When we relax our usually tense attention on thoughts for a few seconds, we start to notice a space, a field of sorts…a Presence. We see that even without thoughts we still exist, and we come to realize how this Existence is the very presence of Life itself. Bentinho Massaro
The purpose of Lesson One is to help you become conscious of Presence.
This is a relaxation lesson; it’s an experiential, basic introduction with little explanation or intellectual work to be done. More clarification will follow in later lessons.
A Brief Experiential Introduction
One of the simplest ways to recognize Presence is the following two-step exercise:
- Relax your attention away from thoughts and mental labels for a few seconds, and
- In that clear space of mind, recognize what remains: the sense of presence.
Another way of accessing presence is to Ignore thoughts by simply being uninterested in what they have to offer you in that moment.
Or, if you can, simply stop thinking altogether for just a second: as thoughts naturally arise, withdraw your attention immediately from them; tune them out as you would a conversation at the next table in a restaurant.
In the absence of thoughts—or in the absence of interest in them—you are in a space of mind that more easily recognizes that there is aliveness present in this moment: you suddenly notice very consciously that you exist.
You become aware of I-AM; you feel I-Exist.
By relaxing your mind and noticing the presence of I-AM, you shift from automatic thinking and unconscious being, to conscious noticing of the present moment and into an effortless awareness of your true Existence.
Video – “Relax for 2 to 5 seconds”
Contemplation Exercise – What is Presence?
Since some of you may be new to the practice of Presence, this lesson will give you many different definitions of Presence to help you become really clear on what is being pointed to by the word.
Ultimately, it’s all about the experience of Presence, and less about the knowledge or concept of it. So, take a deep breath (like a relaxing sigh) and relax your mind’s chatter for a moment… Just relax. Give up your right to hold onto any tension in body or mind.
Then, slowly, read and lightly contemplate the following sentences, without letting opinions get in the way (such as agreeing or disagreeing). Simply read and absorb. Be unbiased and open-minded. Let the words guide your attention to the discovery of that which we call Presence-Consciousness, or Beingness-Consciousness:
- Presence is the essence of everything that exists.
- Presence is (the substratum of) All That Is.
- Presence is that which everything has in common with everything else: is-ness.
- Presence is noticed as the sense you have when you relax your mind and notice “I exist.”
- Presence is felt as the sense I-AM.
- Presence is Beingness.
- Presence is Is-ness itself.
- Presence is always Here and Now.
- Presence is free from being affected by thoughts, yet includes thoughts in its open presence.
- Presence is free from being affected by feelings, yet includes feelings in its open presence.
- Presence is free from being affected by mind, yet includes mind in its open presence.
- Presence is free from being affected by the body, yet includes the body in its open presence.
- Presence remains unaffected by the changes of life.
- Presence is itself formless, yet expresses itself as all forms.
- Presence is the only consistency in creation; there is nothing else for forms to be made out of. Everything is Presence.
- Presence is like gold shaped into many different types of jewelry: regardless of the form, it remains gold.
- Presence is like clay shaped into many different shapes: regardless of the form, it remains clay.
- Presence is the ocean and experiences are its waves; waves consist of ocean only.
- Presence is shaped into many different forms, yet it remains Presence.
- Presence is beauty, radiance, exuberance, generosity.
- Presence is the Universe.
- Presence is the expressed energy of The Infinite One (The Absolute).
- Presence is abundance.
- Presence is endless.
- Presence is ease.
- Presence is Existence.
- Presence is creation.
- Presence is bliss.
- Presence is endowed with consciousness, cognizance.
- Presence is eternal.
- Presence is deathless.
- Presence is soothing.
- Presence is changeless.
- Presence is present, always and already.
- Presence is what all experience consists of.
- Presence is the one energy underlying all energies.
- Presence is the fundamental vibration of Existence itself (Aum/Om).
- Presence is impartial and non-referential.
- Presence is free of judgement, yet inclusive of it.
- Presence is all-inclusive.
- Presence is effortless and indestructible.
- Presence is peaceful.
- Presence is truth.
- Presence is immortality.
- Presence is love.
- Presence is alive.
- Presence is.
1) Repeat the “Contemplating Presence” Exercise:
- Relax your mind for a few (2 to 5) seconds and slowly read over the descriptions of Presence at least three more times, gently contemplating each sentence. Do this between now and the start of your next lesson.
- Try not to worry whether or not you are getting this “right.” Reading the text above has a power in and of itself that is effortless. Simply let it guide your attention to wake you up to the truth of what’s here, now.
- I recommend, if you ever feel confused or overwhelmed, that you simply return to this first lesson of Trinfinity Academy and give yourself the gift of bathing in the experience of Presence.
2) The 2 to 5 seconds Exercise:
Take a deep breath, relax your thoughts and ideas for 2 to 5 seconds, and gently and joyfully place your attention on the sense of being here, now.
Or simply feel the feeling of I-AM or I-Exist. Repeatedly recognize this sense of I-AM, or the sense I-Exist, in your direct experience of everyday life. Allow it to naturally become more genuine, more obvious, more palpable, and more visceral with each repetition. Naturally. Don’t force anything. Simply let it happen.
Practice this I-Exist recognition throughout the day (at least 12 times per day), for just a few moments at a time; then continue on with your day until the next moment of recognition naturally occurs, or is induced by you remembering this homework assignment.
Tips and a Heads-up
Remember: In the beginning, it’s easier to recognize Presence when you relax than when you’re trying too hard to “get it.” That’s why the instruction is to relax your attachment to thoughts for about 2 to 5 seconds before you try to recognize the sense of Presence.
At some point, you won’t have to intentionally move your attention from thoughts anymore; you will start noticing that Presence is always available—with or without thoughts. Presence will become more and more obvious to you over time; it does for everyone—it’s guaranteed. You can simply let it become truer for you with each gentle repetition of relaxing your thoughts and opinions about life, and placing your attention on the pure and innocent space of here-and-now Existence.
You will find that a moment of recognizing Beingness is like discovering the space behind or beneath your thoughts—much like noticing that there is motionless sky behind the movement of the clouds. Relaxing your attention away from the thinking mind is like shifting your focus from the clouds to the clear blue parts of the sky; it allows for easier recognition of the free presence that remains.
Explanation of the I-Exist Exercise
Placing your attention on the feeling that you exist gives rise to the recognition and experience of pure Presence-Consciousness. And it allows for Awareness (you) to wake up from its entanglement with the dream of being a person inside of a world.
In this way, the person you have assumed yourself to be will very quickly wake up to the recognition of a changeless Presence. Awareness attached to the person will wake up to its truer Self: Presence-Consciousness.
In short, “Person wakes up to Presence.”
More on this in the next few lessons!
Please take enough time to fully integrate the concepts and practices introduced in each lesson. Of course, feel free to take as long as you need.
In fact, we recommend that you feel good about the material already made available to you before proceeding. In the meantime, feel free to discuss, interact, or ask questions in the Forum of whichever lesson you are working on.
You can always come back and access previous lessons at any time.