I’ve been spending some time with a wise elder friend of mine who I love and who has been inspiring me for about 25 years. This made me want to write just a little bit this week about love, inspiration and Loving Presence, a gift from Hakomi Therapy.
Hakomi is a very cool school of therapy that I’ve discovered in the last couple years and it’s guiding more & more of what I do in the counselling room (note: I am just beginning with this teaching). At its heart is this way of being that is called Loving Presence.
I’d like to offer a very simplified version of this practice you can try. Try this with someone you love, but you might also experiment with seeing through this lens with anyone, even someone you’ve just met.
Start with a state of Mindful Presence. If you’ve meditated or practiced any kind of intentional mindfulness you know what I’m talking about.
To break it down a bit, at its heart, a state of Presence is simply to sit in quiet awareness of your body, your breath and the space around you. If you can, you are quieting the chattering monkey mind, as the Buddhists refer to it.
This doesn’t have to be a big or difficult process, it can be as simple as a few focused breaths. Simple awareness…
Mindful Presence is being mindful of where you want to direct your consciousness as it arises. Think of it as your Mindfulness directing your Presence…
Loving Presence, then, takes this and adds your natural human kindness and love. Direct your attention towards a person, someone you are sharing space with. Focus on what you are experiencing as you listen to them. Gently look for and note how they inspire or move you.
Try not to get too much into a story about the experience, or especially the person. Try and keep it simple. You are listening to their words while paying attention to what arises in your own heart and your own body...
Every human person has love and inspiration inside. It might sometimes be buried or forgotten in the moment, but it’s there. You are looking for how this love and inspiration shows up inside your own heart or body – not what you “think” but your living, loving, inspired experience of the person in the present moment…
If you are practicing this with someone, as you talk about it afterward (if you talk about it), instead of saying what you think, focus on what you experienced. (“I was inspired by…”, or “I was aware of…”).
Loving Presence is a way to – even if only for a moment! – step out of the stories we have for people, to really see the person. Allow yourself the space to really witness the person, here in the living, breathing Now. To truly witness each other with such loving compassion is one of the greatest gifts we can give.
“…and that visibility which makes us most vulnerable is that which also is the source of our greatest strength.” Audre Lorde