Focusing Tip #621: What IS Self-in-Presence, anyway?

Focusing Tip #621: What IS Self-in-Presence, anyway?
August 22, 2018 Ann Weiser Cornell

Focusing Tip #621 – “You said it is important to cultivate Self-in-Presence. What is ‘Self-in-Presence’ anyway?”

What would become possible if you could live your life open, calm, and curious? Read on…


Susan writes:

Last week you wrote in the Weekly Tips about how important it is to cultivate Self-in-Presence. Can you define “Self-in-Presence” for me?

Dear Susan:

Always a pleasure to talk about Self-in-Presence, because in my view this is what makes all the difference in whether life feels like a struggle or like a joy!

Barbara McGavin and I developed the concept of “Self-in-Presence” when we began working with our own addictions, obsessions, and depression. Really tough life issues!

When you’re dealing with tough life issues, there is so much reactivity… so much “I don’t like this” or “This has to change,” so much resistance, defensiveness, and denial.

Which is OK. But if you want real lasting change, you need to not be any of those reactive states. You need a place to stand that isn’t reactive.

Barbara and I wanted a way to name that non-reactive state. We wanted to refer to the ability to turn toward one’s own experience with curiosity and calm. At first we called it “The Big I” or the “Larger Self” or “Presence.” Finally we settled on the odd term “Self-in-Presence.”

When you are Self-in-Presence, all of life feels easier. You can enjoy what’s enjoyable and concentrate on what needs attention. And when there’s something challenging, you can meet the challenge calmly and with all your resources.

We’ve got dozens of ways to cultivate Self-in-Presence… and here is the simplest one:

If you feel something that isn’t calm, curious, and open, say “Something in me feels _______.” And then say Hello to it!

What I love about this is that there is always a way to get to Self-in-Presence from where you are.

Every way that you feel can become a pathway into Self-in-Presence… if you turn toward it and acknowledge it.

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