The Unlimited Journey into Present-Moment Awareness

Interview with David Ord, Editorial Director of Namaste. “The Presence Process” book, a journey into present-moment awareness.
Author: Paulina Amador

The Presence Process a book written by Michael Brown, came to me as a “messenger” from a close friend. Prior to reading the book, and after I had already made the decision I was going to buy the book and read it, I started to have very vivid dreams of my childhood. The dreams were clear and played out times of my life that were meaningful and had completely forgot about. Every time I would wake up, I had an “Aha” moment of great understanding. The experiences were of past times, but what was interesting was that the dreams were like a clear arrow pointing to what was happening in my life now, not back then. What seemed foggy and unresolved started to become clear in my mind and in my emotions. Soon after that, I started reading The Presence Process and realized I was already within the process before I even began to read the book itself. I appreciated the deep insights and took on the journey. So far it has revealed so much depth and understanding of who I am now, and why I reacted to specific situations that caused drama in my life, and this moment they are no longer important; that is incredible. It is as if the phantoms of the past are no longer haunting me or I am no longer interested on what was. What has become more prominent is what I choose now. It is never about somebody else, it is always about which lenses we choose to look through at the world. It takes presence to reach beyond our borders.

David Ord

Michael speaks about presence as a state that we are all a part off, a common place that we can all share — I loved that concept. I then decided that I wanted to share what I had learned so far, and contemplated that if we can all be a little bit more present in our life, what a different world we could create. I then went on looking for a way to contact Michael. I couldn’t find any specific information to connect with him. I researched further and found out that his publishing house is Namaste and David Ord his representative. David suggested being Michael’s spokesperson, to my surprise he had an amazing amount of knowledge and experiences to share with us.

David Ord is not only the editorial director of Namaste but also the author of the recently published book, The Coming Interspiritual Age, the first synthesis of interspirituality with the writings of integral leaders, such as Ken Wilber and Don Beck.

While serving as a minister in the Greater New Orleans area, their newly completed church building was hit by Hurricane Katrina. In the wake of the events that followed the hurricane, he was hit with severe PTSD. He saw several professionals, all of whom said he was basically stuck with PTSD for the rest of his life.

David delved into Michael Brown’s work, The Presence Process, and applied and put himself to the test with his body, mind and Spirit. Not knowing where his life was heading, he faithfully took an unknown journey only to find a miraculous sense of well-being. The adventures of presence not only healed his “incurable” condition, but also changed his entire life in a profound level.

The wisdom that Michael Brown discovered can be revealed for each and every one of us in a unique understanding, once we choose to take on the journey of presence.

SuperConsciousness Magazine spoke with David Ord about how the application of The Presence Process changed his life’s destiny, and spoke to us on behalf of Michael Brown’s work.


SuperConsciousness: Can you share your story of why you chose to take “The Journey into the Present-Moment Awareness”?

David Ord: I had been steeped in Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, Stillness Speaks, and A New Earth for a few years when, serving as a minister in the Greater New Orleans area, our newly completed church building was hit by Hurricane Katrina. In the wake of the events that followed the hurricane, I was hit with severe PTSD. I could barely get from one moment to the next, so extreme was the pain, not least of which was a physical burning sensation in my chest from a highly acidic imbalance throughout my digestive system. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t even put a toothbrush in my mouth without retching. I lost 30 pounds in a couple of weeks and simply had no appetite.

When I sought professional help, I was told that while the symptoms would lessen to some degree over time, I was basically stuck with PTSD for the rest of my life. I saw several professionals, all of whom offered the same dismal future.

It so happened that I had begun working for Namaste Publishing, original publishers of Eckhart Tolle. Constance Kellough, the President, rushed me a copy of a book she said would help me, The Presence Process. I looked through the book, saw it was about breathing, and concluded, “Breathing? I’ve tried all that meditation stuff. How could that possibly help in such an extreme situation?”

Desperation has its ways. A couple of weeks later, I opened the book and began reading. By the time I was through, I knew I had come across something so utterly different from any other approach, whether psychological or meditational, I had ever been exposed to. I had studied psychology, gone through protocols such as primal scream and cognitive therapy, and been a pastoral counselor for 25 years myself. But I recognized Michael Brown’s approach was entirely different from any of these.

I began the process. Within two weeks, I experienced a 95% reduction in symptoms and my life was returning to normal. To say the least, I was amazed.

SC: Can you briefly describe what the “Presence Process” is? So the people who aren’t familiar with the book can have a glimpse.

DO: The Presence Process is, above all else, experiential. While the mind is used to understand and thereby navigate our way through the process, the process itself happens at an experiential level that brings to our conscious awareness those deep unresolved emotional forces from childhood that have been driving us.

The Presence Process is a ten-week process with a different theme each week, the one week building on the other. The point is to develop present-moment awareness, coupled with willpower, so that we can truly pilot our lives from this point on instead of flying blind as so many of us do.

SC: It seems to me that many books aspire to be a tool to impact people’s lives in a beneficial manner, but they don’t succeed because the words are not filled with resonance, or the author is only talking about themselves and are disconnected. It appears that the Presence Process is real and dynamic as it reveals itself from its source, and not from the author’s accomplishments. Why is that such an important aspect of The Presence Process?

DO: Everything in our universe is interconnected, instantly so, as science now shows us. This is something I had personal experience of while doing The Presence Process. During the process, you become aware that situations in your everyday life are aligning themselves to draw your attention to whatever lesson each of the ten weeks of the process is introducing you to.

At home, at work, and in your social life, circumstances come together in the most amazing ways, seeking to get your attention. Michael Brown calls them “messengers.” No one who honestly engages in this process, shifting their focus from week to week as Michael directs, can conclude that the way life emphasizes the lesson of each of the ten weeks is coincidental.

The Presence Process is a ten-week process with a different theme each week, the one week building on the other. The point is to develop present-moment awareness, coupled with willpower, so that we can truly pilot our lives from this point on instead of flying blind as so many of us do.

The process will offer to “take you and shape you,” as it were. But I use the word “offer” intentionally. It will not strong-arm you. Rather, it will invite you to become aware of what you do, why you do it, and how you can do things differently. You will become aware of how much of what you think, say, and do is governed by an emotional charge from the past. This emotional charge is trapped energy, stuck in outmoded patterns of behavior. The energy needs to be freed up and integrated into our lives to empower us to meet the challenges of this moment right now.

In this way, The Presence Process equips us to make conscious decisions and exercise our willpower to carry them out. While The Presence Process invites us to shift from “doing” to “being,” be assured that there’s nothing passive about this. It propels you into action, but from a place of peace and calmness, not from the usual “driven” mentality of an emotional charge.

Conscious action carries no charge with it. Instead, it simply flows. You can always know whether you are acting consciously or from past programming by checking with yourself to see if you are feeling a charge.

SC: What would you say gave you the trust to rely on your inner presence work, instead of external conditions?

DO: The Presence Process is neither exclusively internal nor exclusively external, but uses the whole of life to heighten our awareness. In other words, it’s a thoroughly holistic process. It uses the mind, the body, the emotions, and the heart (feeling, as opposed to emotion charge), coupled with everything in our social and work worlds, to show us that our external reality is in so very many ways a mirror of our internal emotional state.

The Presence Process invites us to shift from “doing” to “being,” be assured that there’s nothing passive about this. It propels you into action, but from a place of peace and calmness, not from the usual “driven” mentality of an emotional charge.

During The Presence Process, everything in our experience comes together to awaken us to how we are being driven by unconscious emotions we have never resolved. So the external world acts as a mirror, sending us messengers in the form of people and events, showing us what we haven’t dealt with from our past. This is why nothing is to be resisted, but to be received gratefully and digested.

Conscious action carries no charge with it. Instead, it simply flows.

SC: What do you perceive removed the need to react versus making the choice to respond, and still respond truthfully, without having to repress your emotion.

DO: There is a vast difference between emotional reactivity and authentic feeling. Consider a husband and wife who go out for a romantic evening, anticipating a passionate time when they return home. But on the way home, a discussion arises about whether the children will go to private or public school next year. An argument ensues, and now he is on his side of the bed and she is on hers. The emotional reaction is one of hurt and distance. But what is the feeling? Beneath the emotion, if you pay attention, you will discover that the feeling is one of wanting to connect — wishing you could reach out, or that your spouse would reach out, while also knowing you would react and push them away if they did!

The Presence Process causes us to become aware of the fact we are reacting, while also acquainting us with what we are truly feeling. As we increase in present-moment awareness, we realize that we are reacting, and we intervene in the reaction. We exercise willpower to stop the reaction and then choose to respond in an appropriate manner.

Emotional reactions aren’t honestly how we feel. They eclipse our true feelings. For instance, anger is often considered something we need to express. The idea used to be that it was like a volcano, building up force, and needed to be released. But we have learned that the model is incorrect. Anger is like a muscle: the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. I know from experience, because this happened to me in primal scream therapy. I thought I had exhausted my anger, only to discover that when the exhaustion passed, the anger had been reinforced.

There is a difference between venting, suppressing, and feeling. When we vent, we are acting unconsciously — which is why someone in a rage can even kill another person, then wonder how on earth it happened. Anger, when vented, becomes blind. Suppressing isn’t healthy either, because it will come out in damage to our health. Putting a lid on it simply harms us.

What needs to happen is that we feel the emotion, observing it. Feeling is different from venting or suppressing. With feeling, you are empowered to use your head instead of losing your head. You respond in an appropriate way instead of reacting. When you lose your head, you are no longer true to who you are.

SC: Why does taking full responsibility and showing up in our life have such a life-changing effect in the quality of our life?

DO: Most people are living lives that aren’t in alignment with their center, aren’t in alignment with what they really want for their lives. All of us were programmed as children to act a part that’s not authentic. The Presence Process invites us to discover the ways we have been programmed by family and society, then to shed our false sense of self and begin living from our authentic center.

Life itself now becomes our teacher, opening the doors for us at just the right time, inviting us to know ourselves as far more than we have ever imagined. As we learn to choose what we truly want, which always connects lovingly with the big picture, we find the anxiety leaving our lives. We automatically discover that we are inherently peaceful. This peace now spills over and spreads out into our everyday world.

The Presence Process invites us to discover the ways we have been programmed by family and society, then to shed our false sense of self and begin living from our authentic center.

SC: Can you talk about the AND consciousness or DNA? And how it connects us to a multidimensional experience?

DO: Many who begin on a spiritual path have a tendency to buy into an ancient philosophy known as dualism. Dualism was a teaching heavily promoted by the first and second century Gnostics. In this view Spirit was good, whereas flesh was inferior, even evil — in some schools of thought, the creation of an inferior God, called a demiurge.

The problem with dualism is that it splits our reality, sundering it into that which is “spiritual” and that which is merely “material.” So the spiritual path becomes one of trying to escape the physical reality we are experiencing. It constitutes a denial of the body, a denial of what our DNA has made us.

This creates a false dichotomy — a division that has run through religions both East and West from time immemorial, and that persists today in New Age just as much as in the traditional religions. It’s why so many were drawn into the 2012 idea of the “end of the world.” People want to escape reality.

The Presence Process doesn’t divide reality in a dualistic way. In fact, it recognizes that there is no such thing as dualism other than as a mental concept. Take a look at the world around you—where do you see black and white? You don’t. Very, very little is black and white. Most of reality is colors and shades in between the extremes of black and white. If you taste something, is it bitter or sweet? Well, there are countless stages of bitter and sweet, and the art of good culinary skill is to be able to come up with just the right degree of tartness and sweetness for a particular dish. The same is true of soft or hard. What is soft, and what is hard? Perhaps a diamond is about as hard as something gets. But the reality is that softness and hardness exist on a continuum, with all kinds of gradations in between. Most things are neither extremely hard like a diamond nor extremely soft. The world is multiple shades, multiple flavors, a vast array of variety, not one extreme or the other — it isn’t a dualistic world.

The Presence Process isn’t about escaping our material reality for a supposed “spiritual” experience in some other reality, which is what most “spiritual” people are trying to do and most religion focuses on. It’s about embracing everything. Our DNA is part of a whole fabric of existence, and our potential is about bringing the whole of our potential alive. DNA, emotional, heart, the mental, are all part of a single fabric, and we are invited to embrace the whole of it. In other words, we transcend our present quality of life not by rejecting our physical aspects — our DNA — but by including all of life. As Michael puts it, we live in a world of “AND”, not a world of opposites from which we must select one or the other, as many “spiritual paths” have so often advocated.

To be spiritual isn’t to escape our DNA, our physical circumstances. It’s to embrace our physicality in its fullness — to see life as a whole. To have what St Paul called, “The mind of the flesh” has nothing to do with rejecting our physical makeup, as has been wrongly thought for centuries. On the contrary, “the mind of the flesh,” as St Paul understood it is to imagine that all we are is material beings — or that all we are is Spirit beings housed in fleshly bodies. In truth, we are Spirit expressing as flesh.

The Presence Process isn’t about escaping our material reality for a supposed “spiritual” experience in some other reality, which is what most “spiritual” people are trying to do and most religion focuses on. It’s about embracing everything. Our DNA is part of a whole fabric of existence, and our potential is about bringing the whole of our potential alive. DNA, emotional, heart, the mental, are all part of a single fabric, and we are invited to embrace the whole of it.

This is fundamentally different from being a Spirit inhabiting a body. The idea of a Spirit inhabiting a body doesn’t unite our being but separates our DNA from the “AND” of our essence. Spirit expressing as flesh — the Infinite manifesting as finite beings — is inclusive, not dualistic.

Spirit — which is an ancient word for “consciousness” — isn’t all that I am. Matter isn’t all that I am; that’s “the mind of the flesh,” a purely surface way of looking at life. To be what St Paul calls “spiritually minded” means that we integrate mind, body, emotion, heart (feeling). This is what it is to be “conscious.”

Michael Brown

SC: If everything we seek already found us, and is available within us, what does it take to actually manifest that new miraculous conscious experience?

DO: Life is a process of drawing out our potential. In the last week of The Presence Process, the theme is, “I appreciate what I am.” Michael shows that there are two meanings for the word appreciate, the second being like stocks or investments that appreciate in value. We are each like a seed, a unique finite expression of the Infinite. The seed contains all that we will become in terms of our potential, but it is only when it’s planted in the ground, taking in the nutrients, receiving sunshine and rain, that this potential begins to emerge.

That which “grows” us in life is our experiences. Life has an amazing way of sending us just the right nutrition to feed the seed and to nourish the growing plant all the way into full bloom. The more conscious we become, the more we can use the nutrition to our highest benefit, instead of having to recycle again and again through the same issues before we “get” what life is asking of us.

Life is a process of drawing out our potential. In the last week of The Presence Process, the theme is, “I appreciate what I am.”

SC: During my research I came across an interview with Michael where he states that: “Evolution is going to a place where we are able to move mountains but knowing that the mountains are in the right place. This place is a paradoxical place because as you gain this connection with the source of all, but you also allow the erosion of your experience to allow for things to be as they are. It’s a simultaneous experience”. Can you tell us your understanding of this statement?

DO: Life sends us what we require, not necessarily what we imagine we want at a particular time. As long as we are immature, we imagine ourselves living these “super powerful miraculous lives” that are so very different from our present life.

What The Presence Process does is introduce us to the fact that the whole of our life, exactly as it is right now, is a miracle. Once we realize this — which is what awakening is all about — then every aspect of every day becomes truly welcomed as necessary.

When Jesus made the statement about having faith the size of a mustard seed and being able to “say to this mountain, be cast into the sea,” he had a particular mountain in mind. In fact, in one of the gospels he was looking right at it. It was the Temple Mount. What he was saying is that the entire legalistic, moralistic way of living of religion, which in those days revolved around the Jerusalem temple on the Temple Mount, is being replaced by faith. He’s saying, “Once you learn to trust yourself, living from your inner being, you can forget about all those religious laws and rules and regulations by which people live their lives. You will always know the loving thing to do, spontaneously and quite naturally, because you are being authentic.”

The result is that although we are connected to the Infinite Source of everything, we are totally content to live in our finite experience just as it is. A change in the quality of our experience comes not by working some supernatural miracle, but by appreciating the gradual process of evolution, by which events and circumstances draw out more of our inherent love, joy, and peace.

What The Presence Process does is introduce us to the fact that the whole of our life, exactly as it is right now, is a miracle. Once we realize this — which is what awakening is all about — then every aspect of every day becomes truly welcomed as necessary.

With The Presence Process, our focus shifts from discontent with our lives and trying to change them, which is what just about everyone is doing, to being present in our lives each moment — and then change has a way of coming about quite naturally, one step at a time.

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