Finding Presence…Simple, Yet Complex

These thoughts kept me awake last night, which was interesting as they took me away from restful sleep.  I couldn’t be present with my sleep and every time I would start to drift off, I was pulled back into thinking about presence…which I was obviously struggling with.

Being here.
Experiencing this moment.
Being in the now.

There are constant messages of mindful presence.  You would “think” it would be so easy, yet it’s something we keep working on.  Actually, I don’t know one person who doesn’t get challenged by staying present…

Our minds are super imaginative and are constantly deflecting from the current moment.  We struggle to bring ourselves backward from futuristic thoughts or forward from our past thinking and what we would have done differently.  Thoughts just happen and, before we know it, we’re off to fantasy land.

I have good news.

I believe the key to being present is to keep it simple (sunshine😊). We overcomplicate it…which our minds love, but our hearts don’t.  Here’s a few simple presence steps:

1. Simply notice your thoughts.

When you catch yourself having thoughts about somewhere other than here, thoughts that have you disassociated from the present moment, simply notice them.  Noticing them will bring you back to awareness.

2. Simply question the truth of your thoughts.

Your forward-thinking thoughts can have you wrapped up in anxiety about the future. “I’m getting fired.”  “She’s breaking up with me.” “I’m going to fail that exam.”  Your past-focused thoughts can have you consumed in regret.  “I’ll never recover from that mistake.” “I can’t forgive myself for hurting her.”

Are those thoughts true or do they just feel true?

Question them…question everything.  The thoughts that you’re having are simply thoughts about another time…a reflection of the past or a worry about the future.  A story.  A fantasy.  The only absolute about them is that they’re your thoughts.

3. Simply notice now.

Exhale and bring yourself back to here. In this moment, are you safe?  Are you healthy?  Is their air coming in and out of your lungs?  Can you feel your heartbeat?  Touch your arms and legs?  Feel your belly rise and fall with each breath?  What do you see?  Locate five things in your vision that you didn’t notice before (a bug on the wall, a speck of dirt on your carpet, your dog staring at you like you’re crazy (enough about me😊)).

Finding presence is so elusive with our imaginative and controlling minds.

Yet, doing so will allow your heart to expand to experience your truth, and that my friend, is the key toward living your one-and-only unique and authentic life.

Notice your thoughts as just that, thoughts.  Then bring yourself here and experience the presence, the gift, of this moment.  Forgive your past and leave those future moments up to the mystery of the universe.  They will probably surprise you and be much bigger than your thinking mind can create anyway.

Published by Karen Solt

I am an Emotional Wellness Coach, YouTuber, Blogger, and activist for peace, unity, freedom, equality and connection. I hold a Masters in Psychology (Counseling) and am passionate about helping others. A retired Navy Senior Chief veteran, I have had various life experiences that have created my unique style of coaching. I remain curious about the human experience and am beyond grateful for the life I share with my fabulous dog, Paco. You can learn more about me and my work at,, or you can reach me at

2 thoughts on “Finding Presence…Simple, Yet Complex

  1. I encountered a very interesting and painful experience, trying to keep in the present at all times. When I was younger, around 21-25 and coming from a broken home, I discovered Buddhism and began diligently adopting mindfulness meditation. It was very pleasant. After some years of this, I started experience an increasing tension and pain behind my eyes and forehead.
    After some more years of fanatical practice, I began experiencing moments of true deep presence where no thought occured. It was otherworldly and extremely pleasant. Like staring at a brick wall and seeing each individual brick. But the pain in my head never subsided…. and then I discovered books on Chi Kung….
    Still with no teacher, I began working with energy practices. It became my life’s goal (after all, up to this point life was hell and given my experiences up to this point, I now firmly believed in enlightenment with no trace of doubt). This led to severe problems. The energy would no go down, and I would spent sleepless nights with a racing heart. Gradually this affected the mind as well, which caused mindfulness to decrease and thoughts would start to race wildly. Which cause me to practice even more.
    After some time of this, I was a complete wreck, with an over-abundance of energy, wild emotions, and my head clogged and giddy like staring at the world from underwater (as the roughest sort of metaphor I can think of for it). I somehow endured this state of mind for 11 years.
    After enough books and meeting enough people who know about it, I have learned to handle myself (somewhat). All I have to say about it is, regardless of what people say or books suggest, DO NOT meditate without a teacher. DO NOT.

    Cheers, ^_^

    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences, Allen. That sounds like quite a journey into presence and the challenges with the severe anxiety you endured. Your comments kind of remind me of Michael Singer, who wrote Untethered Soul and the Surrender Experiment. I guess for me the goal is to find peace in my everyday life and also peace in my meditative and sleeping states. And anything done to the extreme creates an imbalance…I like your wisdom about finding a meditation teacher, which comes from the lessons you’ve discovered on your journey.
      Thanks Allen 🙂

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