Tag Archive | Presence

Tracking Presence

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“To efficiently practice Presence, I find it useful to track it.”

“How do you track it?”

“I have a system for tracking Deep Work. At some point, I had the idea to use it to also track Presence.

I track Deep Work (DW) using a pencil.

1. A pencil-dot in the middle of a square represents 30 minutes of DW. (short DW block)
2. Two joined pencil-dots represent 1 continuous hour of DW. (long DW block)
3. If two pencil-dots are not joined, it means there’s a break in between.
4. If more than two pencil-dots are joined, it means I lost balance. (Feedback)

I track Presence using a pen.

5. A pen-dot on the line between two squares represents a 5 minute micro-meditation.
6. A pen-dot over a pencil-dot means I started the DW block with a Centering micro-meditation.”

On Learning and Quality

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I optimize learning?”

“Realize that there’s two aspects to it: the learning foundation, and the learning process.

The former refers to getting yourself in a peak mental and emotional state for learning. That means optimizing what Brian Johnson calls the Fundamentals:

Sleeping
Eating
Moving

It also means training your capacity to focus.

As concerns the latter, start by asking a better question.

What exactly do you want to optimize about the learning process?”

“I want to maximize learning density [<link; short read]. The amount of learning I get done every day.”

“The problem with that statement is that it focuses only on quantity.

Let’s say you get a lot of learning done in a day, but of low quality. Think cramming for an exam. You have a high density, but very low quality.

The learning process has an input and an output. Let’s say you have a lot of efficient input in a day but zero output. You have a high density, but an imbalanced input/output ratio [<link; short read].

You want to get more learning done every day. (Quantity)

AND

You want to get more out of your learning every day. (Quality)
You want to be more present in your learning every day. (Quality)
You want to be more balanced in your learning every day [<link; medium read]. (Quality)

Quality has four components: Effectiveness, Efficiency, Presence, and Balance.

We can think of effectiveness as the macro, and efficiency as the micro. Strategy and tactics. Both are essential.

To maximize density, maximize efficiency. 

Better still, focus on maximizing all aspects of Quality. You can think of them as the Quality-checklist.”

On Implementation: Micro-Moments of Positivity

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I implement micro-moments of positivity [<link; short read]?”

“What is the essence of those moments?”

“Feeling?”

“Precisely. Every micro-moment of positivity is one or more feelings.

This suggests two aspects of the practice:

amplifying those feelings when they occur
generating them when they don’t

You can amplify them through emotional flooding [<link; short read] – or stacking, to use a different metaphoric-model.

Whenever someone makes you smile or laugh for instance, you can access the feelings of Love and Gratitude (Loving Gratitude [<link; short read])

To generate them, you need to get clarity on what they are.

How do you want to feel consistently?

“I want to feel Joyful, Peaceful and Energized, Loving, Playful and Grateful.”

“If you were to make one of them central, what would it be?”

“Love.”

“You can use Love as a gateway to access all others, and you can use all others to find your way back to Love.

Back to your initial question.

What is the essence of the practice?”

“Having as many micro-moments of positivity as possible throughout the day.”

“We might say the purpose is to increase their density.

Local density – how many you access at once.
Global density –  how many times you access them in a day.

We’ve already touched upon local density with emotional flooding. 

To increase global density, connect it – stack it – with your Presence practice.

That’s another practice you want to do as often as possible during a day.

The core of the Presence practice is Centering – connecting with yourself, with your beautiful BodyMind and the Core of your Being. 

Whenever you Center, Breathe, Smile, Expand, and access one or more of those beautiful feelings. 

You’re thus turning every centering-moment into a micro-moment of positivity.”

On Mindfulness and Meditation

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I love Emily Fletcher’s definition of Mindfulness:

Mindfulness: the art of bringing your awareness into the present moment.

“Bringing your awareness into the present moment is easy. Keeping it there, that’s the hard part. I’d rephrase the definition to:

Mindfulness: the art of keeping your awareness in the present moment.

“What’s the practice?”

“I find it useful to compare it with Meditation.

Meditation is the practice of focused awareness. Focusing your attention on a point (anchor-point).

Mindfulness is the practice of diffuse awareness. Focusing your attention on the now, on the present experience, and engaging all senses (VAKOG).

The two practices are complementary.

It is possible to combine the practices into one. 

Mindfulness Meditation is the practice of both focused and diffuse awareness. While focusing your attention on a point, expanding your awareness to your entire peripheral field of vision, and engaging all senses. 

I know this practice from NLP. The practice originates from Hawaii where they call it Hakalau. In NLP it is also referred to as ‘the now state’, or ‘the learning state’.”

“You use the word ‘presence’ a lot. What’s the difference between mindfulness and presence?”

“The way I use them,
presence is the desired state,
mindfulness and meditation are the practice for reaching the state.”

Moment-to-moment Checklist

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I’m (re)learning to get in touch with my BodyMind and my emotions. I’ve been reading a lot about it lately. It’s challenging, after being disembodied for so long, but I’m making progress.”

“What does your practice look like?”

“The main practice is a moment-to-moment mental checklist I created for myself. This is part of a bigger practice which I call Loving Awareness. The checklist consists of four self-checks:

Breathing: How’s my breathing? Am I breathing through my nose or my mouth?
Posture: How’s my posture?
Expansiveness: Am I expansive or contracted?
Relaxation: What am I feeling? Where in my body am I feeling it? Where am I holding tension?

A beautiful idea I know from Dan Brulé’s book Just Breathe is the two fundamentals of Breathwork – the process of mastering your breathing: Breath Awareness and Conscious Breathing.

He calls Breath Awareness ‘Being the breath’ – ‘The breath breathes you.’
He calls Conscious Breathing ‘Doing the breath’ – ‘You breathe the breath.’

I’d read a lot about breathing, and everyone spoke only about the latter. From Dan Brulé I learned the beautiful practice of just being with (and savoring) your breath, without trying to control it in any way.

Expansiveness refers to physical expansiveness – how much physical space I’m occupying –, and attentional expansiveness – how wide my field of awareness is. I noticed I have a tendency to collapse my field of awareness, especially when under the influence of unpleasant feelings. This check is meant to counter that.

Relaxation is essentially a body scan, with the scope of eliminating all tension. As I notice tension, I embrace it with Loving Acceptance and let it go.”

The Challenge Principle

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I can’t meditate. My mind is racing / I’m feeling x.”

That’s the BEST time to meditate.

Remember the ultimate goal of the practice.”

Achieving Stillness under ANY conditions.

“Keep that in mind always, and treasure any opportunity to practice it.”

On Love and Presence

Fragment from imaginary dialogues

“Meditation is a practice, so a means to an end. What is its end?”

The skill of Presence.

The skill determines the amount of time you spend in the present moment – how present you are in your own life –, which reflects the level of control over your own mental/emotional processes.”

“So Meditation is the practice of the skill of Presence.”

“Yes.

I also like to think of Meditation as the unit of practice.”

“Why do you keep redrawing the map of the practice?”

“I’m constantly trying to simplify it, to get to the essence of it.”

“What’s the newest insight?”

To practice Presence is to practice Love.

The map of the Presence practice

The practice has two components:

Attention
Maintaining your attention on one thing. It can be the breath, or anything else.

Acceptance
The response to your present experience, whatever it is. 

We might call them Loving Attention and Loving Acceptance.”

“What about Kindness and Compassion?”

I see Kindness, Compassion and Gratitude as expressions of Love.

On Presence and Meaning

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I evolve my Presence practice?”

“One way is through Meaning.

Viewed as a means to an end, what is the ultimate end of it?”

Stillness / Tranquility / Peace.

“What’s the difference between them?”

“They’re different metaphoric-models expressing the same inner-state.”

“Get clear on what the state feels like, and keep the end in mind every time you practice Presence.”

Daily Rituals 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Viewed through the 80/20 (Pareto) filter, what’s the most important part of the day, the 20%?”

“The beginning and the end. Those are the parts you have most control over. They give the day structure and momentum. I like to think of them as the AM and PM Rituals.”

“What’s your process for creating them?”

“I start with two questions:

What do you want to think?
What do you want to do?

As concerns the thinking, there’s two aspects to it:

How do you want to think about the process in the moment? [as a means to make it meaningful]

eg

The process as Ritual
The process as
Meditation

What’s the first thing you want to think when you wake up in the morning?
What’s the first thing you want to think when you close your eyes at night?

You can have a (slightly different) little mantra for each.

eg

I want to start and end the day with Love and Gratitude, so my mantra has the structure:

Good morning/night Dani
Love mantra
Gratitude mantra

As concerns the doing, this has to do with creating sequences of specific actions. You can think of them as checklists. You can start by having them written down, until you internalize them.

eg

AM Ritual:
Making bed
Drinking water
Meditation
Activation [
energizing yourself]
– Mental: Writing / Journaling
– Physical: Moving
Priming [
readying your Compass]
– Recommitment
[Purpose, Goals]

PM Ritual:
Reflection on the day
– Writing / Journaling
Preparation for the next day
Priming [
something for your mind to work on over night]
– MIQ (Most Important Question)
Meditation

“Does the order in which you do them matter?”

“It doesn’t.

Play with them, experiment.
Experiment with the content,
experiment with the sequencing,
experiment with the duration,
until you find the structure that works best for you.

One important aspect is to not just go through the motions. 

How you do them is as important as doing them. 

Strive to do them mindfully, to be totally present in the doing. That’s the purpose of thinking of the entire process as Meditation. You can even ask yourself at the end:

How present was I?

The Beautiful Practice 3

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

You can practice something in any waking moment.

“The challenge is remembering it.”

“Think of it as part of the practice. 

Ask yourself often:

What’s the practice?

In any moment, know what you’re practicing, whether it’s a value or a skill.

You can even say it to yourself.

eg
[I’m practicing…] 
– Presence, Love, Connection [Values]
– Questions-Thinking, Models-Thinking [Types of Thinking]
– Empty-Space, Inversion [Specific Principles/Models]
…”

“In any moment? Is that really possible?”

“It’s one of those things worth striving for, even if you may never achieve it.”