Are you present or absent?

By Jena Griffiths | September 25, 2011

The Hour-Glass

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In our last call with Richard Unger we discussed what makes a person responsible vs irresponsible.

One of the key points Richard brought up was that you have to be fully present to be responsible. A lot of irresponsible behavior comes from a person being unaware of the fact that they’re stepping on toes or not fully conscious of their impact on others.

An extreme version of this would be a drunk driver, who kills someone else while he’s

An example from my life?

A few years ago I met a man who had never once visited his children while they were growing up. I asked him if he had made this choice consciously because he thought a little bit of contact would be more painful than none. He replied by saying that he had never hurt anyone in his life! Wow!

It’s easy to point fingers at someone else engaged in an extreme version of unconscious (rather than passive) aggression but actually most of us are doing this to a greater or lesser degree every day.

I’ve been guilty of this in my own family. There’s a big difference between not wanting to rush in and rescue people you love and not being present for them.

How does not being present work on a more mundane level?

Usually we miss the opportunity to be fully present because we’re so busy multitasking.
Are you listening to your son/daughter/mother 100% or are you also unpacking the dishwasher?
(I’m totally guilty of this. How about you?)
Research shows that we half our IQs when we multitask. Yet most of us are convinced we’re saving time. Actually we’re robbing ourselves and others and shrinking our potential.

During the call with Richard I demonstrated this perfectly.
Richard told a story and while he was doing so I quickly responded to an email from a student who was having trouble getting into the call. Result: I missed his punchline and had to own up to not being present – which was the topic under discussion!

Are you blushing on my behalf?

Let’s just say that a higher good that came out of this because now I can now write and tell you about it.
And bleed onto the page on your behalf.

Action steps you can take right now?

Wean yourself off the habit of multitasking. Think of an hourglass. Each grain of sand has to pass through the present moment one grain at a time. There’s no way this can be changed. The results of trying? Serious blockage.

Salems kyrka / Salems church, Diocese of Strän...

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2. Put yourself in other people’s shoes occasionally so you can feel where the rub is.
It’s not your job to rescue but it is your responsibility to be conscious and fully present for those you love.
There’s no greater gift you can give another than “The present” – the gift of your presence.

3. To hear the call with Richard on this theme, join Earth School’s inner circle before our next call this Thursday. You’ll get this recording when you sign in. Or buy the replay here.

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