May 24, 2020
Last night, the Lord anointed me with His Presence. It came out of the blue. I was never really fully aware of how unpresent I am and have grown to be for so long until He spoke this truth to me in a moment of silence.
It began with me thinking about the way I spend my day, and dwelling upon the Groundhog-day-esque nature of much of my life these days: accomplish one task, move on to the next task, complete the next piece of content, read the next book, listen to the next podcast, prepare for the next meal, have “quick conversations” on the phone, shoot off hurried email replies, rinse, wash and repeat. But see, God cares about each day. Sure, 2 Peter 3:8 in the Bible says that a thousand years are as a single day to God, yet this doesn’t mean he doesn’t still care for each of these days, hours, minutes, seconds, and microseconds.
And this means that for us to be fully grateful, fully aware, fully impactful, fully purposeful, fully excellent, and living fully to the glory of God each day we must also be present each day, present each hour, present each minute, present each second, present each microsecond, and perhaps most importantly: present each breath.
This anointing of and extreme awareness of Presence that God gifted to me is hard to describe, but I will try. I felt Presence fitted upon my torso like the most thin, delicate, fragile glass breastplate you can imagine. It is completely translucent, shimmering, glowing, and flowing with each twist and move of my body. Like glass, Presence can shatter at a moment’s notice, but unlike glass—and more like water or a seamless fluid—it can instantly reform after it is broken, if the awareness of the broken Presence and the desire for Presence returns. As one learns to care for this “breastplate of Presence,” one can grow better and better at keeping it from shattering, and reforming it when it is broken.
One of the best ways to maintain the integrity of Presence is with breath. Imagine that each inhale charges the Presence with a deep white and blue light, and each exhale sends tendrils, vibrations, frequencies, and atoms of that Presence wherever God inspires you to direct your Presence.
The world so desperately needs Presence, doesn’t it?
In an age of constant distraction, and doing, doing, doing as human doings instead of human beings, most people’s Presence is constantly non-existent or shattered. Yet not many people speak of the importance of Presence. Mindfulness, yes. Focus, yes. Awareness, yes. But Presence has an altogether different ring to it when the word is said aloud or envisioned as this breastplate upon the body.
I want to help teach Presence to people. God has placed this upon my heart. Family is foundation, so I must begin by teaching my twin boys River and Terran Presence. Presence for each tiny bubble of air in each of their young inhales and exhales. Each padded footstep out of their bed in the morning. Each ray of sunshine that strikes their skin. Each drop of rain that settles on their head. Each bite of food slowly lifted to the lips and savored and chewed. Each sip of wine and olive oil and yes, even water. Pure, unadulterated Presence must saturate the life of one who wants to be fully connected to loving others and loving God..
How is our Presence broken?
Sure, as I’ve already mentioned, our daily distractions—particularly technology, work, and endless to-do lists—threaten each moment to break our Presence, but I think the vicious cycle begins when we are young. Think back to your childhood, something so many of us fail to regularly do. Remember who you were as a child before you began to feel the pressure to become who you thought the world wanted you to be, rather than your true, authentic self God called you to be. Presence began to fade when it was overwhelmed by all the running, lifting, twisting, twirling, spinning, catching, releasing, starting, ending, consuming, and endless trying and yearning as you tried to be who the world wanted you to be, rather than that fragile breastplate of Presence remaining with you on the constant because you were satisfied with the peace of being who God had called you to be.
If you return to this Presence, if you momentarily stop dancing through the bullets of the matrix of life, you can become connected to your true purpose. You are not ashamed of your purpose statement, you are not so caught up in the doing that you forget about the being, and you have deep knowing that if you cannot be present, then there is too much.
You know. Too much to do. Too much to tend to. Too much to make. Too many promises to keep. Business to tend to. Books to write. Books to read. Tests to take. School to do. Things to record. Phone calls to dial. Equipment to clean. New things to try. Mail to open. Mail to send. Yes, yes, yes to all the shiny pennies and “opportunities” accompanied by a relative lack of “no, this distracts me from Presence.” These tasks and to-do lists can all seem very honorable and productive, but at the end of the day result in little meaningful impact versus focusing with excellence upon one fully present task done well or one fully present conversation that leaves someone feeling truly cared about because you took the time, looked into their eyes, listened with patience and loved.
Until today, until I truly realized what Presence is, my purpose statement was “to empower people to live a more joyful, adventurous, and fulfilling life.” But I realize now that this purpose statement doesn’t place me in the present, and indeed, tempts me to be and even paints me into a corner of being some kind of strong, chest-thumping warlord who leads people on adventure quests in a never-ending cycle of unfulfilling doing. So what is my true purpose statement after much reflection and introspection upon the importance of Presence?
I’ll tell you.
To Read & Write, Learn & Teach, Sing & Speak, Compete & Create In Full Presence & Selfless Love, To The Glory Of God.
I feel a deep sense of Presence in that purpose statement, and if I can go forth and love others with that purpose statement while remaining fully present, then I know deep in my soul that I will be living as God has truly called me to live.
So I now commit, I promise and I prioritize for the rest of my days to wearing this breastplate of Presence, and to sharing Presence with others in as deep and meaningful a way as I can, from the first breath I take upon waking, to the first step I when my feet touch the ground out of bed, to the first sip of water that touches my lips and onwards into every experience and interaction of the day.
In next week's post, I'm going to tell you how to hone your own purpose statement, but in the meantime, I'd love to hear your thoughts about Presence, and if you plan to commit to having more Presence yourself.
19 thoughts on “Sabbath Ramblings: The Breastplate Of Presence.”
Thank u thank u for this amazing post that I so identify with. It makes me sad that I’ve missed out on so many moments with my daughter , husband, family and turned down opportunities due to not being in the present moment. I’ve been addicted to food and exercise my whole life and that has kept me from being present and have sabotaged goals. I have listened to u for awhile and U have changed my life and health in so many ways hoping that u will be having training at some point to be kion coach I would love to learn more from u to help people and share your message thanks again jovi
You got me!
Like most Americans, I don’t tend to “read” the long stuff, but having clicked through to the blog post on finding your own purpose and being prompted backwards to the previous blog where you’ve examined your old purpose statement & chosen to write a new one, I found myself not inspired enough to read the post, but also to write my own.
Here goes: living as God has called me to live with gratitude, grace, & acceptance, surrendering my will to His in a way that engages myself and those to whom I choose to give my attention in an educational, motivational, & uplifting way that supports mental, physical, & spiritual health, wholeness, & joy using truth as I know it in an open & compassionate dialogue with a willingness to grow & adapt to new knowledge.
Thank you for the moment of clarity, presence, & inspiration.
Love it, Ben. Reminds me of the book, “The Practice of the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence.
I so identify in your purpose statement which runs parallel with mine. My metronome does not tick at the same pace as yours, but the focus is on Him, Colossians 3:17.
Did you ever do the Honu Half-Ironman (now 70.3 Hawaii)? For some reason I believe we might have there a number of years ago, perhaps 2010 or earlier.
Yes, did that race 4 or 5 times!
Dearest Brother Ben, I love your grace-filled heart! Thank you for helping me get ready for our teleconference church this morning…As the assistant pastor, I lead the liturgy and music, and your words help me claim the hope, sweetness and tenderness of Presence. We love you in Wake Forest, NC!
Love right back at you!
Presence is all we have. In fact, if Einstein was right and energy and matter are interchangeable then apply pur consciousness to this moment with G-od really does allow us the be present with ourselves and the live we are designed to share altruistically with others. I share these thoughts with the reflection on your use of the word “breastplate”: it ia a very concrete and physical image, but is that what you are trying to convey?
A beautiful post! What a wonderful gift you have been given. It is interesting that you maintain Presence with breath. To be breathing is to be alive. No breath; no life. But its also interesting that breath is something that can happen both with, and without our own efforts. At the same time we are in control of it, thank God we don’t have to be in control of it 100% of the time. A lot of people live their lives and are almost never conscious of their own breath. They have no idea that they are holding their breath, breathing shallowly or maybe even snoring loudly! I think it is the same with the Presence of God. Most people have no idea that He is Omnipresent; and real and present to each one of us, in the most personal and individual way – all we have to do is take a moment to pay attention. So in my opinion, it is both breath and actually taking a moment to consciously acknowledge the source of that breath, the source of life itself that helps us to maintain awareness of it. I find it a great comfort to know that He is always there, whether we recognize His Presence or not. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” ~Hebrews 13:8
Beautiful! Thank you.
Hey Ben, It’s not a science, but I will share what comes to my Mind and Heart when asked about Presence!
I remember a saying someone told me a long time ago. It goes, “We either ‘were’ or ‘will become’, but only One IS!” (Speaking in reference to God)
From what I can recall, she explained to me that Ancient Hebrew had complete and incomplete action, the sorta equivalent to a past or future tense in English (though referring more to action than time). But that the Present Tense was not used. When Introducing oneself you would say “I Ben” rather than “I am Ben”.
The present tense was reserved Solely for THE GREAT I AM, The Name of God Himself! A Name so Powerful and Holy, It could Only be uttered ONCE per year, in ONE Sacred Place, and ONLY by the High Priest! Doing so otherwise was more energy than a mortal body could bare. (I have the Deepest respect for His Name, and even shudder slightly just bringing up the subject in text. It is certainly no joke).
Maybe according to some, True Presence is a state unattainable to us in the 4 dimensions we currently live in. I believe however it is our Birthright, and at least part of what it means to Bare His Image. To be consciously aware of self and all that is, to be present! (I love the fact that in DC Comics they refer to God as “The Presence”)
The Present is where we belong! The Kingdom of God is in the Heart of Man! It is where the War is first fought, and won or lost, and It is where We find Him and thus the only place we are safe! The automatic trip wires of Fear, Anxiety and Depression show us this whenever we step outside THIS MOMENT even just For a moment in either direction!
It is where we belong! It is our Home!
And as you said, we live out that Presence, and (according to some) unknowingly even speak His Name with Every Breath!
Ben I look up to you in so many ways, and I am inspired by so much of what you do. But never (except for maybe the episode you did with your dad) have I been MOVED so much by what you do, than with this post! (It brings tears to my eyes, and joy to my heart!)
Thank you for this! For being Proud of Who you are, and of He/She Who Made you!
It gives me so much Courage!
God Bless you My Friend!
I hope our paths will cross in the future!
PS This video (titled Nooma-Breath) talks bout the name of God Being as breath. It is the first and last thing we say, and for all the in between, it is saying His name (Breath) that sustains us!
Would love to know what you think!
Remember in the non dual state God said I am that I am the only name in the entire Bible did you deo Christian tradition where the name of God is asked and answered clearly it is a non dual State I am that I am I am in heaven and in Earth I am above and below I am the light and the shadow all of it is a representation that God of course is the total essence of who we are there is no separation no delineation no dogma no doctrine no reference to a physical Avatar or a savior I am that I am I will be what I will be and I will reveal myself exclusively through your presence
Presence = Alignment with Holy Spirit
This was a beautiful insight to what I feel God wants and desires with each of us as His children ! Thank you for the reminder and for sharing your journey and heart through it all !
Once I had an experience, where the time slowed down and I looked at a boy who was playing tennis. The ball slowed down too, or stopped, I don’t remember exactly, and inspite the boy was a foreign boy, he was in the experience with me as well. There were many other around us, including his coach, my mum next to me etc. but only this foreign boy and me was in the moment. I knew, because he stopped hitting the ball, and stopped moving completely and his coach shouted at him after the moment passed. I was fully present once on a bus as well. The time didn’t slow down, I just became integrated, not fallen apart, and all my burdon lifted, burdon which are with me for years or decades I am so used to them, so it was fantastic to feel lighter and flexible and coherent. After that moment, all my burden came back and all the heavy feeling on my chest. I would call myself a happy mother now, but someone said we all walk around broken hearted. I think the same. We are just used to it, it makes us a robot, and that is a barrier to be present. So I also think it is not really about promise or decision whether we can be present or not. I like the idea when you can not do something. I like when someone can not be not present because it is a true nature of her/him. May be we should do something about the pain what made us robot and then our presence will be effortless.
PRESENCE. I sit in the Spokane Valley, Morningside area, reading your thoughts from today. I take a deep breath in through my nose, slow and steady reflecting on my day. Even though the day was warm and humid at times, I breathe in just now the air that’s now become crisp and fresh and I reflect on Him. Thank you. Your reflection of today has caused me to sit back, inhale, and feel, know, and love the God who loves all of us….who cares for all of us. Funny thing is, I went to your website to ask if you could add to a podcast all the beneficial effects of the supplements through Kion. We are using Flex, Lean, Aminos, Creatine and your bars. I take in excess of 30 plus supplements many of which you recommended but often times forget why I’m taking them. So if you could add that to a podcast on the benefits of the supplements that would be great. But, now I can reflect on HIM and His presence in us and with us!!! Plus, I have 12 and 14 year old step sons that I need to show how to shoot a bow plus other things (which I learned myself as a kid). THANKS again for all that you are and do. If you could interview your wife, that would be great (being a woman myself I’d appreciate what she has to say too)
That as probably the most beautiful piece of text you’ve ever written. It seemed to have come from a wise spiritual voice with the essence of poetry. I difinately need more presence in my life however l have always tried to be aware and assess what might happen by looking for the signs. I suppose you can only read the signs properly if you are focused in the present moment.
I have been on my presence journey I feel my whole life and these few months have provided a laser sharp focus. While not Christian your words resonate with my own spiritual journey and how to incorporate it with everything else in my life. It’s like being woken up from a dream and realizing there is so much magic within and around us. So much gratitude for each breath. So much love, so much beauty and abundance in the present. For me these three months have been a blessing and I want to ensure to take this forward; and never fall back asleep again. Daily walks, meditation and yoga help me be in the present. But I am also finding it in the regular things like talking to my family, in the laugher, cooking etc. I can focus to be in the now. Don’t worry about the past or future, just be and feel the universe within and around.
Whilst not a practicing Christian this post greatly resonated with me. Very well written and portrayed. Thankyou.