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Presence

The state of presence is a state of being aware of oneself. If one can sustain this state, the God within, one`s Higher Self, awakens and is present.

An advertisement in a magazine

Make the Divine Presence your destination.
-- Al-Ghazali

No one can reach the Divine Presence
except by continuing to practice remembrance.
-- Qushayri

If you ask what the Word of the Presence is,
we will reply, the word “Be.”
--Ibn Arabi

To be or not to be, that`s the question.
-- Shakespeare



Being present is the center of all esoteric traditions and is spoken of in many different ways. Because it is a wordless state and words inevitably fall short to adequately describe it, each explanation about presence shows only one aspect of it. Different symbols of presence are different ways to look at presence. They are all true at the same time and together give a better picture. Ultimately however, presence can only be really understood when one experiences it. Rumi calls it "one thing".

There is one thing in this world which must never be forgotten. If you were to forget everything else,
but did not forget that, then there would be no cause to worry. Whereas if you performed
and remembered and did not forget every single thing, but forgot that one thing,
then you would have done nothing whatsoever.
-- Rumi

Presence is also called remembrance of God or remembrance of Self. The inner meaning of God is the God within, one`s Higher Self.

Christ and God, having the same face, The Louvre, 1450

When the mystery of the oneness of the soul
and the Divine is revealed to you,
you will understand that you are no other than God.
Then you will see all your actions to be his actions
and all your attributes to be his attributes
and your essence to be his essence.
-- Ibn Arabi



This means that remembrance of God and remembrance of Self are the same thing.

There is only one thing to be gained in life, and that is to remember God with each breath;
and there is only one loss in life, and that is the breath drawn without the remembrance of God.
-- Madani

Remembrance of Self – the highest form of remembrance.
-- Koran

O Muhammad, remember thy Lord within thyself.
-- Koran

Be present at every breath. Do not let your attention wander for the duration of a single breath.
Remember yourself always and everywhere.
-- Gujduvani

Presence is also called conscious, spiritual or self-awareness. When the Higher Self is present, it is aware of itself and of the lower self. When the Higher Self forgets to be present, this self-awareness disappears.

Walt Whitman

Purify the mind. In a pure mind there is
constant awareness of the Self.
-- Hindu Texts, Upanishads

The term embryo just describes true awareness
becoming solidified, stabilized, not scattering.
-- Liu Yiming

Who would want anything more than just
this self-awareness right now?
-- Tibetan Texts

By conscious awareness we mean that state
in which one’s mind and feelings are in no way
distracted from what one is doing and saying.
-- Al-Ghazali


Presence is also called being heedful or not being heedless. When the Higher Self is not present, one`s uncontrolled mind is like a monkey, jumping from one thought to the other. When the Higher Self is present, it is heedful of the many thoughts going around, but it`s not distracted by them.

Buddha ignoring Mara's army, the many `I`s,
3rd C. BC, Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C

The heedful person is he who, when called to presence, becomes present.
-- Ibn Arabi

When the mind remains attentive to what one is doing,
when one is whole-heartedly involved,
and when nothing makes one heedless,
that is when one has achieved conscious awareness.
-- Al-Ghazali

Each breath rising from within must arise from presence and awareness and heedlessness must not find a way in.
-- Muammad Parsa


To breathe consciously means passing from one breath to the next in presence, not in heedlessness.
Do not allow a single breath to be drawn empty and heedless of God.
-- Kāshghari

Presence is also called mindfulness or being mindful. When the Higher Self is present one is at peace.

To realize our own Essence of Mind from moment to moment, until we attain Supreme Enlightenment,
so that we are perpetually in a state of right mindfulness, is the Sambhogakaya.
-- Huineng

Don’t think; don’t let your mind think; rest naturally. If you think, all sorts of meaningless thoughts will occur.
Don't wander; don’t wander; remain mindful. If you wander, your spiritual practice will be cast to the wind.
-- Milarepa

She was ever mindful of the Four Truths.
She knew true achievement, that emptiness is empty,
-- Journey to the West

Struggle with all alien thoughts, be always mindful of what you are doing and thinking whether outwardly or inwardly. So that you may put the imprint of your immortality on every passing moment of your daily life.
-- Gujduvani

Chinese character for "nian", meaning to remember, awareness or concentration
Chinese characters for "jin -now", and "xin-the heart or mind"

In Chinese Buddhism 'mindfulness' is translated as "nian". The Chinese character for "nian" is composed of the characters "jin" and "xin", meaning "now" and "heart" or "mind". This shows that being mindful means to have one`s heart in the present moment, to desire to be present.



To awaken the Higher Self one needs to keep one`s awareness on the present moment and not allow the many random thoughts, emotions and associations to distract one. Once the Higher Self is present, alien thoughts can freely flow because one has become the Higher Self and is separate from and observes the lower self. This is true freedom, so presence is also called freedom.

Manjoun watching a battle inside his head
Persian miniature

Freedom of thought means having no thought
in the midst of thought.
--Huineng

Freedom is when one sees oneself impartially as one does an interesting stranger, without praise or blame.
--Rodney Collin

True freedom means constant dwelling in God.
-- Philokalia, Silouan the Athonite

You must re-examine your present state
and find a life of freedom in stillness.
-- Journey to the West



Presence is also called knowing one`s Self, because the Higher Self can only know itself when it is present.

Abraham Lincoln

The body is the temple of the God within you;
therefore it is said, ‘Man: know thyself.'
-- Ancient Egyptian saying

Know thyself, and abide in that state.
-- Tibetan Book of the Dead

Know thyself.
-- Inscription at the Oracle of Delphi

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
-- The Bible, 1 Corinthians 3:16



Presence is also called wisdom or prajna.

Good friends, what is Prajna? It means 'Wisdom'. When you are not foolish moment to moment,
wherever you may be, at any time, always acting insightfully and wisely, then we are practicing Prajna.
One foolish notion is enough to shut off Prajna, while one wise thought will bring it forth again.
-- Huineng

No wisdom comes to anyone except through the presence.
-- Bahauddin

Wisdom is but Self-awareness, beyond all words and talk!
-- Milarepa

This was indeed what is meant by great wisdom,
the boundless dharma of crossing to the other bank.
-- Journey to the West

The state of being present is also called the spiritual embryo or being twice born. The second birth is the birth of the Higher Self.

Taoist drawing

Incubation of the spiritual embryo is all a matter of
single-minded attention not scattering.
-- Liu Yiming

In the language of the Sufis, ‘spiritual being’ means
being born for the second time.
-- Tashkandi

I am born in love now. I am more than myself,
for I have been born twice.
-- Rumi

Even if you are intellectually bright, if you have not met a real teacher, do not indulge in guess-work. As you do
not have personal instruction in the golden elixer,
where can you learn to form the spiritual embryo?
-- Understanding Reality by Chang Po-Tuan


Presence is also called the (Golden) Elixir.

Ancient immortals used the term Golden Elixir as a metaphor of the essence of true consciousness,
which is fundamentally complete and illumined. Growing from one yang to gradually reach
the pure wholeness of six yangs, going from vague to clear, the Gold Elixer develops naturally.
-- Liu Yiming

When the Elixir is formed one sees the original face.
-- Journey to the West

The Golden Flower is the Elixir of Life. There is a secret charm which, although it works very accurately,
is yet so fluid that it needs extreme intelligence and clarity, and the most complete absorption and tranquility.
-- The Secret of the Golden Flower

The six stages of purification by fire ...are in sequence and should never be mixed up;
only then can it produce the Golden Elixir.
-- Taoist Master Chao Pi Ch’en

Presence is also called Buddha nature, fundamental or true nature, or essence of mind.

Mahavairocana Buddha, Dali Kingdom 1163AD,
Shanghai museum

Golden Elixir is another name for one's fundamental nature.
-- Liu Yimng

What is the Buddha-Nature? It is simply your flawless,
present awareness, empty, naked and awake.
-- Tibetan Lama

If you see your true nature, are determined to be sincere,
and always remember to turn your head back to enlightenment,
then you will have reached Vulture Peak.
-- Journey to the West

The six perfections are seeing one’s Buddha nature.
-- Zen Master Bassui


Presence is also called seeing face to face. The ruling faculty or body of spiritual effort and the Higher self are seeing face to face.

A pharaoh and Amun ( a form of the sun god Ra) face to face, Temple of Karnak in Luxor, Egypt

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.
-- The Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:12

As the soul becomes more pure, bare and poor,
and is emptied of all things that are not God,
it truly becomes one with God,
and it looks into God and God into it,
face to face as it were.
-- Meister Eckhart

Sometimes the Lord is absent from us; at other times He is present within us. He is absent when we contemplate
Him indistinctly, as though in a mirror. He is present
within us when we contemplate Him face to face.
-- Philokalia, Maximos the Confessor

The man who comes face to face with God
will become like Him.
-- William of St. Thierry



Presence is also means love. When the Higher Self is present, it cannot but love everything it sees, just like the sun cannot but make everything visible that it shines upon. The lower self only loves when it is loved, it is dependend upon some stimulus.

Bright but hidden, the Self dwells in the heart. He is the source of love,
and may be known through love, but not through thought.
 -- Upanishads

Whoever has achieved love, has God within himself and his intellect is always with God.
-- The Philokalia, John Cassian

All love is connected with presence.
-- Goethe

Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds,
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken.
-- Shakespeare

Presence is also called emptiness. The lower self has to be passive or has to 'die', so that the presence of the Higher Self can come into being. If presence is strong enough, it can then co-exist with the lower self for a while. In this state the Higher Self, "present awareness, empty, naked and awake" is separate from the lower self. Inevitably presence weakens, the lower self re-asserts itself and presence disappears. However, through practise, presence can gradually stay longer and longer.

A Zen painting

The concept of Presence manifests as Emptiness.
-- Milarepa

The seeker has no path save to remove everything he knows from his thoughts and to sit empty-hearted
with God through presence and
remembrance of the heart.
-- Ibn Arabi




A Japanese tatami room


We`ll give you the Dharma-name Sun Wukong, which means 'Monkey Awakened to Emptiness'.
-- Journey to the West

Why was Jesus throwing out those who were buying
and selling and why did he tell those who had doves
to get rid of them? His intention was none other
than to have the temple empty.
-- Meister Eckhart



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