The practice of presence takes resolve. But the resolution that is required is more willingness than will.
The Latin root of resolution is made of two parts–go back (re) and loosen (or solution in the sense of allowing our concentration to open a spread–to grow wider). Opening to a a greater presence means reclaiming this ancient root meaning, taking it to mean that we are meant to stop striving outward, grasping for solutions beyond ourselves, making a gentle u-turn to our own experience. Instead of a tight, narrow focus on what we think we need to change in our lives or fix in ourselves, we discover that we see more as loosen up–opening the lens wide. We discover that seeing more requires compassion We mush offer the ourselves–the whole of our experience our kind acceptance. Let there be no orphans–no thoughts or feelings or memories of pas deed deemed too low or dark to be seen.
Experiment with self-forgiveness. When we are quiet, at the end of meditation or perhaps when we are out in nature or otherwise loose and relaxed, we can say “forgiven” to ourselves, like a mantra or prayer. For a moment or two as we practice this, we may feel ourselves emerge from the cage of our thinking into a warmer, more expansive awareness, an awareness that is more truly who we are than the stories and histories we cling to so insistently. Notice that this forgiveness practice is calming and grounding. It is not self-indulgence. It is not giving ourselves a pass for every thing we have done or left undone. It is a gesture of recognizing and accepting our full humanity. It is humbling, pulling us out of our heads and returning us to the earth.
Not surprisingly, the word “forgive” comes from a word that means to give. To forgive a debt is giving freedom to ourselves or another—loosening the shackles, lifting a burden. Self-forgiveness is giving in advance. It is being loving and generous with ourselves. Just for a moment, experiment with how it feels to be granted forgiveness in advance. In other words, widen your heart and your view to encompass the whole of you–peaceful, reactive, spacious, contracted, angry, sad, full of joy. Remember that the Buddha taught that enlightened or not, challenges will continue to arise here on earth. Things will go awry sometimes, and sometimes not. And you are lovable and welcome here on Earth.
Notice that self-forgiveness is really giving yourself up to be seen just as you are, undefended and vulnerable–every part of you, your courage and fear, your fineness and times of faltering and holding back. Notice how it feels to willing to be fully human–and held by a spacious awareness that is compassionate and wise beyond words.