Presence, not presents

December 23, 2009

It’s another line from the Letter from Jesus I posted last week.

Being present has long been a part of the spiritual practice of eastern religions. But what does it really mean to be present?

It means being in the moment. Giving your full attention to whatever you are doing. Not surfing the net. Not checking your Blackberry. Or answering the cell phone. Not being distracted by the million other things. Not getting ready to make our next statement. Just being here now.

I have a friend who personifies this. When I have a conversation with her, which (in real-time) hasn’t been very often in these recent years, she give her full attention to our dialogue. She listens. Her emails are thoughtful and thought-provoking. (That’s you, G!)

Being present puts us in touch with our curiousity. Our creativity. Connects us more closely with one another.

When we practice active listening, we’re giving the other person a real gift. Which is what Jesus meant in that letter. “Presents are optional. Real presence is necessary.”

So in this holiday season, when there’s so much focus on giving presents, we might think about giving presence, as well.

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