Presence Meditation

The following is a guidance page for the Elephant Journal article on “Presence Meditation”.

The Complete Presence Meditation Exercise

The exercise is done while sitting in a straight backed chair or meditation cushion with spine straight, the  hands palm down on your lap, or knees, and the feet flat on the floor if sitting on a chair. Across the room, 6 to 8 feet away, arrange for a plant to sit, so that part of the plant is at exactly eye level in front of you. Perhaps you may want to look out a window at a tree.

While listening to a piece of music, look at a specific spot on the plant which is at eye level.  At the same time pay attention to your peripheral vision, expanding your attention as far as possible to the sides, above and below. Optionally at the same time pay attention to the space eight inches or so above your head,  getting a sense of “seeing” from there.

Maintain all these areas of visual attention at once while relaxing and enjoying 5 minutes or so of the music. Do not strain to do it, just try gently to maintain the awareness of everything in the visual field at once. This will become easier with few sessions of practice.

Allow yourself to blink freely, as part of relaxing. If thoughts come, gently let them go, and return to the vision awareness. Just relax and enjoy the music totally while also remaining attentive to the whole visual field.

When the short piece of music is finished, continue paying attention to the visual field in silence for a few minutes and gently drift into your standard daily silent meditation practice.

That’s all there is to it!

A variant method for groups involves sitting in a circle and looking between the people across from you. This led to a remarkable feeling of energy or “Presence” that was shared by the group and it is where the name came from. I ran a few small group workshops for Quakers in BC and Ontario. Canadian Quakers rely on meditation as their main spiritual practice. Almost everyone found that the Presence Meditation tool made silent meditation effortless.


Below are also some youtube recommended music selections. These are only a few samples. You may prefer to hear other work by Mozart, Paganini or Chopin. These were actual examples used in a Presence Meditation workshop that I attended.

Watch “Guitar and Violin Duet – Cantabile, Nicolo Paganini (1782-1840)” on YouTube

Watch “Chopin – Nocturne op.9 No.2” on YouTube

Watch “Cecilia Bartoli, Mozart, “Laudate dominum”” on YouTube

Below you will see a link which covers a lot of the history of Martin Muller and his work including visits to London Ontario. I missed these events and had to visit him at his home in Del Mar California.

Click here to read more about Martin Muller and his work.