One of the key qualities of spiritual progress can be a growing sense of presence, of being in the moment rather than in the mind. The mind alone brings us anxiety about the future or regrets about the past. Presence brings us peace.
However, while presence can be cultured, it has to be present first. Also called the witness, presence is the growing dominance of a background of simple awareness. We’re becoming less caught in the mind and it’s stories and the emotions and their drama.
Presence is the natural consequence of spiritual development. Techniques like meditations that connect us with pure consciousness can help culture this, making it familiar.
But we have to be honest with ourselves. Making a mood or culturing a concept of presence is not it. This will serve us no value and can cause us to fall more deeply into a story of progress. Presence has to be there for us to notice & culture it. At first, you’ll probably find it stronger in group meditations and other sangha, where the group supports it.
Also, what is already there does not need a lot of culturing. Directly connecting to it is good but don’t spend a lot of time checking on it. It will be stronger and quieter at different times. And don’t avoid being in the world to avoid disturbing it. The idea is to live the experience, bring it into your life. In India, they use the analogy of dying the cloth. First you dip it in the dye, then you hang it out in the sun to bleach. Repeat until colour-fast.
Finally, after it is stabilized and always present, don’t be concerned if it’s dominance and contrast falls away. As it becomes normal and starts to encompass more of the experience, it can seem to be fading but is actually becoming more inclusive.
Above all, enjoy.