Coming Into Being

This was the first of very few attempts to write about the presence work (and its relation to some nondual teachings) after some  years of running  workshops on this process

COMING INTO BEING                             


Many people are sensitive to a sense of being somehow disconnected, in fundamental distress at some deep level, even if this is most of the time masked from awareness.

Buddha called this ‘dukkha’-suffering

Teachers in every tradition have tried to provide ways and means to help release us from (transcend, transform, accept etc) this suffering and unite us with our True Nature, Christ, Source, God, Unconditioned Consciousness (whatever that is called – that we somehow intuit to be in some sense freer, truer, more complete etc.).

The Highest teachings in most traditions  (often hidden or even heretical to the orthodoxy) could be called ‘non-dual’, and the teachers of these usually say that it is quite obvious to them that we are already THAT which they have realized themselves to be, are already that which we seek – only we don’t recognize it.

In many traditions the great teachers, saints, sages, masters, have recommended that aspirants, seekers of ‘enlightenment’ or ‘salvation’, keep the company of realized conscious beings in every and any way possible; the implication being that there is a great awakening power of transmission in association with true being. Also most great realizers insist that you and I are none other than THAT which they have realized  -NONE OTHER!    … An interesting paradox…

Usually we are encouraged to develop some capacities as vehicles to carry us to the  ‘other shore’ of our divine nature, however it is conceived. The more subtle or advanced the teaching, the more the “vehicle” turns out to be our very being-consciousness, that which we already are!

So, WHO is developing capacities, traveling, and indeed, WHERE is all this happening (since the destination turns out to be nowhere else than Here)? What IS Always?

We are both separate, limited conscious beings

And manifestations of Conscious Being Itself.

  In this paradox is an ‘open secret’ of great power.

Another way of looking at this mystery is that perhaps Being/Source/God itself is moving as/ through/ in us toward conscious manifestation of itself and our dissatisfaction or duke/suffering is a manifestation of that drive. We strive toward (or have inklings of the possibility of) a deeper order, a more complete inclusive sense of being and awareness (understanding, love, trust, certainty) and perhaps (as Rumi suggests) our longing is Being Itself striving to awaken in us, as us.

These are indeed great mysteries, and there are many formulations, simple or complex articulations, theistic and non-theistic, about this mystery of our nature and destiny.

At the base of all ‘ways’ of living, suffering, or exploring the mystery, is an obvious yet elusive fact, often unrecognized, without which nothing would be known or experienced at all! – We could call this PRESENCE (which combines the qualities of Consciousness and Being). All qualities of being and experience internal and external, subjective and objective, are carried in or are modifications of, the pervasive depth field of presence; even time (the passing moment) and the timeless (eternity) are simultaneously present. (‘Before Abraham was I AM’; ‘I am that I am’; ‘I am with you always’)

In our own lives we may notice different degrees of and limits to our and other’s ‘presence’. We may feel frustrated, sensing that there is so much more fullness of being than we could access. We may have a variety of personal reactions to the conditions of existence, but through all of it Presence remains, even if we are not aware of it.

“I am the clear consciousness core of your being

                The same in ecstasy or self hating fatigue”   – Rumi

Since in some basic sense we are always already present (to whatever degree we consciously participate in this Mystery), and since this presence is both the means and the goal, the beginning middle and end, the Open Secret is out!

We can do more for each other than we know.

‘Presence’,  yes our ‘own’ presence, is an awakening grace and power.

Our dedicated attention to each other can allow the transformative force of this conscious beingness to quicken each other’s awakening; or to put it another way, deepen the integration of our limited personal selves, psyche’s, bodies with limitless Being.

  Opening ourselves to the presence that is our ground and source, Being itself begins to draw us toward who we really are and to expand into and through all our experience, and apparent limits.

This we have now is not imagination.

This is not grief or joy.

Not a judging state,

Or an elation, or sadness.


Those come and go.

This is the presence that doesn’t.


It’s dawn Husam, here in the splendour of coral,

inside the Friend, the simple truth of what Hallaj said.*


What else could human beings want?

When grapes turn to wine,

they’re wanting some of this.

When the night sky pours by,

it’s really a crowd of beggars,

and they all want some of this!


This that we are now

created the body, cell by cell,

like bees building a honeycomb.


The human body and the universe grew from this,

not this from the universe and the human body.’

– Rumi

                                                                                                                                         (Hallaj said in effect “I am the Truth”, for which he was killed)

The ground of our attention is conscious presence and love, whatever distortions we may be identifying with at any time. We can intentionally open to allowing the force of our full attention, our awareness-presence, to deepen each other in Being.

This is truly a natural sacred Alchemical process – infinite and finite, lover and beloved, being and becoming, making transforming love as us.

What do we do in the work? –

– Give open attention to each other without judgment staying as present as we can with what arises as we give and receive attention.

– Relax into being as we are and receive attention without having to ‘do’ anything to  ‘deserve’ to.

–  Enquire into our experience with compassionate interest.

–  Learn some subtle practices to attune to qualities of our Fundamental  Nature

–  Welcome each other and ourselves into being here as the finite /non-finite paradox we are!

One of the beauties of this approach is that it combines the core mysteries of eastern and western spirituality in a phenomenological experiential approach without the need for doctrine, belief or guru (though various insights may be called on to orientate our experience.) Nor need it conflict with particular beliefs, unless they are revealed as being constrictions on ones presence and truthful enquiry.

                This is tender and fierce work for those who feel called or are calling themselves into Being. It is a fire, an alchemy, a ‘cooking’, an organic process of deepening and unfoldment, which spontaneously allows us to become aware of whatever in us needs to be assimilated or ‘digested’ in being.

  This work is not in the short term about ‘feeling better’ (though this may happen). Nor is this promising great transformations and breakthroughs, though they may occur.

  This is not therapy as such, though it may well be therapeutic in the deepest sense.

  This is about allowing the truth to set us free – and will sometimes mean seeing and suffering the awareness of where we are not. Participants need to be willing to explore while taking responsibility for themselves in mutual support.

This is about mutual compassionate support in and for the great mystery of the emergence of the Divine Human Being on this planet, through and as, You and I, ordinary and extraordinary.

This is about our True Nature , and Love


In love of Being.

Duncan Mackintosh.

Forest Row, Sussex, UK

Copyright ND Mackintosh (1997)