5 Phases of Presence
In these phases of presence we intend and try to actually rest as presence and then we pay attention or notice the various flavors of how we leave presence. In noticing we try to relax these ways of contracting, collapsing, leaving, etc. and return to presence.
Note that this phases of presence deal with very subtle experiential qualities in presence. That is to say that these phases are not dealing with gross level distractions, concepts, or patterns of reactivity or thought. Given that, and given our approach with ‘starting with the end and working backwards’, if a practitioner finds these phases too difficult to work with, they can move to more appropriate practices to help relax gross level experiences.
In all of these phases we could say the practice is to release or relax. Both words are appropriate and more or less mean they same thing as an instruction, but can have slightly different flavors in practice.
(Note: these basic stage names were not created in Awakening in Life, but Ryan picked up along the way and the origins are unknown. Commentary is from Ryan.)
In this phase we emphasize no-distraction. Here ‘no-distraction’ does not mean ‘focused or concentrated’. It simply means we are present without distraction, or that distraction does not collapse our presence. In this phase we emphasize slightly more the experience of no-distraction with our individual self. In practice we begin in presence and bring awareness to ways we get distracted. We noticed distraction, release the distraction, and return to presence.
In this phase we emphasize no-contraction, which means we begin in presence and direct this presence outward from the self to other: other people, the world, external phenomena. We notice ways in which we contract presence from other, release, and return to presence.
In this phase we emphasize no-separation. We begin in presence that is not divided into self and other, and we notice ways in which we collapse into duality, we release this separation, and return to presence.
In this phase we emphasize no-estrangement. We begin in presence that is not divided into self and other (no-separation), but we notice ways in which we might want to remain in the quality of radical openness, a subtle contraction of turning away from the arising, manifest world. Here the experience of presence has a quality of radically embracing the world.
In this last phase we emphasize no-effort, which means we just rest in presence without doing anything in particular at all, compared to the last 4 phases. Here we notice any subtle sense of doing and movement to get somewhere or be something, and then we relax into presence again.