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Can There Be More to 'Being Present'?

By Andrea Lee Avari

These days the focus in some spiritual teachings is to be present in the Now, bringing yourself into the present, living in the present. In this way we are encouraged to realize the consciousness of Oneness, consciousness becoming aware of itself.

We are asked to remember who we really are when we have a feeling of separateness. We are told that many of us spend most of our day out of our bodies living in the past or living in the future, rarely grounded in our bodies and fully conscious of what we are doing and where we are.

Awareness of our surroundings would include using all of our senses, our thoughts quiet, allowing us to be what we are doing rather than feeling separated from it as an act of behavior. If we pay attention by observing our daily process, we can see the numerous opportunities available to us to travel in time both past and future, living in places other than the Now. And so we keep practicing and practicing to 'be present.' We forget and then we remember, again and again.

But what if that is only part of the picture? What if there is a cart before that "present moment" horse? What if the mind has to fall into the heart into order to be present? And what if that heart is constricted by the limitations of old wounds?

What if the old wounds cover our heart like heavy overcoats in winter? We keep trying to "be present" in our layers of long underwear full of unhealed conflicts of our life. We try our best to do what we have been told... calling ourselves back out of the past and remembering the essence of who we really are. But we can only be partially present in the now unless we are working at the same time to heal and integrate the fragments of our heart that have been broken. No one can heal them but ourselves. It is our choice.

The sense of realized consciousness has to be felt not with our thinking minds but with our loving heart. Simply working to be alert to the present moment in the Now is not enough. When an isolated part of the wounded heart gets our attention (and it definitely will as we live in relationship with one another), then we know we have work to do. We can feel it throughout our body... an upset stomach, a stiff neck, etc.

The heart wants to be whole and resonate with the healing energy that is the glue of the universe. It will continually tap on our consciousness, asking to be let in, nurtured and to come Home. All it asks is for our embrace rather than ignoring it or trying to cover it up with some distraction or another.

Maybe we don't want to feel the old pain of those past hurts. Maybe it seems like too much work. And who would want to revisit those old places of resistance? But then, who wants to keep carrying them? It takes a lot of energy to walk around bundled up in piles of constricted clothing that we don't need anymore. In this state of consciousness we are less likely to give voice to that which needs to be spoken. We tend to give our power away (remembering that no one can take it; our power is ours to give if we choose). It is hard on the heart.

What if our present moment work is simply to be the process of acknowledging that separated fragment of the heart that triggers an emotional and bodily reaction of anxiety and pain? What happens if we practice showering it with compassion and love, embracing it with acceptance? What if we just hold the fragment in our heart and allow the loving energy to gather in the separated and wounded part and bathe it with healing energy?

With each gathering in of a fragmented part of our heart, the ability to be more fully in the present moment increases because another heavy overcoat of the heart is dissolved into light. It doesn't matter whether it is a feeling of being not good enough or a fear of abandonment, or any other fear. Love is the ultimate medicine that heals all.

We watch in amazement at how quickly the transformation occurs; how quickly love dissolves the separated part into the whole. The heavy overcoats fly off the heart and into the ethers. The heart then takes a deep breath and expands with a renewed passion for living and loving. Our senses are revitalized. We can feel more where we are and what we are doing, whatever it may be. We know who we are because our heart is resonating with our own Being.

A healing and integrated heart leads us into the present moment. Empowerment becomes us. Our voice is freed to speak our truth. Our power center is active and open and balanced. Our intuition flowers with guidance and connection. Attempting to be present in the Now without doing our heart work is simply a big frustrating process of trying. It keeps us knocking at what we think is the door of self-realization. Our integrated heart is the doorway.

Copyright © 2008 Andrea Avari, Ph.D.
Andrea is the author of "A Hit of Heaven: a soul's journey through illusion."

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