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Presence

The state of presence is very simple, it is a state of being aware of oneself. It is not easy to have the desire to be present when one is immerged in one`s daily activities. However, if this desire comes up and takes root, it is not difficult to begin to be aware of oneself, but then it is difficult to prolong it. If one can sustain this state, the God within, one`s Higher Self, awakens and is present.

An advertisement in a magazine

Make the Divine Presence your destination.
-- Al-Ghazali (11th c. Persian Sufi mystic) 
No one can reach the Divine Presence except by continuing to practice remembrance. -- Qushayri (11th c. Persian Sufi master)
If you ask what the Word of the Presence is, we will reply, the word “Be.”-- Ibn Arabi (13th c. Andalusian Sufi mystic and philosopher )
To be or not to be, that is the question.-- Shakespeare


Being present is the center of all esoteric traditions and is spoken of in many different ways. Because it is a wordless state and words inevitably fall short to adequately describe it, each explanation about presence shows only one aspect of it. Different symbols of presence are different ways to look at presence. They are all true at the same time and together give a better picture. Ultimately however, presence can only be really understood when one experiences it. Rumi calls it one thing and Liu Yiming calls it a mission.

There is one thing in this world, which must never be forgotten. If you were to forget everything else, but did not forget that, then there would be no cause to worry. Whereas if you performed and remembered and did not forget every single thing, but forgot that one thing, then you would have done nothing whatsoever.
-- Rumi (13th c. Sufi mystic and poet)
Human life in the world has a mission, which alone is important; with this direction there is life, without it there is death. If one cannot find happiness in this mission, this direction, this order, everything else is empty and false. That to which heaven directs humanity is only good; if one can find happiness in that command, then this is obeying heaven. Obeying heaven is the way to obey the command; finding happiness in the celestial mandate is the way to find happiness in heaven. -- Liu Yiming, Hexagram #14 Great Posession, The Taoist I Ching

Presence is also called remembrance of God or remembrance of Self. The inner meaning of God is the God within, one`s Higher Self.

Christ and God, having the same face, The Louvre, 1450

When the mystery of the oneness of the soul and the Divine is revealed to you, you will understand that you are no other than God. Then you will see all your actions to be his actions and all your attributes to be his attributes and your essence to be his essence. -- Ibn Arabi (13th c. Andalusian Sufi mystic and philosopher )


The Higher Self or the God within is asleep. Remembrance refers to the effort to awaken it, and to the state of being awake.

A Taoist drawing

Remembrance of Self – the highest form of remembrance. -- Koran
O Muhammad, remember thy Lord within thyself.-- Koran
Be present at every breath. Do not let your attention wander for the duration of a single breath. Remember yourself always and everywhere. -- Gujduvani (12th c. Sufi master)
There is only one thing to be gained in life, and that is to remember God with each breath; and there is only one loss in life, and that is the breath drawn without the remembrance of God.
-- Madani (Indian Sufi)


Presence is also called emptiness. The Higher Self is simply awareness, empty, naked and awake. The lower self with all it`s attitudes and opinions has to be passive or has to die temporarily, so that this awareness can come into being. If it is strong enough, this awareness can then co-exist with the lower self for a while. Inevitably presence weakens, the lower self re-asserts itself and the presence of the Higher Self is veiled again. However, through practice, presence can gradually stay longer and longer.

A Zen painting
The seeker has no path save to remove everything he knows from his thoughts and to sit empty-hearted with God through presence and remembrance of the heart. -- Ibn Arabi (13th c. Andalusian Sufi mystic and philosopher)
The concept of Presence manifests as Emptiness.
-- Milarepa (11th c. Tibetan yogi)



A Japanese tatami room

We`ll give you the Dharma-name Sun Wukong, which means 'Monkey Awakened to Emptiness'.
-- Journey to the West
Why was Jesus throwing out those who were buying and selling and why did he tell those who had doves to get rid of them? His intention was none other than to have the temple empty. -- Meister Eckhart (13th c. German mystic)


Presence is also called Heaven, the Kingdom of God or Paradise.

The Byodo-in, symbolizing Amida Buddha`s Western Paradise
Kyoto, Japan
The kingdom of God is within us when God reigns in us. -- Theophan the Recluse, Philokalia (Greek Orthodox Christian text)
Because he sees with great clarity causes and effects, he completes the six steps at the right time and mounts toward Heaven on them at the right time, as though on six dragons. -- Chinese Texts, I Ching
Hell is energy acting of it`s own impulse. Heaven is energy obeying something higher. -- William Blake (18th c. English poet and painter)
Promise me that you will cultivate six acts so that I may promise you Paradise. -- Muhammad (Founder of Islam)

Producing the state of presence in oneself is also referred to as the creation of the world or the creation of Heaven and Earth. All creation myths are about creating the state of Presence.

God could have created the heavens and the earth by the word ‘Be’ in one moment of time; but He extended His work over six days. -- Rumi (13th c. Sufi mystic and poet)
The beginning in which 'God created heaven and earth' is the first simple now of eternity.
-- Meister Eckhart (13th c. German mystic)
Six Kannon Bodhisattvas by Jokei II, 1224AD, Daihō-onji Temple, Kyoto
Allah created the heavens and the earth in six days, then mounted the Throne. -- Koran 7:54
O monks, in six is the world produced. -- Buddha

The state of Presence is also called immortality or eternal life, because it is out of time. Vivid memories from the past indicate that one`s Higher Self was present and a higher state of awareness occurred.

A Bodhisattva with a third eye, divided into four.
The heart of heaven and earth is the basis of ongoing growth; those who attain this heart become sages, buddhas, immortals; those who lose this heart become animals, ghosts, demons.
-- Liu Yiming (18th c. Taoist master)
Eternal life is the time of union with the Beloved,because that moment is timeless. -- Rumi (13th c. Sufi mystic and poet)
The first bowl moistens my lips and throat;
The second bowl banishes all loneliness;
The third bowl clears my mind of words and books.
At the fourth cup, I begin to perspire-
life's troubles evaporate through my pores.
The fifth cup cleanses my entire being.
Six cups and I am in the realm of the Divine.
Seven cups-ah, but I can drink no more:
I can only feel the gentle breeze blowing through my sleeves,
wafting me away to the Isle of Immortality!
-- Lu Tong (9th c. Chinese poet)
This immortal fourfold breath is hidden in the original cavity of the spirit behind the spot between the eyes. -- Chao Pi Chen, (20th c.Taoist Master)

Presence is also called conscious, true or self-awareness. When the Higher Self is present, it is aware of itself and of the lower self. When the Higher Self forgets to be present, this self-awareness disappears.

Walt Whitman
Purify the mind. In a pure mind there is constant awareness of the Self. -- Hindu Texts, Upanishads
The term embryo just describes true awareness becoming solidified, stabilized, not scattering. -- Liu Yiming (18th c. Taoist master)
Who would want anything more than just this self-awareness right now? -- Tibetan Texts
Within the domain of our mind, the Buddha of awareness radiates abundant light, outwardly illuminating the six gates, pure enough to penetrate the six kama Heavens (heavens of desire). -- Huineng (6th Partriarch of Zen Buddhism, 7th c.)


Presence is also called one`s fundamental, true or Buddha nature.

Mahavairocana Buddha, Dali Kingdom 1163AD,
Shanghai museum

What is the Buddha-Nature? It is simply your flawless,present awareness, empty, naked and awake. -- Tibetan Lama
If you see your true nature, are determined to be sincere, and always remember to turn your head back to enlightenment, then you will have reached Vulture Peak. -- Journey to the West
The six perfections (Paramitas) are seeing one’s Buddha nature.
-- Zen Master Bassui
Golden Elixir is another name for one's fundamental nature.
-- Liu Yiming (18th c. Taoist master)


Presence is also called the (Golden) Elixir .

A pharaoh and Amun (a form of the sun god Ra) face to face, Temple of Karnak in Luxor, Egypt
Ancient immortals used the term Golden Elixir as a metaphor of the essence of true consciousness,which is fundamentally complete and illumined. Growing from one yang to gradually reach the pure wholeness of six yangs, going from vague to clear, the Gold Elixir develops naturally.
-- Liu Yiming (18th c. Taoist master)
When the Elixir is formed one sees the original face.
-- Journey to the West
The Golden Flower is the Elixir of Life. There is a secret charm which, although it works very accurately,is yet so fluid that it needs extreme intelligence and clarity, and the most complete absorption and tranquility. -- The Secret of the Golden Flower (Taoist text)
The six stages of purification by fire ...are in sequence and should never be mixed up; only then can it produce the Golden Elixir. -- Chao Pi Chen, (20th c.Taoist Master)

Presence is also called the other shore or paramita.

In this image the lower self is trying to kill presence. The monk is ignoring the lower self. He has six fingers on one hand and four fingers on the other, symbolizing tools to be present. The Dance of Death,
The Munster of Bern, Switzerland, 15th C.
What is Paramita? It is a Sanskrit word, meaning arrived at the opposite shore. It is said that when the mind is confused, it is this shore. When the mind is enlightened, it is the other shore.
-- Huineng (6th Partriarch of Zen Buddhism, 7th c.)
Bodhisattvas must unfold the potent knowledge of Prajnaparamita into the ten modes of purifying and healing activity, the four spheres of formlessness and the six forms of super-knowledge.
-- The Prajnaparamita sutra (Buddhist text)
When we speak of the six paramitas the last is wisdom, but when we speak of the ten paramitas,the sixth is assigned four more details. -- Tai Situ Rinpoche (20th c. Tibetan Lama)
A Bodhisattva depending on prajna-paramita becomes free in his mind, and as he is free in his mind he has no fear and is rid of dreamlike thoughts of unreality and enjoys ultimate Nirvana.
-- The Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra (Buddhist text)

Presence is also called life, while the time when one is not present is called death, sleep or darkness.

Shiva with his son Skanda and his wife Parvati, India
Biblioteque Nationale, Paris

Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
-- The Bible, Matthew 7-14
The Four Kinds of Life and Six Paths 
are all explained.
 -- Journey to the West
Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead.
-- The Bible, Ephesians 5:14
Without my Beloved all is darkness.
-- Sultan Bahu (17th c. Sufi mystic)




Card XXI of the Tarot, The World

Presence is also called the Beloved or Love.


The sum total of our life is every breath spent in the company of the Beloved.-- Abu Saìd (11th c. Persian Sufi poet)
Presence is the one we call the Beloved.
-- Rumi (13th c. Sufi mystic and poet)
Bright but hidden, the Self dwells in the heart. He is the source of love, and may be known through love, but not through thought.
 -- Upanishads (Hindu text)
Your love is being spread to my head from six directions.
-- Rumi (13th c. Sufi mystic and poet)