Blog: Gift to the Soul: The Space of Presence - Tara Brach

Blog: Gift to the Soul: The Space of Presence

Blog: Gift to the Soul: The Space of Presence

For many of us this is a season when it feels that we are going faster and faster. Everything’s racing, through school semesters, wrapping up work commitments, entering the holidays; the currents of life are in full tilt.

Given the time of year, one student fell into a period of intense stress resulting from a cycle of classes, studying, working and little sleep. He didn’t realize how long he had neglected to write home until he received the following note:

Dear Son,
Your mother and I enjoyed your last letter.
Of course, we were much younger then and more impressionable.

As you know, it’s not just students. Some months ago a friend described getting caught in this state busy-ness while trying to get her daughter to school. She was busy getting things ready while her daughter was trying to show her something. Every time her daughter would call her over she would say, “Just hang on a moment. I’ll be there in a second.” After several rounds of this, the little four-year old came out of her room tired of waiting. She said to her mother, hands on hips:

“Why are you always so busy? What’s your name? Is it President O’mama or something?”

Along with the speediness we have the sense that there is not enough time. It’s interesting to observe how often we are living with that perception. It is usually accompanied by a squeeze of anxiety:

“I’m not going to be prepared,” and a chain of insecurities. “There’s something around the corner that is going to be too much,” “I’m going to fall short,” “I won’t get something critical done.” There’s this sense that we’re on our way somewhere else and that what’s right here is not the time that matters. We’re trying to get to the point in the future when we’ve finally checked everything off our to-do list and we can rest. As long as this is our habit, we are racing toward the end of our life. We are skimming the surface, and unable to arrive in our life.

Thomas Merton describes the rush and pressure of modern life as a form of contemporary violence. He says:

“…to be surrendering to too many demands, too many concerns, is to succumb to the violence.”

When we’re speeding along, we violate our own natural rhythms in a way that prevents us from listening to our inner life and being in a resonant field with others. We get tight. We get small. We override our capacity to appreciate beauty, to celebrate, to serve from the heart.

Our mindfulness practice offers us the opportunity to pause and rediscover the space of presence. When we stop charging forward and open to what’s here, there’s a radical shift in our experience of being alive. As we touch into this space of Hereness, we access a wisdom, a love and a creativity that are not available when we’re on our way somewhere else.  We are home, in our aliveness and our spirit.

© Tara Brach

Enjoy this talk in audio and video on: The Space of Presence

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Photo Credit: Kalliope Kokolis

2 thoughts on “Blog: Gift to the Soul: The Space of Presence”

  1. Allison Shayne

    Tara, I wanted to share with you that you have changed my life!!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE your humor and how you bring laughter and play into our lives! I just finished listening to your dharma talks on” making regular visits to ourselves”.I have been meditating for over 30 years and I always felt like i am not I must not be “doing it right”till i heard your talks.
    I am sitting full heartedly with myself now.. and Learning to be PRESENT with myself with an open heart..THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!
    I find the most challenging part of being with my mind is to not judge my experiences nor judging my so called TRAMA DRAMAS..etc.. Is it a skill to just be with what is??? I feel like there are so many layers of subtle judgement..sometimes no words just feelings??I will donate money to you after Christmas..My biggest dream would be to do a retreat with you.Want to come to Utah?Please let me know how to contribute to your teachings. YOU ROCK MY LITTLE LIFE!!! ALLY

  2. Busygirl

    Tara, I’ve been listening to your podcast for a while. Love them and they’ve been so helpful. I’m wondering if you would talk about Patience in the future. I suppose if we do more meditation and slow down more, patience will find us. But I feel like I need more help and specific directions. For example, I know it’s good to let go, be forgiving, be loving and all that, but it’s still so helpful listening to you talk about them. I hope you’ll touch on Patience in the future. Or if you have, can you point me to the right podcast or blog posts?

    Thank you very much!