Posted by: eveyoga | July 8, 2011

The Gift of Presence

When asked what gift he wanted for his birthday, the yogi replied: “I wish no gifts, only presence.” ~Author Unknown

Okay, okay, it’s a corny pun, But the above quip might also be seen as rather clever because it sums up the very aim of yoga practice – the cultivation of presence.

Today I was talking to my friend, Jen on the phone. Like me, she’s a yoga teacher. I mentioned something to her which I’d forgotten I’d told her before. She remembered it in detail. Jen is one of those people who is acutely present, who listens very carefully, remembers people and what they have to say. I admire her for her ability to stay present; it’s a gift.

We think that the most important thing is getting ahead in life. Isn’t that a funny expression? Ahead of what? Getting ahead might mean not being here. Not being here for the moment-by-moment experience of savoring the taste of a meal, remembering the words of a friend’s story, hearing the hooting of an owl in the woods, or catching a glimpse of a fleeting rainbow.

Time has a funny stretchy quality. When we’re racing against the clock to meet a deadline or trying to fit just one more task into a busy schedule, there’s not enough time and it feels compressed. When we stop, breathe, look around at where we are, and feel our two feet on the ground, in the moment, time magically opens up.

I felt Jen’s presence today as a gift, but it also reminded me, presence is a gift I can freely give myself anytime I’m awake to being in this.

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