Instant Presence was equivalent to a riddle wrapped in an enigma. Its main message of practicing mindfulness was shrouded in heavy metaphysical language that read as if it was a long forgotten scripture hidden away in the Tibetan mountainside. For those who are new to mindfulness and spirituality, this book would be very hard to grasp. The essence of being present is basically non attachment to everything. Explaining how one can achieve this state was just as confusing as the explanation of the state itself. I personally do not feel this book is for the everyday person trying to achieve a calm state of peace. This book is for those who have experienced a spiritual awakening similar to the one the author experienced. Functioning from a place of neutrality is nearly impossible for the average person, and trying to achieve that state would be extremely frustrating as most of us do not have the self control that is needed to “turn off” our over-thinking, analytical programming . The heavy metaphysical descriptions of presence detracted from the message of why presence is important. The benefits of instant presence were lost throughout the entire book.
I would have appreciated a lighter approach to presence alongside the deep exploration of mindfulness. For instance, can we be present when we are observing our breath? When we are doing something we love? When we listen without judgement? More practical advice would have been helpful and would have turned this book from an incomprehensible manual to a more grounded approach at living. I appreciated the long discussion of the “I” and how when we become neutral observers of our thoughts and actions, we can achieve presence. This was profound but more step-by-step advice on how to accomplish this would have been great. The ‘Presence Pause’ at the end of each chapter was a clever idea but did not do a good job at breaking down the chapter it followed. I was hoping it would offer easier steps to achieve presence, but it was shrouded in just as much confusion as the chapter itself.
Overall this was a fantastic read that will transform the way you view yourself and life. Ironically Instant Presence is not something any of us will achieve instantly when we first read this book, it is more like Delayed Presence. This is a book we will have to read over and over again, in order to unlayer all of its messages and to decode its rich spiritual language.
If a real life guru accompanied this book, then I think instant presence would literally manifest.