Yesterday a Stranger Taught Me What it Feels Like to Stand in the Face of Presence


photo courtesy of Unsplash

We talk about being present all the time, being in the NOW. And many of us who are spiritual mentors believe that we truly understand what it means. Most of you who would be reading this post, probably believe that you understand true presence as well. And you may. But I found out yesterday that it took standing in the face of presence, when I was not present, not in the NOW, for me to authentically understand what it feels like.

I was outside with all of our fur babies yesterday morning, trying to make sure that they did not get in the way of our landlady feeding the horses directly outside of our casita. They can be a bit rambunctious so we don’t want them getting tangled up in the horses. That is pretty dangerous for anyone, but for little dogs, even more so.

There was a lovely lady and her small son watching and walking around with our landlady as she fed. I waved hello to both and my landlady and I began chatting about troubles with the internet, and in the midst of the chatter, the lady and her son walked over to me, smiled, and I held my hand out to shake hers and she did the same and said “hello, my name is…,” and I said, “hi, I’m Kimm”. I smiled out of habit and may have said, “it’s nice to meet you”, but to be honest, I’m really not sure what I said. Because my mind was too filled with its own chatter, and my “ego self” too busy with trying to find out what happened to the internet.

In the midst of my scattered attention, I felt the genuine shake of a hand, a conscious greeting and acknowledgement as the lady walked over to me, and in her “hello”, I felt the power of presence. Without a shadow of doubt, I knew that in that moment her only intention was to introduce herself and say, “hello”. She had no questions about who I was and no other agendas. Her eyes told me that she only wanted to gift a morning greeting to a stranger.

And in the moments afterwards, I felt my own lack of presence, and it hit me in the face.


photo courtesy of Shuttershock via Bing Images

The feeling was so profound that I walked back inside and told Andie the story, and I shared with her that I felt as if I had received one of the greatest gifts in my life, in those moments. I was able to experience someone fully with me in the NOW, and I was able to become aware of my lack of being fully with her. And in that experience of contrast, I learned more about true presence than I ever had from any teacher guru, or book. 

As a matter of fact, this stranger was my teacher, though we may never see each other again. And I thank her for being a mirror so that I could see myself much more clearly. And now my interactions with people will be more fulfilling and more conscious because of the true presence of someone I didn’t even know.