You have often made the distinction between living in the present and being present in the present. Could you explain this distinction one more time?
Yes, there is an important difference between them. When I am in the present, I have attention on my sensations and my surroundings. I experience the here and now. This marks an important transition in the quality of my experience, from dispersed and dissociated to observing and connected.
Being present in the present is another step. It reflects a shift in ‘I’ as well as a connection to the present, a shift from personality to being.
What enables this shift to happen?
Agreement…which is an inner alignment with the present. Agreement is an act of will. It is much more than acquiescence, or acceptance, or a lack of disagreement. Agreement is a magic somersault in which we jump over our own knees, as Gurdjieff would say. It changes everything, at least for a moment, and yet it remains largely unknown to us.
Do you understand how much of our life is spent in disagreement? Even when we appear to agree, we are partial in response, we reserve our disagreements and wait to see how it all plays out. We are half-hearted. We doubt, reject, resist, withhold. Therefore, we are never really where we are and when we are. Do we not usually have a preference for something else, somewhere else, at another time? How, then, is it possible to be present in the present?
Agreement is a complete inner action which awakens the heart and engages being. The most available opportunity to initiate an action of the will is to agree to be where you are and when you are. In doing so, you become present in the present. Your being is engaged. You have momentary unity of your faculties.
Agreement is not centered in the mind. It is an action experienced in the body. It can be known as a subtle sensation of movement in your viscera which frees the heart to feel.
The most amazing thing is that when I am present in the present, I experience the present as a limitless volume of space and time. From the point of view of ordinary life, the present is impossibly brief and insubstantial…a fleeting moment of transition from somewhere to somewhere else, from what just happened to what could happen next. The presence of my presence in the present shrinks the past and the future into very small compressed places, too small for presence to inhabit, while the present becomes a vast space for encountering the unknown.