Presence. It would be prudent for us first to define being present as being at particular location or in a situation at a given time. Usually now, in the moment. Presence, as a plural noun may be defined as said present, but include the yet not unknown or unseen. A sensation where one may experience conscious awareness of something, which is not defined by the “normal rules” of existence. In meditation practices, we refer to presence as the ultimate state of being which underlies all the goings on around us and the working of our minds. A place of sheer joy, love and peace. Total awareness to where there are no questions, no answers pure and total consciousness.  Some point to it by calling it Nirvana.

Often we find ourselves in thoughts of the past and the future. That’s okay, providing we are present of mind, aware of the fact that our mind is taking us on a journey in the thoughts of the past, which only exist as thought of the past. The past is over. It may contain valuable lessons to guide us in our actions in the present (the now, the moment) or an understanding of why somethings are the way they are due to past events; however, thoughts of the past may lead to negative thoughts and feelings. “Why did this happen? I should have done that. I miss. I lost. I regret.” So on and so on. It is okay if you go there, most of us do not have a choice. Bring your awareness to when thoughts of the past create suffering for you and you may find you go there less.

Future thoughts, more thinking, often not purposeful. Thoughts of the future often just come to mind. The thoughts lead to fantasy and mental movies, often driven by desire or expectation.  Fantasies about some future events which will contain so much more when the moment unfolds than you can ever imagine. Moments which may also be wrought with disappointment when they don’t live up to your expectations. It’s okay. Don’t fight these happenings in your life. Observe them with an awareness of any judgements or negative thoughts you add to the observations. It’s okay to plan for the future, just be aware when self-seeking slips in and adds to the plans.

Thoughts of the past and future frequently lead to some level of suffering.

A meditation:  practice it here and there, now and then, when it comes to mind, or not. Focus your attention on your breathing or a sound or object of your choice. When a thought of the past or future comes to your mind, observe it, then return to the focus of your meditation. Include an observation of how the thought made you feel. Observe your physical and emotional response. It’s a new day. Your day.

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Inner peace may mean different things to different people. Some may believe that inner peace is different for all of us, which can also make defining inner peace a challenge. For many of us, the desire for inner peace can be clouded by definition or in our inability to possess the knowledge to find such a state of being. For myself, inner peace is a mental state of being not clouded by the repetitive conditioned programmed thinking of my mind. A state of being where my true conscious self is separate from the manipulation of my thought stream. Like too many people, I had a rough start. I was raised in the 1960s during a time where the line between discipline and abuse had not yet been drawn by society and where, in many homes, neglect and victimization was the norm. In too many arenas, it is still the same for many unfortunate children and young people today. As a result of the environment I was raised in, I spent most of my twenties in a state of mental anguish. At the age of 27 I came to the understanding that abusing drugs and alcohol was not the answer for dealing with a tortured mind, and though I was able to accomplish and attain many material things that the world had to offer, I wanted something more, inner peace. After being diagnosed with institutional grade PTSD and several sever forms of depression, I decided to take on the challenge of psychoanalytic therapy. For 13 years, I worked with therapists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, and medical doctors to address the disorders that were the result of my upbringing. I included personal studies of psychology and human behavior to add more knowledge in my pursuit of wellness. By the age of 40, as I had always done, I was sharing the knowledge I had gained and my life experience with others with similar situations to my own. Despite my efforts, I could still not separate from the mind of a manic depressive. I could not attain inner peace. My desire for inner peace led me to meditation. Meditation is a practice that separates us from the workings of the conditioned programmed mind and the endless stream of thought. After several months of mediation studies and practice, I began to feel the separation of my true self from the confines and mental torture of my own mind. At that moment a new, although difficult, journey had begun. I spent years of riding the roller-coaster of mental anguish and peace as I continued my struggle to mental freedom. Now, 18 years since my meditation studies commenced, I find myself in a state of conscious presence that allows me to live peacefully with a mind suffering from mental illness. My journey has included sharing my knowledge and understanding of the inner workings of the mind with others to help them attain peace and joy as I have; aiding them in their quest to escape the suffering of the confines of their programmed conditioned minds. I have recently taken my teaching to a new level, carrying myself as a published writer, teaching mediation and sharing the knowledge of the ability for each and every one of us to achieve our natural state of being, which is peace, love and joy.

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