1. Presence is defined by Benner as “…the awakening that calls us into engagement with some aspect of the present moment” (p. 2). Benner’s definition reminds me of the concept of “mindfulness.” I have a habit of wolfing down my lunch in-between clients. Slowing down might help me to see the beauty of the orange that God created.
2. “The sacred and the secular are one single fabric of life” (p.115). How often do I separate my life in church on Sunday from my driving when the person in front of me dawdles far below the speed limit?
3. As an older lady, one of my goals is to strip off my false self. When I arrive in heaven, I want God to know me as He created me. Benner says, “We become the fictions we live we during the first halves of our lives” (p.7). He confirmed the task for my second half of life.
4. “We will never hope to know the presence of God or other people until we can be with ourselves in stillness, openness, and attentiveness” (p. 29). I have a brain that goes a hundred miles an hour in many directions. I could be the poster child for multitasking. But, I have learned that the more time I spend in the quiet, just sitting on my porch or walking on the adjoining farm, the easier it is to quiet my mind and sense God’s presence.
5. Benner says “We need to relearn the natural human capacity for relating to the world through eyes of awe and wonder” (p. 31). I camped out on the word “relearn.” Didn’t Moses immediately see the burning bush? It makes me contemplate the world today and why we have to relearn this innate ability.
6. “Presence invites presence” (p. 72). Three simple but profound words. I have noticed, as a counselor, that when I am fully present to my client he/she suddenly engages in a fully present way as well. What a gift this is from one human to another.
Dr. David G. Benner is an internationally known depth psychologist, transformational coach, author, and lecturer whose life’s work has been directed toward helping people walk the human path in a deeply spiritual way and the spiritual path in a deeply human way. His passion and calling has been the understanding and pursuit of transformation – not merely healing or even growth, but the unfolding of the self associated with a journey of awakening.
Kathy Milans has experience as an elementary educator, teacher trainer, adjunct professor, and has served as Family Resource Director for a major hospital. Kathy is a Kentucky Licensed Pastoral Counselor and is credentialed as a Registered Play Therapist/Supervisor by the American Association of Play Therapy. She is owner of a private practice, Path of Life Ministry, in Wilmore, KY.