Question: How do I maintain a sense of presence when I’m in the company of another person? How do I bring presence into conversation?
It’s not easy. The moment you start talking, the two minds come
together and so they strengthen each other. A flow starts, a stream of
thought. A moment ago you were present, and then somebody starts
talking. What applies here is the loss of space during the
conversation. Both participants of the conversation have lost any sense
of space. There are only the words, the mind, the verbalization, the
stream of thinking that becomes sounds. They are taken over by that.
It has its own momentum – almost a little entity, a stream, that doesn’t
want to end.
Often, it generates emotions in the body. That
strengthens it, amplifies it. If the mental stream triggers emotions,
which it often does, especially when talking about other people, what
they did, failed to do, did to you, did to others, criticisms, gossip,
all kinds of emotional [things], the ego comes in. When you can
criticize another, the ego feels a little bit stronger. By diminishing
another, in the delusional system of the ego, you have enhanced your own
self-image a little bit. Any criticism of another is a part of that
energy stream. And then emotions come, and they amplify the thoughts.
It’s the loss of space.
For you to regain space, without saying
“I’m not talking anymore”, one thing is necessary for you – which is the
realization that you’ve lost space. Without that, there’s nothing you
can do – when you’re so taken over by a stream of thought, that you
don’t even know you’ve been taken over by a stream of thought – there’s
nothing you can do. “Forgive them, for they know not what they do”.
They are unconscious. They are the stream of thought. And as the
stream of thought, you don’t want it to end – because you don’t want
your own end. Every entity wants to remain in form for as long as
If there’s the slightest realization that you’ve lost
[space], at that moment you have a choice. What is your choice? Your
choice is to bring some presence, some space, into the stream of
thought. But how do you do that?
It’s coming at you not only
from within your own mind, but it’s coming at you from the other person
too. The awareness is there, and it may only last three seconds, and
then it’s gone again. So you have to use those two or three seconds,
where you realize the loss of space, and do something in that space
where you have some freedom to act. By a conscious choice, you take
your attention out of thinking – but you have to anchor it somewhere
else, otherwise it won’t work. So you choose your breath, or your body,
or some other sense perception around you that you become aware of.
When you are actually talking to another person, it’s probably easiest
to either use your breath or your inner body.
beforehand, when conditions are easier, so that you can do it once it’s
necessary. Go into your inner body, feel that your energy field is
alive. And you’ll notice, you’re not thinking anymore. You can still
listen. The amazing thing is that you can listen to another person,
without thinking, easily, beautifully.
You are listening, but
part of your attention is on your energy field – so you’ve taken
attention away from your thoughts. There is a sense of aliveness in the
It’s ultimately formless; it’s already the doorway into
the formless. Feel that while you sit there and listen, and you’ve
stepped out of the stream of thinking. Then, the quality of the
interaction immediately changes. The other person may not consciously
notice what’s happening, and may carry on for a while. It also does not
mean that you cannot respond anymore. But how you respond and the
quality of your response changes, too. You are no longer contributing
to the negative nature, which is often the case, in conversations.
certain amount of stillness, then, will also be a part of the words
that you speak. It’s so subtle that the other person probably will not
notice it, consciously. So hang on to the inner body, let it be the
anchor, and then you become present. If you lose it again, if the other
person says something challenging, then after a little while you
remember – and you go back into the inner body. That’s a powerful
anchor, and then everything changes from there. It takes continuous