What is Presence?

What is Presence?
September 2, 2020

Shambhavi riffs on the distinction between being present and being immersed in living presence. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

Podcast First Words

There’s a useful distinction that my Dzogchen teacher makes between ordinary presence and instant presence. When we’re being aware of something—sensation or whatever else it is that you’re focusing on or being aware of—this is called ordinary presence. It’s just being less distracted from what’s happening in an ordinary way. Sensations are rather ordinary. Thoughts are rather ordinary. Breath is rather ordinary.

There’s a wonderful practice that he gives for people who tend to get lost in thoughts of the past and the future. It’s a practice of ordinary presence where you just narrate to yourself very quietly and simply without a lot of affect what you’re doing.

So for instance, I would be narrating internally: I’m picking up my phone. I’m looking at my phone. I’m putting in my password. I’m putting my phone down. I’m picking up the cup. I’m taking a sip out of the cup. I’m putting the cup down.

This is ordinary presence. And focusing on emotions is exactly that.

When we talk about presence in Trika, we’re talking about the essence nature of all of reality. We’re talking about an alive, aware self. We call it self, but it doesn’t get called that in a lot of Buddhist traditions. We also call it the natural state. And from the perspective of Trika, that natural state is equal to or identical with the nature of our own selves, aka our ultimate nature, aka the ultimate nature of the self. This could just be called the self, or it could be called God. But whatever you call it, there’s no difference between inner and outer.


Satsang with Shambhavi is a weekly podcast about spirituality, love, death, devotion and waking up while living in a messy world.