One of the things I have always felt in the presence of masters is this deep sense that there is more than enough time.
I remember sitting with my guru, when I was young, in a garden in Delhi. It was the first time I had met him in person and although our encounter was only a few minutes it felt like hours. When you were with him, despite his intense schedule, he always felt relaxed and unhurried. You felt spoiled by the abundance of time you were getting when in fact it was not time but rather presence you were receiving.
To be more present is to make more life.
It is to be the sort of person who can bend time.
It seems to me that to be unrushed is a lost art form.
Presence and rushing have never met.
In pursuit of knowledge, every day something is added.
In the practice of the Tao, every day something is dropped.
Less and less do you need to force things, until finally you arrive at non-action.
When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.
The monkeys in the camp are cheeky. They like to sit on the paths between the rooms and scare the guest as they walk past. Mostly, it’s a game of intimidation- they advance on you and see if they can make you run away.
Many of the people around the camp have actually become afraid of them. Yet there are certain people the monkeys do not mess with.It can be quite interesting to notice when you walk in a group down the path who the monkeys choose as their mark.
I remember another time when I worked for a period with big cats in a sanctuary that they would immediately select a person in the group that was interacting with them as the one to try and cut from the herd. It was fascinating to see the speed of the selection. Luckily these were cubs we were raising, so there was never any danger, but still the process was interesting.
There is a study that was done some years ago where known psychopaths would watch a 12 second video of people walking down a path. Without fail the psychopaths would select the same people as their victims based on a set of almost imperceptible cues.
We express very subtly to people how they can treat us. Many people I work with need assertiveness training. They need to learn to stand up for themselves. I think of this as a kind of wildness. To know what you need and where you stand all the time. Like a wild animal, very honest and not at all harmless.
Finding this place inside yourself paradoxically makes you not dangerous but safe. People feel you are not the one to target. Being in touch with your truth says don’t inflict yourself on me or there will be consequences.
I see this all the time in nature. The animals let each other be, stay out of each other’s way and allow everyone to get on with it. Occasionally, when there is no other option, they unleash there teeth and claws and set a very clear boundary.
Trusting you can stand up for yourself according to the studies Brene brown did is the doorway to deeper compassion. She found that the people that were the most compassionate had the best boundaries.
Learn to growl as a way to maintain harmony.
There is a tree I know that has been teaching me about the power of presence. It’s an ebony tree with a thick black stem and dark limbs that flex into a thick canopy of evergreen leaves.
In stillness, the tree is uniquely itself. It is elegant. It does not have a five-year plan. The tree does not need to look busy to feel valuable or important. It is not actively doing anything. Yet, the scope of what that tree achieves is quite remarkable.
The tree invites birds to its branches. Recently a giant eagle owl took to roosting in the recesses of it dark shaded branches.
At a certain time of year it fruits and monkeys and baboons gleefully take to its branches.
Nyala can bee seen under the tree eating leaves that have fallen to the earth due to the monkeying around in the branches above.
A monitor lizard is living in a hollowed section of the trunk.
The tree’s presence is formatting the space around it. It’s shaping an infinite scape of occurrence simply by being itself. It’s essence arising out of it’s deep unmoving refusal to be anything but itself.
Let your presence invite everything to be itself around you.
Harmony is everything being uniquely itself, and in that way a part of a greater whole.
The force of life moves a leopard.
I believe presence is the ability to meet life. It is the simple way that the very intelligence of life guides us in every moment.
Leopards live in this deep union with the unified field of intelligence. They don’t move…they are moved.
What I mean is that a leopard does not have a verbal mind. There is not the mental construction “I should get moving”. But rather the moment shapes them from a feeling, from stimuli – maybe an impala crosses their path. Maybe the day cools. Maybe shade beckons. The unfolding of life asks for an action and the leopard is guided into movement by what is being asked. In this way the leopard’s movement is aligned with the entire movement of the universe.
We see this in humans, in great masters. Martial artists and dancers fall often into this place where the dance and the dancer have become one and the same.
Our goal is to remove all mental clutter, insecurity or trauma, to the point where the moment shapes us and simply informs us of what is required of us. This is the empty way of Zen.
This is the way of the leopard.