Simple Presence

presence exercises for caregivers

be present!

The foundation of spiritual care is simple presence. Sitting in simple presence is sharing a space with another person without the interference generated by social behavior or evasive actions. Sit with your loved one either while he is in bed, in a hospital room, or at home. The circumstances don’t matter. Ideally you will be undisturbed for 5 minutes or so while practicing this. You can sit facing your care partner, alongside or even behind.

Relax the body and your face. Now, let your eyes and vision relax – not focusing on any one thing in particular. We sometimes call this wide-screen or diffused vision. Try to keep your body, face and eyes relaxed and your vision diffused.

Now, try to get into a one-pointed state of mind, not stressed, the chatter of the inner mind slowing down gradually. Intentionally divide your concentrated attention and place half of your attention on your partner and half on your own relaxed face. If this seems too hard, don’t worry! Try it gently or just sit in simple relaxed presence with some awareness of your nearby loved one.

Many types of phenomena may appear, but continue until you can easily be with your loved one without having to talk or dramatize social expressions and personality.

This is an advanced exercise. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t do it. It usually takes many attempts before you can feel comfortable just sitting with another. Workshops devote several days to presenting this material, and you’ve just learned it in 5 minutes!

This is a very valuable practice, the basis of your continuing work with those at the end of life. Break it into steps: position yourself, breathe and relax, soften the face, diffuse the vision and bring your attention to bear on both yourself and your partner.

Caregiver Revolution :For families, loved ones and professionals who want to change caregiving into a positive, life affirming experience.

Leave a Reply