The Presence Practice is a unique and powerful 13-minute guided meditation that brings you back to the here-and-now, instead being trapped in the past or lost in the future. Vijay Bhat first created it in 2006, for busy corporate leaders who struggle to find inner peace and confidence. Since then, Vijay has taught it to thousands of people around the world, from all walks of life, with great results. The Presence Practice is now a foundational part of all Cancer Awakens programs.
Presence Practice: Why It Is Necessary
Cancer devastates the patient and the family. It forces you to confront your own mortality. It punches a hole in your self-esteem and rattles your very identity. The shock of the diagnosis is bad enough. The suffering caused by the treatments can be worse. Your finances and your carefully-made life-plans go for a toss. Naturally, fear, anxiety and despair create great turbulence in your heart and mind. And by now you know that such an internal state compromises your immunity and in fact, can derail the healing process.
Faced with this turbulence, many people ask: “What is my lifeline on this slippery slope”? “What Will Illuminate the darkness”? “What can ground me when the rug has been pulled from under my feet”? The Presence Practice is a simple technique that may provide the answers.
First, what is Presence?
Presence is an internal, energetic state. It arises from knowing who you are, and being secure and confident in who you are. It is intangible because it is more about ‘being’ than ‘doing’. The key is to remain authentic at all times, even when you are vulnerable or under stress.
Occasionally, life bowls you a googly. It spins you around and pulls you in different directions. You feel ‘stuck’ and find it hard to change. At such times, Presence can be your anchor and your refuge. We define Presence as:
“A state of conscious flow where one experiences balance, completeness and contentment, both internally and vis-a-vis the larger systems of which one is a part.”
The Presence Practice helps you access this state
The 3 main steps in the Presence Practice are:
- Relaxing the body: The foundation
- Going deeper: The 5 signals
- Even Breath
- Clear, calm, quiet mind
- Open heart
- Sensitive Sonar
- Energetic Induction
3. Embedding the state: The affirmations
Our core premise is simple and straightforward: “With sufficient practiSe, you can change your internal state at will”.
Benefits of doing the Presence Practice regularly
1. Physical: ‘Stressful’ becomes ‘Restful’
- Body feels relaxed and settled
- Brain-waves change and become more coherent
- Sense-organs sharpen; keen awareness of your environment
- Stress hormones (adrenaline & cortisol) reduce; Feel-good hormones (endorphins: dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine and oxytocin) increase
- Immunity improves; healing accelerates
2. Emotional: Shift in ‘Affect’
- Feel calm, centered and balanced, even in chaos
- Reactive emotions (Anger, Fatigue, Fear, Anxiety) decrease, while Positive emotions (Happiness, Confidence, Inspiration, Courage) increase
- Genuine acceptance of all possibilities and outcomes – good and bad
3. Mental: Values & Motivations Alter
- Ego needs (Self-interest, Protecting reputation, Need to control) weaken. Ethical needs (Wisdom, Unity, Doing the ‘right’ thing) strengthen.
- You can ‘see’ clearly, ‘sense’ intuitively and ‘act’ responsibly
- Reframe the crisis and turn it into a personal growth opportunity
4. Relational: Priorities Change from ‘I’ to ‘We’
- Care, compassion, inclusion and harmony become more important
- Higher commitment to ‘selfless service’ towards larger community issues and causes
- You are able to ‘induct’ others into your energy field (aura)
5. Spiritual: Establish a deeper connection with your ‘Self’
- Access your Deeper/ Higher Self and stay in conscious and consistent contact with it
- Use these deeper resources to make “meaning in your suffering” and discover your Higher Purpose
- Bring your highest resources to bear upon your healing
How To Do the Presence Practice
You will gain the maximum benefit if you do the Presence Practice sincerely, once a day for 28 days, without a break
- Download the audio track (below) and save it on your smartphone.
- Find a quiet place and a time-slot when you won’t be disturbed. Ideally, do it in the same place and at the same time each day, so you settle into a nice ‘rhythm’
- Use headphones and set the volume at a moderate level
- All you have to do is to follow the guidance
- If possible, invite a loved one or a buddy to join you in the Presence Practice. You will notice the benefits when two (or more) people practice together
Listen & Download Here
- Download the written guidelines here
- View Vijay’s 22-min Presence Practice video here. This was featured on Dr. Raj Raghunathan’s very successful online Coursera course (A Life of Happiness And Fulfillment) with 200,000 students from literally every country in the world. Coursera featured it as a Top 10 course, the Top MOOC of 2015 and one of the TOP 50 MOOCs of all time. Raj is an award-winning Professor of Marketing at the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. He is also a visiting Professor of Marketing at the Indian School of Business at Hyderabad. His work appears regularly in leading marketing journals and mainstream media. We are very grateful for Raj’s friendship and support.
Once you are familiar with the Presence Practice, you can do it anytime, anywhere. For example:
- In the middle of a stressful day, when you need a relaxing and refreshing break
- Just before you enter a difficult meeting or before you give a high-stakes presentation
- While you are feeling a wee bit anxious in the doctor’s waiting room
- Stuck in a traffic jam (not if you’re driving, of course!) or awaiting a delayed flight
- If your mind feels scattered or buzzed out and you need to resolve a knotty problem
Remember, Presence is ever-accessible within all of us. Get your ego out of the way and let it shine through.