In the group we talk about invoking presence and using the formula of “I invoke the presence of my presence into the present.” How does this actually work?
Let’s begin by understanding what the invocation implies. First, it implies that humans can call things to them. This is a very important point. It is possible for us to ask and then receive. It is often not required that we know how to produce something for ourselves. Some very valuable attainments are possible only for the asking, and only by asking.
Real asking is a special state. Usually we ask as a kind of complaint, as a statement that we are lacking something. Or our asking is a kind of demand. Perhaps you ask with the expectation that you will be denied. All these forms of asking are unworthy and unlikely to succeed. Real asking is a supplication, based in quiet submission. The one who invokes relaxes and gives way.
Presence always exists but it is often not present; it is, in fact, absent. Therefore, the invocation is for presence to be present in the present, in the tangible here and now. This form of invocation also implies that experiencing the present is not the same thing as being present. The present is ‘here and now’. Being present is ‘I am here now’ but the ‘I’ is not like any I that I know.
Who invokes presence?
Why, the sleeping machine of course, who else is there? By the machine I mean the organic body and the ordinary mental apparatus together with all of the usual habits and identifications. The machine invokes. In that gesture, it relaxes itself and invites another to occupy it, which is presence. But do not think that presence is just another identity or entity of a better sort. Presence is not a thing, an entity. It is a state of being which is entirely without boundaries to define it. Presence conveys a sense of existing but not as something.
How can I know I am present?
Presence knows directly and immediately that it is present. To be present means not being identified. It is not unusual to experience the state of presence as spacious, somewhat luminous, more ‘aware’ and so on. When the machine notes these transitory phenomena, it then tries to manufacture them in order to fabricate presence. The asking is lost. This approach is always unsuccessful. The machine is completely other than presence and presence is not defined by any phenomena.
Is this invocation the only way to be present?
Certainly not. Your relationship with certain people, places and tasks may call you to be present. Your machine submits so that you can enter into the relationship and share the intimacy of presence. Zikr calls my presence by invoking a greater presence. Noticing my mechanical patterns of sleep can invite presence to be present.