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  • Writer's pictureJim Hostler

Absence in the Age of Connectivity

In a world filled with constant distractions, it's becoming increasingly challenging to be fully present in the moment. We often find ourselves multitasking, scrolling through our phones while having conversations, or simply letting our minds wander during important interactions. However, the power of presence - being present - cannot be underestimated. Being present is at the core of your quality of life and the outcomes you achieve in your life. It is the foundation strong, authentic relationships and effective communication, with yourself and others.

Picture of a Buddha statue on a leaf
picture of Buddha statue on a leaf

In the age of smartphones, social media, and constant connectivity, we're paradoxically more disconnected than ever. Again, we are more disconnected from our essence, our true self, as well as disconnected from others and life. We may be physically present, but mentally absent. As the saying goes, "so many selfies, so little self knowledge." Our minds are scattered across a dozen different tasks and distractions, leaving us with a shallow and often insincere presence in our relationships and conversations. To truly connect with others, we must learn the art of presence.


Presence is more than just being physically present; it's about being fully engaged and attentive in the moment. It's the art of giving your undivided attention to the person or situation in front of you or to yourself in your sacred space. When you are present, you are grounded in the here and now, free from the burden of the past and the anxiety of the future. You are fully immersed in the richness of the present moment, this state that the magic of life happens and true communication can occur.


Authentic communication is the cornerstone of genuine, meaningful relationships. When you're fully present in a conversation, your mind isn't racing with judgments, assumptions, or preconceived notions. Instead, you listen actively, ask thoughtful questions, and truly understand and connect with the person you're engaging with. This level of connection can only happen when you are centered and grounded in your essence.


Empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, thrives in an environment of presence. When you're present, you can tune into the emotions and needs of the person you're communicating with. You can empathize with their joys, sorrows, and challenges. This empathy forms a deep and meaningful connection that transcends superficial exchanges and leads to lasting relationships.


Trust is the bedrock of any healthy relationship, and it grows when you're consistently present. When you make a habit of being fully engaged in your interactions, people notice and appreciate it. They feel heard, valued, and respected. This builds trust and credibility, making it easier to communicate openly and honestly. In the absence of trust, relationships stagnate, and communication becomes superficial and guarded.


The good news is that presence is a skill that can be cultivated over time. Here are some practical steps to help you become more centered and grounded in your essence, enabling you to foster strong and authentic relationships:


Mindfulness Meditation: Practicing mindfulness meditation can help you become more aware of the present moment and train your mind to stay focused.


Digital Detox: Allocate specific times to disconnect from your digital devices, allowing you to be fully present without distractions. Time to be in and with the sacredness of silence.


Active Listening: Make a conscious effort to listen actively during conversations, without interrupting or forming judgments. Being present causes you to listen beyond the words spoken. You can hear emotions, body language, intentions, and what is being said "between the lines".


Practice Empathy: Put yourself in the shoes of the person you're communicating with, and strive to understand their perspective. A human attribute of being of service to others, knowing giving and receiving are the same emotion.


Set Intentions: This, as simple as it may sound, is a rare and advanced communication skill. Set your mood, engage your body, and be mindful of your language before important interactions, setting your intention in this manner to be fully present is living in the land of magic.


In a world where our attention is constantly pulled in different directions, the power of presence stands out as a rare and advanced skill. When you are centered and grounded in your essence, your relationships become richer, your communication more authentic, and your connections more profound. So, take a step back from the noise, breathe, and embrace the transformative power of presence.

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