I have often heard it said that beauty is not in the face. Beauty is in the heart. What is truly attractive is when a person walks into a room, carrying themselves with ‘attitude’, straight and tall, exuding self-confidence, smiling and showing their inner spirit through their kind and gentle persona. This is ‘presence’. This is loaded self-esteem. This is powerful!
In presence of the Moon nobody sees stars.” ― Amit Kalantri
I remember when I was in my early twenties and I was sent to the Maldives for my work. I was alone, lacked confidence and was shy. I would walk into the restaurant each evening and sit myself down hoping I would not be noticed. One evening an elderly woman came up to me and actually admonished me for not holding my head high, showing courage, smiling, acknowledging those around me and having as she called it ‘presence’. A little harsh perhaps? Clearly the experience caused me to reflect, listen, observe and to be more aware. Obviously it affected me deeply as decades later, I am relating this to you. Whilst her words were delivered in a critical way, they helped me through life
So what else has this concept of ‘presence’, taught me?
Presence is when you believe in yourself.
People with presence do what they say and manifest their intentions. People with presence are influencers, creators, leaders and the silent walkers on this earth…
Their presence speaks before their voice does.
They are free to make their own decisions and to follow their own path. Yes, they will doubt themselves. Otherwise they would not grow. However they listen intently and learn studiously but are not into controlling others nor are they controlled in any way.
In fact many influencers on this earth walk through the world without realising their impact.
They walk cloaked with humility and understanding.
Those with presence –
They don’t just talk – they act.
They don’t just hear – they listen.
They don’t just see – they watch carefully.
They don’t just dream, they manifest.
They are compassionate and empathetic.
Their kindness is what roots them to the earth so that they are grounded and fair.
Just because of the way they are, many are attracted to them. Heart and soul. Not brain and ego. They want to be like them. But not in image – in spirit.
And…often those who feel they have to boast about their circumstances, image, or money are the very ones who have little presence.
For isn’t it true, the most admired qualities in the human race cannot be bought?
No matter how much you own or how much you don’t own, you are the master of your destiny. Money cannot buy inner peace, integrity, love, health, trust, patience, dignity, time or happiness.
These are found ‘ within’ and subject to the choices one makes each step of the way.
But there is also another really important lesson here. Your presence is enough! Yes, enough!
Recently I offered a hand out to a friend who is very ill. Not only did he often shirk my offer, he taught me that it was up to him to heal and my presence was simply enough. I didn’t need to offer help, words, sympathise, stalk or support him. For me, this truth is hard to bear when I see another being I care for suffering. However, it is as it is…and my challenge was and always will be to accept this perspective.
“When someone is going through a storm, your silent presence is more powerful than a million, empty words.” Thema Davis
So I have to set aside what I call the ‘healer’s ego’ ( i.e. understand that my role is to heal myself and not impose my way of living on another being). Lighting a candle; making a cup of tea; playing soothing music, may be far more treasured than beseeching one to follow my path or for me to create a plethora of healing remedies in the hope that they will be pursued. In the end, all my friend wanted was ‘nothing’ – what he appreciated was ‘my presence’.
I do my best to live by this lesson, especially when my students open up their hearts to me. All I can do is be present, silent and to listen.
Poignantly the words ‘silence’ and ‘listen’ have exactly the same letters!
“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” Thich Nhat Hanh.