What is self-remembering?
This is a term often used in the Gurdjieff work. To remember self is not to reassemble the ordinary self, which is almost always in full operation. To re-member self is to re-integrate being and physical nature. Self-remembering is a state of non-identification in which the real self becomes active, the self that is free of conditioning, free of personal history and its various identities. To remember self is to be present.
Isn’t presence simply a matter of being in the here and now?
That is preliminary, a part of it to be sure. There is also a sense of existing, an ‘I’ that is present as in ‘I am here now’. This I is impervious to analysis or commentary. The here and now is the present. The quality of being in the present is something added, which is presence.
Where is presence when it is not present?
The real I falls into identification. It accepts itself as a thinker or as a body, a role or pattern of behavior in the ordinary world. It associates ‘I’ with something other than itself. We call this sleep. The Sufis wisely consider this state of sleep as one of absence or forgetfulness. This state is heedless of the possibilities that exist at every moment because it is caught in identifications which condition and limit possible responses, reducing behavior to mechanical reactions to stimuli. It is necessary to observe sleep for many years in order for presence to become reliable.