relaxed into your physical body, you experience a heightened awareness of physicality that is focused in the here and now, in your body, at this time, and in this place. When attention is focused in the body, then all levels of awareness follow. You can feel your feelings and emotions, you can think clearly and you can sense your connection to spirit.
Being fully relaxed into your body connects your mind and emotions together. The body is the vehicle for feeling your emotions, containing your thoughts and expressing the self. When mind and emotions are brought together in the body, you feel whole, balanced and flowing. You think what you think, feel what you feel, and do what you do in the present moment with total clarity. In this blissful state of integrated awareness, you experience that wonderful, elusive sensation commonly referred to as flow.
In a state of integrated presence, your awareness is expanded to encompass the whole of your Self. Your attention is multi-dimensional, in touch with mind, body, emotions and spirit – all at the same time. You are super-aware that your spirit is fully grounded in your body. With this expanded awareness comes a sense of internal size; you feel big inside because your awareness is so expanded. The more grounded you are, the bigger and more powerful you feel. That’s not to confuse feeling big with an inflated, or egotistic, state. Quite the opposite; in this state of enlarged consciousness, you are able to be expansive and generous toward others.
The inner experience of being big is what happened to me onstage while playing Morgan Le Fey in Maui. The spontaneous occurrence of becoming present on stage caused my awareness of Self to expand and fill the auditorium. I became “full of myself” in that good way – not full of ego, but full of spirit. The paradox is that the more grounded in your body you become, the more aware of your spirit you become. Grounding gives you roots, so the wings of your spirit can soar. The results are greater freedom to express, increased confidence and self-control.
Also, because your awareness embraces your whole Self, you do not get caught up in any one aspect of yourself. You don’t become too mental or “in your head” or become overwhelmed by emotions. You are aware of thoughts and of strong emotions, but neither controls you. Both thoughts and emotions are flowing. They are integrated, so no one thought or emotion is able to split off and take over your body. You may feel fear and anxiety, but you realize that they are only emotions that are flowing within your Self. You are able to contain them, so they do not become the entire focus of your awareness. You are bigger than your thoughts or emotions. You remain detached and accepting of yourself. As a result, you have all your thoughts and feelings available to channel into your presentation, performance or communication.
I am Sandra Zimmer, author of It’s Your Time to Shine and founder of Self-Expression Center. I offer group training and individual coaching that can help you transform fear of speaking and become a compelling, persuasive speaker so that you can shine when you share your ideas, insights and expertise.