“Presence is not an activity, it’s an availability.”

Being present isn't something you 𝘥𝘰, it's something you relax into.

“Presence is not an activity, it’s an availability.”

“Presence is not an activity, it’s an availability.” 1920 1080 Looking out Loud

This is part of the DadQuotes series, where I roundup the best quotes from famous figures, insightful authors, and my quickly growing kids, and apply them to the job of parenting.


Do you ever struggle to be present?

When you’re at work with colleagues, out with friends, or home with family…

We’ve all had the feeling of being physically present in a room, but with a mind that’s completely detached from the person or activity right there in front of us.

This ability to separate from the present is what allows us to imagine goals and future worlds we want to build. And it lets us reflect on our past and learn from mistakes.

But it also takes us away from some of the most important moments right before our eyes. Like when a partner needs someone to listen to them, or when a child wants to share the drawing they just made.

One response to these times is to force ourselves to be present. Maybe we tighten up our eyes so we can focus more intently on that child’s drawing.

But I recently heard James Low, a great meditation student and teacher, offer a different approach:

“We do nothing but we are present. Presence is not an activity, it’s an availability. We’re here.”
– James Low*

On that account, being present isn’t something you 𝘥𝘰, it’s something you relax into.

It’s less about trying hard to pay attention, and more about taking a deep breath and opening to the world that’s right here now, just how it is.

I found that useful, and thought you might too.

*Source: James Low series: Everything As It Is, on Waking Up app



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