It was about 4:30 in the morning when it happened.
Every morning, for about four months, I sat comfortably at my desk wrapped in a pre-dawn silence, listening to a CD that entrained the waves of my brain to synchronize the hemispheres.
With my eyes closed in a pitch-black darkness, I went deeper and deeper into the depths of relaxation. From beta to alpha to theta to delta, the wave amplitudes kept getting bigger and bigger.
What I didn’t count on was getting squeezed to death.
All of my bodily sensations and perceptions ceased for what seemed like an eternity. There was only one thing with which I could identify: a pinprick of consciousness in a vast sea of emptiness.
And then came a rising tide of terror that engulfed my awareness.
Even with years of meditative training, I didn’t feel at all prepared for this deathly visitation.
I knew I had to surrender, but in my pinched state of mind, suspended somewhere between life and death, I wasn’t at all sure that a mere intention could make it happen, but in fact, it did.
The terror subsided, and then disappeared, and I became privy to pure nothingness.
Nothing, that is, except Presence – pure presence.
In darkness, I floated inside a field of pure potentiality, where all sense of time and space had vanished. I became a witness to death itself – to a stillness so pure it almost devoured me whole.
The Fundamentality of Presence
That morning, I learned, in no uncertain terms, that a pure presence is fundamental to everyone and everything in existence. In reality, the power of Now is the power of Presence. With Presence at my humble beck and call, I could now invite peace anywhere with anyone at anytime.
Wherever I go, there I am.
With the past behind me and the future yet to be, my encounter with the moment invites the purity of Presence to rinse my awareness, washing away the dross with an evergreen outcome.
My fidelity to the moment is a return to basics – to the basics of sense and sensation, to the basics of sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. My fidelity to the moment is a passage to freedom: to bypass and release random thoughts, to let go of needless need and excessive want, and to bring me back to the essence of who and what I am. My fidelity to the sacred moment is random yet true, allowing me to project a field of conscious perception onto the world in which I live and love and learn.
I find this projection captivating, absorbing, and all-encompassing when I feel called to contemplate, meditate, cogitate, or negotiate. I appreciate this moment all the more when I can absorb the music of nature with a nod to my inner state, feel drawn to peculiarities in both sight and sound, or rest my eyes on a view that strikes me for the first time. I am especially faithful to the expansive moment when I can just sit or stand or bend or twist or walk or jog or dance in a quiet space and pass the time in silence.
Today, my fidelity to the moment offers me rest, relaxing me through and through, releasing me from all that no longer serves me, bringing me a pervasive peace that passeth all understanding.
In reality, in the midst of chaos, conflict, and confusion, inertia and resistance, pain and suffering, misery and depravity, insanity and perversity, Presence is my ultimate anchor to reality.
More fundamental than the heart of my soul, Presence is crucially impersonal, as crucial as having a relationship with Presence that would have me experience a perpetual surrender.
By way of peace, and stillness, and quietude, Presence connects me to my promise – to the promise that resides at the heart of my soul, where promise both informs and inspires purpose.
Life itself is a performance. With Presence, by way of promise and purpose, I convert practice into performance with power and passion, which in turn feeds promise and shapes purpose.
This is the evolutionary imperative, which applies universally to everyone everywhere and everywhen: to realize the essence of who you are, to fulfill both a personal and a kosmic destiny.
Presence, my anchor to reality in a holy moment, transcending the vicissitudes of life and death on a kosmic journey into the ultimate mystery, is forever and always available to all that is.
This post is the second in a series that began here.