Cultivating Presence: sensory awareness practice

From presence, you have access to your most powerful human resources.

“Present” is your most resilient state of being.

What are the benefits of presence?

Presence creates resilience, leading to well-being and ease. In the present you have access to your most important human resources:

Body: environmental awareness, physical strength, and capabilities

Mind: social awareness, intellectual reason, and capabilities—communication

Heart: sensual awareness, emotional range, and capabilities—connection and belonging

Spirit: conscious awareness, ability to observe self from self—creativity and flow

Listen to a closed-eye visualization narrated by Program Director Sherrie Frank.

You already know how to be present all the time.

“Remember, we are all x-babies holding within us the experience of being present with our joy and our pain.” —Sherrie Frank

When you were a baby and later a toddler, your attention was always in the present moment; it was the only way you knew how to be. The concept of time was something you learned around the age of 3 to 4. This is good news! Now, as an adult, you are simply tapping into the child within you who already knows how to “be” in the moment.

Enjoy this practice of presence and the benefits you create from it. There is no destination—no goal to achieve. You are always right where you are in this moment. This practice is to bring awareness to your current reality and to inhabit and experience the full potential of your life as it is happening—right now.

Practice cultivating presence through sensory awareness

As children, we took in the present moment through our senses: sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. As adults, we can find simplicity by tapping into those same basic senses. Use this short, guided meditation to practice sensory awareness as a pathway to presence.

Instructions: Find a quiet space where you feel comfortable and give yourself 10 minutes of uninterrupted time. You can use our voice recording or you can record this guided meditation in your own voice. You can also adapt the ending with words that inspire you to step into your day with presence.

Closed Eye Visualization for Sensory Awareness

Close your eyes and begin to breathe gently and easily as you enter quietly into the immensity of your own deep presence … continuing to breath gently and easily … relaxing your shoulders … bringing your awareness to your body … slowly scanning your entire body … getting a sense of how it feels … aware of its grounded presence, sense the energy in it … its connection and awareness of the environment … feel the touch of your clothing against it … feel your breath as it enters and leaves your body … the temperature of the air as it enters your nose … the expansion in your chest that the air creates … as you breathe gently in … and exhale gently out … slowly adjust your attention to what you can see, even with your eyes closed … the images your thoughts create … seeing each image as if it were floating down a river, one after the other, watching as they go by … observing and accepting each one as they come … and with ease, letting them go with the current … as you breathe gently in … and exhale gently out … now listen … notice the sounds around you … each sound emerging in your awareness … noticing how, as your listening expands, more sounds are added to the melody of this moment … as you breathe gently in … and exhale gently out … notice the smells are you aware of … what scents are drifting into your awareness … as you breathe gently in … and exhale gently out … move your tongue round your mouth … get a sense of the taste there … and now … as you breathe gently in … and exhale gently out … feel your presence … get a sense of who you are in this moment as you sit quietly for a while … (continue recording silence for five minutes without words, then speak gently as you re-enter after silence). And now, take a deep, calming breath in [pause] … and exhale … notice how you feel … your attention is a form of devotion you offer each moment … you have given yourself this time and devotion for your own growth and well-being … give yourself a hug full of gratitude and love … now, as you’re gently bringing your awareness back to this place … staying connected to your own deep presence … breathe deeply once more, and gently open your eyes on the exhale. Welcome to this moment.