What is Presence?
A very skilled theologian, Dr. Clark Pinnock, once declared that God does not know the future! I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard him say this! Coming from an evangelical tradition firmly entrenched in Calvinistic “Orthodoxy,” God was certain to have to know the future, because the future was pre-ordained.
Dr. Pinnock, himself from the same faith tradition, began to take issue with this position in the 1980s. “How,” he wondered, “Could we enter in to a ‘real’ relationship with God if there is any pre-ordination? We have to have the free will to choose for or against such a relationship,” he declared. “And, if we are to have free will,” he continued, “it must be that the future does not, cannot, exist, because if it does, then it exists in the mind of God, and the future is pre-ordained.”
I have come to believe he was right. God exists in an ever-present now. He has knowledge of the past, and of the present, but the future? It does not exist. God can only know everything that can be known, and that is only the present, and the past.
So, presence is practiced when we, like our Creator, live in the here-and-now. And this is the basis of all mindfulness practice. I must learn to leave the past where it is, in the past. I learn from it to ensure I don’t make the same mistakes twice, BUT I avoid regretting it, or trying to shut the door on it. I can look at it, but never feel the need to stare at it any longer.
Similarly, worry, fear, excessive concern, and anxiety are all products of the future, a future that doesn’t even exist!!! I’ve talked about this in other blogs: the bad things I worry about rarely ever happen to me, and on the odd occasion when they do, they are never nearly as bad as I thought they would be.
First, and foremost, I must practice presence with myself. I must focus on what’s happening today, here, now. I work to avoid regretting the past, or to holding on to resentments. I make a decision to let go of what “might” happen tomorrow, and instead focus on what I can do today.
I practice it with myself by breathing, deeply, into my belly, using my diaphragm. I focus on my breath. I check in with my senses: what am I seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling and tasting? This takes me out of the past, away from the future, and in to the here-and-now. I focus on the task at hand. I look at the space I’m in, seeing if I can see it in a new way, noticing things I may have never before noticed.
I practice letting the thoughts that come in go. Too often they are negative, and they take over: they begin to “think” me, rather than I think them. I simply imagine putting them on a white, fluffy cloud, and letting the wind take them away, and return to focusing on my breath.
Being now present to myself, I am available to practice presence with others. I actively listen, remembering the counsel of the half-brother of Jesus that I should always be “…quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” (Js. 1:18). I look at the person as they speak to me. I try to feel what they are projecting beneath the words they are speaking. I may repeat back to them what I heard them say, so that I make sure I have it right.
In other cases, I may just sit and listen to them. Their pain may be so great, that they just need someone there. They don’t even want to talk. They just need someone to “hold space” for them.
With myself, and with others, I try to live in an ever-present now.
But the Bills Have to Get Paid!
Sure, they do! So, I must make plans. Plans to go to work and plans to take vacation from said work. In some way, the “future” is a very real consideration. I need insurance policies, and I need to plan to budget to ensure I can pay them! Presence and mindfulness don’t mean we ignore these things, but it does mean that we pay them only as much attention as is necessary. Then we get back to the business of living today.
We make our plans, do what we must in order to set ourselves up for the future as best we can, and then let the results go. We leave them up to God, the universe, to whomever or whatever we need to. We do what we can, then we let it all go.
This is an important part of practicing presence. We ask for “the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Sometimes We Need a Break!
And that’s where I come in.
My name is Marc Spinoza, and I am an escort/Sacred Intimate in the Greater Toronto Area. I offer Experiential Intimacy Coaching and escort services from my home base in Mississauga. I also do outcalls in the GTA and beyond. The platform I work off is erotic massage, to build connection and intimacy with those I work with.
Maybe you find yourself too occupied with the past, and/or with the future, and you need a bit of time away from time?!? I’d love to help. A session with me, focusing on presence through breathwork and erotic touch might just be what you’re looking for. I offer a relaxing, sensual environment designed to help you to reconnect with you!
If you think you might like to learn more about what I do and how I do it, I invite you to reach out to me at www.marcspinozamassage.com/contact, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternately you can call/text me at 647-703-9515. I’d love to hear from you!