I used to think that being present was the same as being still. Stopping, staying in one place, not moving.
But I think I'm finding that at times being present feels like being at the till of a sailboat, and you're skipping along the sea, and the wind is blowing hard into your sails.
You are fully present, but you are quickly moving. You are anything but standing still.
You are fully present to the sights and the noises and the smells around you. You smell the salt spray and can sense it on your skin. You hear the steady but easy thump of the hull breaking through small waves. But what you are most attune to — what all of your senses are devoted to, and fully present to — is the wind.
You’re present to the wind, and to how it’s blowing, and you trim and ease your sails accordingly. You know where it’s coming from, and you know how fast it’s blowing. Close haul or broad reach, your speed and your direction are both in your hands and yet totally determined by the wind.
And so you are fully present, and yet fully moving. You don’t have to stand still and impassive to the world around you. You can take it in, in all of its change and tumult and wind and rush, and harness it. You can fully inhabit the world around you, present to its beauty and chaos, and yet move swiftly through it. You can be fully present, and yet not standing still.