Practicing Presence - Noticing


Often when I'm facilitating a group, I take a moment to have everyone "check in." As a teacher and a speaker (and a human) I know how easy it is to zone out - or, as is the case in doing good soulish work - to block out. It's a common human ingrained coping mechanism to almost hypnotically drift away mindlessly rather than to do the very hard work of being gently honest with where I am in a moment. "Ignorance is bliss" because it doesn't take as much energy or intention to live in ignorance. Being present takes way more intention and energy than living hypnotically.

So, when I am speaking or teaching or facilitating group or individual Spiritual Direction, I often say something like this: "Let's just take a moment to gently check-in with yourself - just honestly notice where you right now. Are you here? Or, in your head, are you skiing in Switzerland?"

Naturally, there are St. Bernards waiting to help you if you are skiing in Switzerland! I need to get Rocco one of these whiskey barrels!

Naturally, there are St. Bernards waiting to help you if you are skiing in Switzerland! I need to get Rocco one of these whiskey barrels!

It doesn't matter what the response not be embarrassed if your mind is off skiing in Switzerland. Simply admit what is - and do this without fear of any judgment and without need to self-castigate or to even to change anything. 

Even if you're just paying attention that you're not paying attention, you've just opened yourself to experience a moment as holy.

Holy? Really? Noticing makes a moment holy? Well think for a moment about Moses in Exodus 3. He is out in the backside of the desert, tending his father-in-law's sheep when he notices a bush that is burning, but not being consumed. Moses says, "I will turn aside to notice [this]..." (Exodus 3.3) and, indeed, he leans in to take a deeper look.

Then the holy happens: "When the Lord saw that Moses turned aside to notice, God called to him, 'Moses, Moses.'" And Moses said, "Here I am." (v4)

Notice that the Lord notices that we notice. And when we do, it's as if we've opened a doorway to the heavenlies - as if we've said, "I am willing to be willing to hear you, Lord" or an "I want more" or "Lord, how might I see you?" In being curious and open to a moment, we acknowledge what we say to be already true: that God is with us always. In every moment - whether that moment be mundane or magical.

FOR PRACTICE: This week, as you walk through your days, on occasion check in with yourself. Maybe even set an alarm on your cellphone to ding every afternoon at 3 as a reminder to ask, "Where am I in this moment?" Wherever your mind is...just stop, simply say, "Here I am, Lord" and listen in for God's love with you in that very moment - whether you are off "skiing in Switzerland" or aware of your heart's deepest desires. 

Please feel free to comment below - what are you noticing as your engage with this practice? Or if you have a question, why don't you go post it on the reFresh facebook community so that others (who are also likely asking the same question) can engage in the conversation!

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