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BEING PRESENT  – from “Recovering Sanity”, E. Podvoll  p. 267

Our  full presence is required.  Presence, in this sense, is a mixture of calmness , alertness and vitality. To arouse that presence, we  find that we  have to work with our own state of mind in a special way.

So being present does not necessarily mean to we  have a placid mind , but that when there is wandering, we notice that, and then come back to environmental situation(..)The key point is to have that flexibility, to notice when you are “off somewhere” and to keep coming back, as a kind of dance.(…)

Being attentive and relaxed at same time also means being unobtrusive . Simply put, you must take your time. It allows for the other person to also be present.  You might be just listening, but at the same time you can contact your own sense of presence and your own concern for the other person. He is in pain but we are not trying to take his pain away, necessarily. You are simply adding your presence to his painful presence.

by “Recovering Sanity”
of Edward M. Podvoll
Shambhala Publications – November 2003