Presence and Compassion

being in presence with buddha on the stoopThis happened the other day:

I took fifteen minutes to be in presence with just myself and the moment, on my cozy new front stoop. The sun streamed on my face, blazing through my closed eyelids on a middle November day.
My boingy chair was just boingy enough that when the wind snuck around the corner, I swayed slightly, like the tree next to me.
I felt like an island of stillness. It’s been entirely too long since I’ve spent time outside not in busy-ness, but just connecting to the rhythm and soul of my neighborhood.
I noticed the quiet, contented babble of little girls meandering by, while their dog’s tags tinkled along next to them.
I noticed parts of my body would return to holding on when a car swished by. I asked them to to gently let go once again.
I thanked the thoughts that believed they needed to be noticed during this stillness, and assured them they weren’t being shunned; that I would visit with them at a more convenient time.


I’ve not always been the most consistent in my meditation practice. Even typing that phrase makes it sound like a big deal, which is probably part of why I often found it easier to forget it. Knowing me, I’d worry I wasn’t doing it ‘right enough’ to make it work.

I can be so silly sometimes.

Lately, I’ve just been doing it, in the most simple way possible. Just sit still with me. Be quiet. Remind myself that I’m here, in this body, in the moment, independent of the flitting thoughts and to-do lists. It’s actually become a bit addictive.

Why do so many of us find it “hard” to do?

Today I was listening to Marie Forleo talk about her meditation practice. At 2:40 she talks about how meditation can be a high-speed connection to presence with our inner teacher, who knows what we need to move forward.

I wondered if that’s why we “think” it’s so hard to do. Our layered inner knowing already knows what we might hear, and perhaps knows that thing is an inconvenient truth that will put us at a crossroads we’re not yet ready to navigate.

Compassion for what is.

What if meditation not only brings us into deep presence with our inner guru and full truth, but also is the tool for us to handle the knowing without fear? Pretending away our deepest yearnings leads to other ‘problems’ that can become a distraction to keep us busy. Spending time in presence with our true self, we can connect to the compassion that’s always available for our very human desires and worries.

If we can spend a few minutes in stillness each day, our focused presence teaches us that we can be calm and compassionate even as we also carry those thoughts and fears. They do not have to rule every moment. The practice teaches us what it feels like to notice without discomfort. We will always have concerns we’re not quite ready to deal with, or circumstances we find confusing. That does not mean we need to keep running in every waking moment. Spending time in stillness allows our inner teacher to come forth in all circumstances, assisting us in staying grounded and centered.