Eps 25: Keeping It Real – On Developing Authentic Presence

Nelson Mandela

This week’s theme in the 100 Day Warrior is “presence” or “authentic presence”. You can describe presence as and end-state in the spiritual process and if you read my previous post you know that I can’t testify from that place. But I feel that also in the beginning of your path you can get a taste of what presence is. And if you can taste it and recognize it, you can build on it.


When you start to integrate meditation in your life you will start noticing moments of stillness. They come and go. The stillness comes from not producing any thoughts. For a brief moment your mind doesn’t interfere.


Imagine yourself walking through a forest, somewhere outside Amsterdam. You are doing your own thing, already feeling quite uplifted from being away from the city for a moment. And then, for no reason at all, there is a sudden silence inside you. And there is a tree. There is no internal chatter. No “what a nice tree”. No “it is quite cold today”. No “I should text so-and-so about dinner” or “now that I mention dinner: what shall I eat tonight?” The moment will be magical because there is nothing interfering between you and the tree. No judgment, no comments, no distraction. Your presence will dissolve into the presence of the tree. Later you might describe your experience as a moment of oneness or of an experience of deep connection with nature.


When you think about it the only way to be authentic is to be completely present in the here and now. Only then your behavior will be completely uncontaminated by thoughts about either present or past. Just reflect on the fact how your thoughts are always with you. You might think of holding your belly in because somebody wants to take picture of you and you remember how embarrassed you felt when you where caught off guard a while ago or you might be frowning because you are solving a problem in your head.


You can imagine that a person who is present radiates peace. No judgments are blurring his vision. When he looks at you he really sees you. And you will feel seen. A present person is not involved in trying to be something nor does he care about the impression he makes. He just is.


“There is an outer or ordinary sense of authentic presence that anyone can experience. If a person is modest and decent and exertive, then he will begin to manifest some sense of good and wholesome being to those around him. The inner meaning of authentic presence, however, is connected more specifically to the path of warriorship. Inner authentic presence comes, not just from being a decent, good person in the ordinary sense, but it is connected to the realization of primordial space, or egolessness. The cause or the virtue that brings inner authentic presence is emptying out and letting go. You have to be without clinging. Inner authentic presence comes from exchanging yourself with others, from being able to regard other people as yourself, generously and without fixation. So the inner merit that brings inner authentic presence is the experience of nonfixed mind, mind without fixation.”


When you meet a person who has inner authentic presence, you find he has an overwhelming genuineness, which might be somewhat frightening because it is so true and honest and real. You experience a sense of command radiating from the person of inner authentic presence. Although that person might be a garbage collector or a taxi driver, still he

or she has an uplifted quality, which magnetizes you and commands your attention. This is not just charisma. The person with inner authentic presence has worked on himself and made a thorough and proper journey. He has earned authentic presence by letting go, and by giving up personal comfort and fixed mind.”


Excerpt From: Shambala – The Sacred Path Of The Warrior by Chögyam Trungpa.


After feeling a moment of stillness your ego might comment: “hey, that was pretty cool” and you continue with your day. But what you want to realize is that the stillness is the real you. Or the real non-you, for that matter. The “I” that you identify with is the illusion, a fabricated construct. So what you want to do is observe that “I” from the stillness. As you train yourself to observe the “I” from this place of non-mind you will find this stillness more and more in everyday life. You will feel no desire to interfere with life how it presents itself to you. This is presence. The more you are immersed by it, the more authentic you will be. You can start by catching the glimpses. If you would like to do some work with me let me now.

PS Lovely! I just realized that I now have an excuse to post a pic of my hero Nelson Mandela! No better example of a man that radiates authentic presence than this beautiful soul. I will Google now and you will see it on top of this post as I publish it.


This is episode 25 in a series of 100 blog posts that will be published daily during the 100 Day Warrior, a unique program around physical strength, inner wisdom and meaning. All posts are written by Atalwin Pilon, founder of Basic Goodness and creator of the 100 Day Warrior. For requests for motivational speaking, in-company workshops, online coaching and mindfulness training click here. If you would like to join our international community of brave and inspiring human beings or just follow this blog and receive updates, please click here of sign up on the right side of the page. Atalwin specializes in coaching smart and creative people, both groups and individuals. If you are interested in a free coaching session click here.


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