Updated: Oct 11, 2021
Your natural state is of happiness and peace. However, the mind has attached itself to a multitude of ideas and opinions. It acts like a toddler running all around presenting all sorts of craziness (most of which are simply memory traces).
The issue with this is that most people are living according to this rogue toddler without even knowing it. It has become so habitual that it is seemingly normal. Normal as far as the majority of the population but not natural. Presence tames the toddler.
I like to think of presence as sort of an escape hatch. It is the moment that you no longer live in the past or project into the future, it is where your true nature resides and it is very, very pleasant.
Presence disciplines the toddler. The mind will initially swing back and forth from present into past or future, fantasies, plans, schemes, all of that, but if you keep bringing it back to the present moment, the swings will begin to subside.
Now, here is the benefit of the present moment and your true nature: causeless happiness. It is the motto of East and West Yoga, and for good reason. The True Self IS causeless happiness.
As stated earlier, it is our natural state, but the egoic mind cannot understand, it is beyond the egoic mind. This natural state is accessed through the present moment. You still use the mind, but it is no longer run by unconscious thoughts, it becomes clear.
The ego or false mind seeks happiness or satisfaction outside itself: in others, relationships, jobs, money, clothes, success, travels, cars, friends, dinners, sporting events; It’s like a scavenger. Your true nature is happy and content and the beauty of it is that there is no reason, no cause of this happiness, it is simply who you really are.
The false mind has taken your attention away from the present moment and determined that outside things are necessary for happiness.
A nice by-product of presence is that those sought-after notions of the mind (great relationships, fabulous jobs, etc.) generally begin to fall right into place with presence; it’s just that the dependency on them is gone.
In presence there is no “this is what makes me happy.” You just are.
Causeless happiness can take a bit of time depending on the swings of the mind, but it’s there.
Another way to explain presence is in terms of what it is not. It is not self-help, self-love, motivation of self, working on the self, self-improvement, getting better, a work in progress. Those things are all something other than presence.
Presence is keeping your attention on what is happening at the present moment. With presence, two things happen. One is that the conditioning that you have lived with becomes apparent and begins to fade away. Second, causeless happiness, or peace arises.
As you practice presence. the mind will begin to settle down, it becomes more tranquil. It does less darting off to what happened yesterday, last month, what you should have said, all that you need to do this week, and a million other things it feels it must think about.
This is the first article in a series I am calling Causeless Happiness. In this series I will expand upon the practice of presence and go into the conditioning patterns that come up to be discarded.