Michael Brown's “The Presence Process: A Healing Journey Into Present Moment Awareness” is a powerful ten-week meditation workbook to change the quality of our life experience.
The Process enables us to see how our appearance, behavior and individual life circumstances (what we show the outer world) is in essence our ego. The ego's desire to seek approval and acknowledgment from others is so strong most of us posses little will of our own.
The 15-minute twice daily consciously connected breathing exercises allows us to lay the foundation for the rebirth of our personal will, teaches us present moment awareness and allows us to experience the “breath” of life.
The Process helps us to detach from our experiences and remember who we are is the silent, still, invisible quality of our own Inner Presence or “Observer.”
Connecting with our Inner Presence enables us to see and integrate the difference between the Self and our experiences. Inner Presence empowers us to respond consciously to life as opposed to reacting, it enables us to see how we create the circumstances of our life, to let go of our victim (complaining) and victor (competing) mentality and the illusion of time where we focus mostly on the past and future.
The preoccupation with time and our lack of present moment awareness keeps the true luminous beauty of the natural world hidden. All life forms embody the same intelligent Presence. When we focus on the surface of things we have little awareness of life's vibrant inner energetic connectedness. Life is “energy in motion.” The Process awakens us from living in time and shows how the events of our adult life are generated from unintegrated childhood experiences. The present Process teaches us to see beyond the limitations of our childhood interpretations. As our child self re-awakens and becomes more secure we have more periods of peace, joy and creativity.
The Process is about “Not-doing.” When we engage in “Not-doing” painful unconscious memories rise to the surface. We become aware of who and what we are. We integrate reflections (experiences that remind us of something) and projections (behavior in reaction to the memory). The ghosts from our past (reflections) and chasing them (projections) push our “buttons” and act as “triggers.” Awareness allows triggered events to act as “messengers.” When we look beyond “the messenger” to “get the message” we become our own ghost-buster.
Emotional cleansing occurs when we step back from our reaction and attend to our feelings. Are we angry, hurt or scared? Once a feeling that resonates with our triggered emotional response is identified ask, “When did I last experience the same emotional reaction?” We'll find these reactions occurred in the past. By choosing to focus on the message not the messenger we stop being a victim or victor. This choice empowers us to respond consciously to life as opposed to reacting to it. The extent of our negative emotional charge separates us from “being in charge” versus “carrying a charge.” An upset is a “set-up” because we are “re-acting.” Reactive behavior adds fuel to the fire while responsive behavior throws water on it. Reactive behavior involves blaming, guilt and regret. A negative emotional charge inhibits real movement and a positive charge encourages it.
To restore inner balance dismiss the messenger, get the message, identify the feelings, be with the “pain” and apply Compassionate Presence without judgment or fear. Compassion is activated by loving and embracing our inner child until the upset passes.
Pain and discomfort are our friends. They have come to assist us. When we give compassionate attention to our discomfort we allow ourselves to feel it to heal it. This works with disagreements, physical ailments and conflicts.
Compassion is the key to reopening our heart and detoxifying our Soul. The process reactivates physical presence, mental clarity, emotional balance and allows us to be in the world but not of it. We must sow what we intend to reap. When we are honest with ourselves the truth sets us free.
We are all looking for unconditional love. When we bless others with unconditional love we set ourselves free. Unconditional love is only received and experienced when we give it. By forgiving ourselves we automatically forgive others. There is nothing to get from the world. The act of “getting” is a reflection of lack. Giving is receiving. When we change, the world changes because it is a mirror.
Believing we have to do something to receive unconditional love leads to endless “doing” to prove we are worthy of being alive, succeeding and “earning a living.” In truth we are attempting to “earn love.” The Present Process asks us to stop, breathe, watch, respond, feel and pay attention. It is the realization we are already all we can “BE.” We are perfect, whole and complete as we are. There is nothing to “DO” but be present in this moment, here and now. To appreciate ourselves for who and what we are right now, without judgment, concerns, conditions or expectations.
We all have an unconscious definition of love imprinted in us from our childhood. Three steps identify our unconscious definition of love: First, finish the following three sentences: When our intimate relationship ends or sours: We always end up....,I always end up.... They always end up.... Second, ask yourself, “How did I feel when the relationship ended?” Use a useful word or phrase like abandoned, abused, betrayed etc.) This word is your unconscious definition of love. It's also the unconscious motivation behind the drama in your life experience. Thirdly, find the opposite word for your definition of love.
For example if you chose the word “abandoned” the opposite word for your definition of love might be “commitment.” Commitment then becomes what you have been seeking all your life. To heal you must choose to love and commit to yourself no matter what. You must give to yourself what you seek to receive from others. You must give what you get from others and show others you are committed to them. You must place commitment in all your experiences without conditions. You must commit to saying “yes” when you mean yes and “no” when you mean no. “No” is a complete sentence.
Gratitude should not include comparisons with others. Gratitude by comparison separates. Achieving joy requires we become inclusive not exclusive.
We are one with all life. Our bodies, heart, mind and spirit are connected energetically to every living thing. Our mind has capacities that extend beyond the physical body. Our spiritual awareness is universal and inclusive. Our emotional experience is shared by the world. Our Presence is reflected back at us from within all life.
Because of our present planetary belief that physical bodies separate us our mind explains away Oneness experiences. To become aware of the experience of Oneness we must invite Oneness into our awareness.
Presence Process Awareness asks us to see the world as a temporary veil that obscures the permanent, real Presence of spirit and energy. The separation between form and spirit, “doing” and Being is a state of mind. It's a choice, a place in the heart, a chosen level of awareness that simply requires Presence.
We are never alone, we are a cell within the body of everything. Our thoughts have power and living in Oneness leads us to clarity, ease, comfort, safety and unconditional love. In present moment awareness there is no good or bad emotion. There is only energy in motion. Authentic joy is where happiness and unhappiness blend into one. We accept all life has to offer, including the challenges.
Appreciation increases as our focus on Presence increases. When we stop seeking the extraordinary, ordinary moments become extraordinary. Life becomes a journey not a destination. We're able to do nothing when there is nothing to do.
When we trust our Inner Voice and listen with our heart we don't need to plan for the future. We live in love and love to live. In the final chapters Michael says for many of us the nature of the Presence is God.
To integrate The Presence Process Michael recommends we meditate daily for a week (15 minutes twice daily) on each one of these ten Presence Activating Statements: I choose to experience this moment, I acknowledge my reflection in the world, I respond consciously to all my experiences, I restore my inner balance with my compassionate attention, I compassionately embrace my innocence, I neutralize my negative emotional charge, I feel safe in this body, I am responsible for my own peace of mind, I invite myself to be spontaneously joyful and I appreciate myself.