Throughout the gospels we read of Jesus being so present in the moment, he constantly “sees” people (Matt 8:14, 9:22, 9:36; Luke 5:20, 7:13), has compassion, then acts. This is the “Jesus equation” of meeting the world’s needs. When we see people, we have feelings about what’s happening in their lives, and we’ve moved to act. Jesus believed in this so much that he uses this same explanation in the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:33). To be present is to see, and to see leads us to having a compassion so great we must act on it. We desire to be a fully present people with ourselves so we can be present with others.
Putting it into practice
Choosing presence is difficult in our busy culture because it requires slowing down to be grounded in your whole being. This is counter-cultural in our hectic world because in our haste we often only engage our minds. Use silence, stillness, waiting, inviting, and listening to ground yourself. Here are two practices to help you choose presence this week with God, self, and others.
Present and accounted for. Be still. Sit in a comfortable position. Become present to yourself through sensing your body in the physical space. For example, feel the floor touching the bottom of your feet. Feel your hands lying in your lap. Take time to sense the physical reality of your body in the space. Finally, feel the rise and fall of your chest as you breathe in and out. Allow yourself to linger in focusing on your breathing. Practice this for five minutes.
A pondering heart. Pick something creative that you like to do such as crafting, cooking, painting, designing, gardening, etc. Fully engage the process of creating. Use few if any shortcuts (for example, if cooking use fresh herbs rather than dried to more fully engage your senses). Invite God into the process before you begin. Be silent as you begin to focus. As your mind might try to wander, keep inviting God into your thoughts and actions. With your mind, heart, and physical senses listen, look, and feel God in the present.