Things, events, start and end.
To illustrate the idea of presence as clearly as I can manage I’m gonna use an example scenario. Let’s say you’re home, and you’re going to meet your friend for lunch at a restaurant. So you’re driving there. Let’s walk through what happens psychologically…
When you enter your car to drive, the driving event starts, and the driving activity becomes present in your mind. You’re actively engaged with it. Then you arrive at your destination, park your car, and leave the car. Then the driving event is now over. It is not longer present. You’ve disconnected from it in your mind. You’re not “driving” in your mind anymore. Now you’re thinking of where your friend is sitting in the restaurant, what kind of meal you’re in the mood for, etc. Your mind is completely disconnected from the driving activity that ended only seconds ago.
This is how it feels to be present. Let’s continue this scenario to illustrate how one might lose their presence…
When you find your friend and take a seat, you leaf through the menu. After going over all the options, debating with your friend which option you’ll enjoy the most, which would upset your stomach the least, which is overly unhealthy, overly expensive, etc. You finally settle on an option: A club sandwich.
Waiter comes over, you give your order, and hand over the menu. Not a second later you look at your friend and wonder if you made the wrong choice. “Maybe I should’ve gotten the soup” you tell him. You continue to debate which meal you should’ve gotten. The waiter already took your order, is going to the chef to prepare it for you, and you’re still in your head deciding which meal is best for you.
In this scenario, when you sit down and look at the menu, the choosing-a-meal event has started, and it becomes present in your mind as you look at the menu. Then you give your order to the waiter, the waiter repeats your order, then he walks away towards the kitchen. Then the choosing-a-meal event is now over. It is no longer present. It is now past. When you left the car, you moved on to the next event. But here, you didn’t. You got stuck in the past event that is over already. Then, you’re no longer present in the moment. The present moment is about chatting with your friend and waiting for your meals. Instead, you’re in your mind about the past event, not letting it go.
Connect with how it feels to move on from driving after you park. To let go of the driving activity once you parked and connect with the next event. See how that feels psychologically. Then try practicing that in other areas of your life where you tend to attach and not let go. Start small.