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The Presence That Can Never Be Lost

Personal Perspective: Discovering what doesn't come and go.

The past and future exist as mere dreams. What is truly alive is only ever this flash instant, this tiny yet infinite sliver of “now,” a now that need not be practiced or cultivated, for it is always and forever the only thing that could ever exist. There is no need to cultivate or practice “being present.” Instead, we can simply notice that presence is all there is for even the supposed absence of it would simply be another present moment. What we experience and call a sense of lack, the feeling that something is somehow missing, is actually the most astounding presence. And so, lack—of presence or anything else—isn’t actually lack but is, in fact, complete fullness, the fullness of life itself, this boundless, fathomless existence appearing as the experience we call lack.

Meditation, prayer, yoga—we can practice such things if we find them enjoyable, but they are not actually needed to bring about presence, for presence is already here, effortlessly and spontaneously, appearing as each instant; in every moment it's shining forth. Contrary to what conventional reality would have us believe, everything is presence.

Fear is presence. Sadness is presence. Joy is presence. Pleasure is presence. Pain is presence. Harmony is presence. Discord is presence. Whether we label what is arising as good or bad, positive or negative, desired or dreaded, whatever arises is presence itself, for there is only ever presence, the presence of what is. From this vantage, it doesn’t actually matter what we’re experiencing in terms of its described content, for everything is the miracle of presence, life arising and then disappearing and then arising again as the next instant, the next flashing forth of reality. We can never be separated from this miraculous presence because there is nothing but.

What I am pointing to here has nothing to do with belief or philosophy. It’s just a simple fact, the fact of presence itself and the reality that what it is, is simply not conceivable. And yet, while every appearance radically transcends any attempts at labeling, categorizing, or describing it, this indescribable presence is not some grey, bland, empty nothingness. It is an unthinkably rich lusciousness, immeasurable in its fullness and completeness.

Mind you, I’m not suggesting that because we can never be apart from this all-fulfilling presence that we should somehow not continue to seek out and try to maximize whatever we find pleasurable while avoiding (as much as we find ourselves able) those experiences and circumstances we find uncomfortable or otherwise not to our liking. But even as we do this, we can also come to see that regardless of how experiences seem to be descriptively, presence can never be lost, for it is the very basis, the very foundation of every momentary perception.

Experiences come and go. But the flow of experiencing itself is constant—always present, always here, always available. This ever-present presence of experiencing is none other than the primal reality itself, a reality that can never be lost because it is what we are and everything is, fundamentally, an ever-present fullness and richness beyond measure.

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