If you live in an anywhere in North America and don't practice a religion where the Christmas holiday is celebrated you may submit to the idea that material gifts are the heart of the holiday season, and how we show our loved ones we care.
With depression and anxiety soaring, production and consumption is reaching an all-time height. When will we wake up and see that simply giving and receiving material gifts is not the key to our happiness?
(Quite frankly, all this “stuff” just gets in the way of what we truly want, and are all secretly waiting for. . .)
Like millions of others, I too, have spent countless hours stressing and worrying in effort to find the 'perfect gift' for the loved ones I care about in the price range I could afford.
Nevertheless, despite the pressure of the 'purchasing season' deep down I know that the most valuable gifts offer are the ones that cannot be either bought, wrapped in paper, or found in a box with a pretty bow. But one that can only be given in the most genuinest of ways; this gift I am talking about is the gift of presence.
Ways to offer your gift of presence…
Insight Dialogue is an interpersonal mindfulness and meditation practice that supports us in truly giving the gift of presence. Founded by Gregory Kramer in 1995, Insight Dialogue is centred around a few easy to understand steps. It is a rather difficult meditation to practice however, and this is why our presence is the most powerful gifts we may ever give.
Pause, Relax & Open - I like to think of this first step, as a “Mindful check in.” It is difficult to be present with another if you are distracted, tense and shut down.
In “Pause” you are moving from a state of distraction to one that is aware and attentive to your body-mind-heart (i.e. body, thoughts and emotions), which is the practice of mindfulness.
In “Relax” you are inviting a sense of ease into your experience in the face of any tension found in your body, creating the grounds for greater acceptance, receptivity and openness towards what is here in this moment.
In “Open” you are receptive to also your external world, taking in what is around you, including that of the other person.
Trust Emergence - This step is where you practice the “Don’t Know Mind” in relation with another. You may be surprise at just how hard this is to do. In this step, you learn how to move away from the habitual pattern of assuming you know how the conversation is going to go or planning what you are going to say in response, and instead practice the skill of “not knowing” and trusting the natural unfolding of the moment.
Listen Deeply - Also known as ‘mindful listening’ is the practice of listening not just with ears and mind, but with your entire being to what is being spoken through words, body language, and expression, moment by moment. Listening deeply is rooted in kindness and patience, and is free from one’s own personal agenda, expectations or timetable.
Speak the Truth - Before you are about to speak, pause and check in if what you are about to say is based in generosity, wisdom and love. Cultivating these qualities are the ethical framework of mindful speech and essential to deepening relation with one another.
The gift of presence is the hardest gift for any of us to give (trust me I know...) because, I seem to forget to give it all the time. It is why I need to be more intentional about it, to actively work on it, and to create the space for it to grow and flourish. So, it can be given freely, at any time, in anyplace, anywhere in the world, to anyone.
May the gift of presence be with you always,
Edited by Shane Matheson (my bro) @ Relative Clause Editors
For more information on Insight Dialogue go to https://metta.org/insight-dialogue-3/.