Excerpt About Technique

The Practice of Being in the Present as a Developmental Technique

Over the past few decades in the human growth movement, the practice of being in the present has been used as a developmental technique, but it has been understood and used in a somewhat incomplete way. To be in the now is understood to mean to think about just what is in the here and now, to have emotions only about what is present in this moment. Basically it has been used to situate your awareness in the present moment. In Gestalt therapy, for example, to be in the present is not taken further than that; it is not taken as far as letting go of your mind. Gestalt therapy does not understand that being in the here and now means that you will eventually recognize yourself as a presence independent of the mind. In Gestalt you still think in the kinds of categories that you learned in the past, so you are bringing the past with you into the present. However, Gestalt moves you toward the present because it asks you to look at what is right now. So as I said, one way to get to the experience of the pure state of presence, the already liberated state, is to focus on whatever helps bring you more and more into the here and the now—to disengage from the past and the future and be in the moment. This focus is an important element in our work here, and the techniques of Gestalt therapy can provide an effective entry into the experience of presence.

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