In one moment of
presence, our Beingness known.
Now is all that is.
I came into contact with the peace and stillness of Beingness long before I had any idea what it was. In my twenties, caught up in the world of work and relationships, focused almost entirely on ‘doing’ as opposed to ‘being,’ its presence in my life was still powerful enough to make a lasting impression – a footprint in my soul that marked a sacred space.
I have my friend and ‘Japanese mother’ Hitomi to thank for this. I’ve found it to be a funny thing that it’s when we’re at our lowest ebb that we become more open and receptive to the non-visible and indefinable presence of subtle energy in our lives.
I had met Hitomi soon after I first came to Japan, and would sometimes visit her on the weekends. We enjoyed a sense of heartfelt connection from the start, as, with little more than a dictionary and our strong desire to communicate, we somehow managed to make ourselves more or less understood.
As my Japanese language skills grew I came to appreciate Hitomi’s wisdom as well as her kindness and generosity of spirit. But it was only when I was physically, emotionally, mentally and, (though I didn’t know it at the time), spiritually tired; worn down by frequent storms in a turbulent relationship and not enough sleep, by trying to squeeze myself into the box that (I thought) would make my then-partner happy, that I really felt the healing nature of her presence.
It wasn’t that we talked about any of ‘my stuff.’ But it was as if her presence alone was a balm to my soul, and I would leave her house with a calm and peaceful spirit – feeling replenished, stronger and somehow returned to myself.
Being with her brought a sense of solace, but I didn’t really look into the whys and wherefores. If anything, I put it down to our mutual pleasure in each other’s company and the natural beauty that surrounded her house, tucked away in the mountains.
Soon after that I had the privilege of living with Hitomi for the best part of a year while I looked for the house I still live in. By that time I was out of the relationship and in a job that demanded long hours and working weekends. Again, Hitomi’s presence was like a restorative balm in my life.
Crazily busy as I was, there was a sense of time slowed-down time that seemed to imbue our hours together and enabled me to return to and feel like myself again. When we spent the odd morning or afternoon together, it was like I was going back to a simpler time; a time when work deadlines and modern day stresses didn’t exist. A time when the simple pleasures of the warmth of the sun on my skin, the beauty of a single flower and the taste of the chai that she would make for us to drink together prevailed.
It was as if I stepped Narnia-like through the wardrobe into a different world. One in which I was free to just ‘be.’
I wasn’t aware enough at the time to realise the sense of liberation inherent in this; or that it could become a state of being that was lived all the time, instead of just the odd afternoon.
What I could see and appreciate was the inherent dignity and beauty in the way Hitomi both presented herself to and interacted with the people and things in her world. Her movements as she went about her day were slow and deliberate, infused with a simplicity and beauty reminiscent of the Japanese tea ceremony or Ikebana.
She would give whatever she was doing her full attention, focusing only on that and the conversation that flowed back and forth between us without effort. And it was this concentration of her focus and energy on the task at hand that gave her movements their effortless beauty and grace.
Compared to my double and triple tasking filled work days, in which my energy was scattered tenfold, the time I spent with her was a time of quiet and stillness. And it was this quiet and stillness that was such a solace to my soul.
Though I didn’t know it at the time, I was in the presence of Beingness.
Several years later, (at the suggestion of Hitomi), I joined a tai chi class, which we both still attend to this day. Our teacher talks of how it is when we bring our mind, body and breath into unity that we find the deep-seated peace and calmness for which we all yearn.
To me this is what Beingness is – the acute present-moment awareness that illumines all that we are and all that we do when we still our minds and focus on the Now moment, bringing our awareness to both our internal and our external realities at the same time; simultaneously placing our attention on the inner world of our heart-space and breathing and the external reality of our interactions with the physical world.
This act takes us outside of all time and brings us profoundly into the Now. As we come into the Now our breathing seems to slow; our heart naturally expands its sense of peace and well-being; and the world around us is more keenly felt as our awareness of minute details is enhanced – it’s as if things come into sharper focus; and light, sound and colour intensify.
This is the state of Beingness. It’s a state in which we know and experience our humanity and our divinity in a single moment – the stillness in our heart and each life-giving breath reminding us that we are spawned of and connected to the Source of all that is; the intensified awareness of the things in our external world reminding us that this eternal part of us is housed in a temporary physical body, experiencing itself as part of an ever-changing physical world.
When we are in this state of Beingness, dualities cease to exist. The human self and the divine self are known and experienced as one. There is no separation, there is only life. All is life. And as life, all is divine.
A life lived in this state of Beingness is a life lived in meditation.
Not the sitting crossed-legged on the floor kind of meditation that may come to mind; but a meditative state in which we carry the peace and stillness of the Infinite in our hearts and minds throughout the day, reminding us of our connection to and oneness with it. A meditative state in which we observe our thoughts and emotions as they come and go, returning our attention to the present moment each time it drifts away; bringing the full force of our attention to whatever we happen to be encountering in our life in the Now moment. A meditative state in which we are aware of both our inner and our outer realities, integrating them successfully so that we are able to experience and express the wholeness of our Being.
This is the kind of Beingness that Hitomi was presenting for me. And I now see what a gift it was. It was thanks to the powerful strength and presence of Hitomi’s Beingness – the calmness and stillness of the Infinite at the core of her being which was reflected in the way she interacted with her world and me as a part of that world – that her energy field (read ’emotions’ ) was able to have such a profound and healing effect on mine.
This power to positively affect others through our state of being is one that belongs to us all. As energetic beings our emotional state sends out vibrations that affect the people around us and prompt them to respond to us in various ways, as we have all seen in our relationships with others.
Negative emotions send out a low vibration; usually attracting a low vibrational response in return. So if you shout at someone, they are likely to go on the defensive and respond to you in a negative way. As you move up the emotional vibrational scale you should find that people respond to you more favourably. So when you treat others with respect and compassion, you usually find that they respond in kind.
There are various different scales around, but the highest vibrating emotions are generally presented as being those of love, peace, joy, gratitude, appreciation, freedom…
What is of particular relevance here is that, as with electricity in which lower voltage currents are absorbed by higher currents, if the energetic field of the person holding the higher emotional vibration is strongly held the “higher frequencies or vibrations can absorb lower ones and turn them into higher vibrations.” (Hans Liszikam in The God Code in the Seven and Its Effect on Our Physical, Mental and Spiritual Lives).
Seen from this perspective, the power of Hitomi’s presence and its ability to affect me positively – in such a way that my stress and worries seemed to recede and my heart and Spirit felt more at ease – lay in her strongly held field of high-vibrational energy from which emanated the love, peace, serenity and joy of the Infinite that she embodied at the core of her being.
This is the power of Beingness.
The peace, calmness, joy and love that we are when we are connected to the Infinite part of ourselves and living in the Now moment ripple outwards, coming into contact with the energy fields of others and leaving healing footprints in the souls of everyone we meet.
People find themselves restored, rejuvenated, more at peace, more in touch with themselves and their inner wisdom; feel somehow more themselves without quite being able to put their finger on why, when they are in the presence of Beingness.
This restorative power is a gift in the life of anyone; but for those who are hurting, weary, worn down by life and disconnected from the very essence of who they are, it literally has the capacity to call back home the splintered parts of their soul and reconnect them to beauty, to love, to wonder, and to a magical sense of awe at this miracle that we call life.
At the same time as our Beingness is a gift to others, it is also the most precious gift we can give to ourselves. It is when we connect to our own Beingness that we really discover the peace of the Infinite that resides in our hearts and the profound joy that is available to us in the present moment. When we’re experiencing vibrationally low emotions, we can consciously choose to return to our own Beingness and drink deeply of its restorative power in a potent act of self-healing. Our Beingness is also the gateway to unexplored realms of self-discovery and a felt connection to Source, for we can only know that which we are able to be fully present with.
During the few months we lived together, Hitomi often spoke of cultivating a profound peace and stillness in your heart that is so complete it can’t be disturbed by the things that life throws at you. She likened this sense of peace and stillness to a tranquil lake upon which the reflection of the moon lies unbroken. This is the quality of Beingness that she was reflecting for me during those times we spent together, and this is the quality of Beingness I would like to embody and share as my gift to myself and to everyone and everything I encounter in the world.
This is a lofty aspiration that may take me some time to reach, but I can at least allow any ripples in my emotions and energy field to pass through me swiftly and easily; making a conscious choice, as I notice them, to return to the sacred space of my own Beingness. And as, in the core of my being, the peace and stillness of that tranquil lake with its unbroken moon is restored, I can hold the intention that it is these qualities – the reflection of the Infinite inscribed in my heart – that ripple out from me into the world.