The difference between "being present" and "being"

suzi's picture

Average: 4.8 (22 votes)

It is important to make the difference between "being present" and "being".

Though they are not the same, many happen to confuse one with the other.

Being present is when our consciousness is in the here and now OF THE BODY rather than in the thoughts ("there and then"). Our "normal" state is unfortunately to be in the thoughts while our activity is governed by our automatic reactions patterns, our conditioned programming.

Being, on the other hand, is when one is a subject without objects, he just is, without any observation, without any activity both passive and active, without the external (that includes also the body). When one reaches being he realizes that this being is NOT here and now, it is not the presence of the body or in the body, and it is not anywhere else as well.

Two good ways to reach being are: Ramana's Self Enquiry and trying to be aware of being aware.

Again, the basic difference is that "being present" is in the body, presence in the here and now of the body, it still necessitates the identification with the body. "Being" is regardless of the body.

Being present leads to being.

When you reach the state of being, you step into the paranormal.

When you reach the state of being you truly realize that you are not the body. The realization is not as a concept or a favorable theory but is factual in experience.

When you reach the state of being, you experience oneness, you are a point in no dimension and everything is this point. At that stage, this oneness is not intellectual, it is factual in experience.

kulchnaui's picture

Layers of the onion


Being and presence in the body

Being and presence in the body and awareness through the body

kulchnaui | Tue, 12/08/2009 - 19:08
solomon's picture

Crucial distniction

Thank you suzi for that. 99% of seekers upon asking would not be able to tell this crucial difference. As a result people put effort and do it wrongly and in vain. For example Gurdjieff's presence or those who thing that Tolle's being in the here and now is being.

solomon | Wed, 12/09/2009 - 07:59
dora's picture

being and desires

When you are unconscious - you are attached to your desires and you may or may not see these desires.

When you are present - you see your desires clearly and unattached.

When you are in pure being, you are not attached to your desires and you are not seeing them, you are beyond them because you are beyond the body in that state.

dora | Wed, 12/09/2009 - 15:09
joy's picture


What happens when you return from being to being in the world?

Is there a residual effect of being in the state of being?

joy | Thu, 12/10/2009 - 17:54
carlito santo's picture

Same as with sleep

Same as when you return from deep sleep, when you wake up. Nothing apparent happens on the surface but within something changes and you will notice the signs - clear insights, noticing things in the stream of consciousness, happier state of mind, and more.

carlito santo | Fri, 12/11/2009 - 08:21
Tania's picture


Being is the deepest and purest meditation. Like with any other meditation, pure being, even for a short time, yields fruits - insights and out-of-the-box look.

But the main issue is the unique feeling when in being. Though there is hardly any analytical activity when in pure being, there is a clear realization that nothing perceived beyond being is actually you because in a snap of a finger, when you are in being, all these things disappear while you are still.

Tania | Sat, 12/12/2009 - 13:22
johnd | Wed, 12/09/2009 - 23:02
gentlyok's picture


I marvel in the perfection with which we have all been blessed. I am in awe that we can live a life in which we can discover the difference between being present and being. You have stated this with such clarity. The oneness of which you speak is an experience of endless love and a peace that can not be understood only experienced.
Only this love!

gentlyok | Sat, 12/12/2009 - 14:28
kalgo's picture

What do u think?

Common types of meditations - their purpose is more into being present or being?

kalgo | Sun, 12/13/2009 - 09:35
Quantum's picture

Stills the mind

Meditation seems to still the mind...reduces the number of thoughts to identify with. And the mind's thoughts are timebound. So there are fewer timebound thoughts to become identified with. So a still mind can make one more present.

The light of pure consciousness is filtered through the film strip of mental thoughts which projects external experiences. So, with fewer thoughts, more of pure consciouness flows unfiltered by the mind. More of Being shines through.

So, meditation leads to a still mind, which allows Being to flow through.

"Thoughts block the flow of cosmic energy" -Paramahansa Nithyananda.

Another method I'm only starting to experiment with is "detachment" via observing the mind. Observing the mind seems to free up consciousness from the mind. So, even if the mind is noisy and emotional and stressed and anxiety ridden, you've become detached and at peace, because somehow you--even if only momentarily--managed to detached long enough to abide in Being.

Quantum | Thu, 01/21/2010 - 05:13
zoya's picture

They come closer to presence

Unfortunately, many common meditations are not into any of these two. Some of them have the byproduct of being present but to a small extent and without being conscious to this presence aspect.

Common meditations concentrate on one level below - being aware of objects, mental and physical, conceptual and concerete. They do not let yet the distancing from the awareness to the objects and redirecting it to awareness of the very fact of being here and now.

But they come closer.

Very very few touch pure being itself, beyond even being present, just being.

zoya | Thu, 01/21/2010 - 05:42
luckyb52's picture

Brilliant post that bespeaks

Brilliant post that bespeaks of deep experience and wisdom. You're right about Ramana's method ("Who am I?"), it breaks your ego down like a jackhammer.

I must interview you for my website sometime, Suzi, will be in touch.

Lucky Balaraman
Happiness Coach


luckyb52 | Tue, 01/26/2010 - 12:29
suzi's picture

Thank you lucky, thank you

Thank you lucky, thank you all others for the elaboration and feedbacks.

suzi | Tue, 01/26/2010 - 15:43
PranaBeats's picture


Being present, being, not being, being in the past, being in the future...

Isn't being who we are? Isn't it our essence? Aren't we always being?

Being aware of the present moment, or being aware of being, or being aware of an emotion... Isn't it all awareness?

Isn't the mind telling us that being is better than being aware of the present?

How can being be wrong? How can awareness be wrong? How can we be wrong to confuse being and being in the present? We are only confused because we are not aware, but it is wrong?

If we are aware, there is no present, there is no body, there is just awareness.

I believe being is always there, whether we are aware of it or not.


"Trust allows you to navigate imagination beyond where shadows lie". Tony Samara

PranaBeats | Mon, 05/03/2010 - 16:28
Quantum's picture

You're words ring true...somehow.

They do. Specially when things are going fairly well.

Until I get mad, or ticked off, or some "upset" happens. And these things happen rather often. Then, all talk of being, peace, awareness, enlightenment turns to spinach.

What to do then things turn to spinach?

Quantum | Tue, 05/04/2010 - 04:53
PranaBeats's picture

Be real!

In my experience, the problem when we have negative emotions coming up is that we don't want them to be there.

When you get upset, it's OK to be upset, as long as you let that upsetness move to where it wants to go rather than project it onto what has triggered it.

This is a subtle difference and it is easy to do in practice if you put your clear intention into doing this.

For example, your partner hasn't washed the plate that you want to use right now and it's filthy in the sink with rests of food and you get disgusted and pissed off. Your first reaction is to move the blame towards your partner. "Why did he/she do that?" and you may even project that he or she did it on purpose to piss you off, which may or may not be true :P

But my point is that in that moment, you have a choice. You can choose where to point that emotion, that energy. You can breathe it into yourself, you can embrace it as being part of you. I don't believe you can get rid of it or push it away or make it disappear.

What you can do, in my opinion, is let it go.

What is letting go?

It is the opposite of holding on.

Simple :)

You don't need to think about awareness, being or enlightenment. Simply stop holding on. Trust the deeper knowledge inside of you.

Then a different presence manifests itself.

In one of his recent Satsangs, Tony Samara explained this much more profoundly than I ever could. You can find a recording of it on and look for the 24th of March one but feel free to explore any other ones :)


"Trust allows you to navigate imagination beyond where shadows lie". Tony Samara

PranaBeats | Tue, 05/04/2010 - 06:02
Quantum's picture

"Then a different presence manifests itself."

I'd rather use the phrase...

"Then you can cool down a bit."

Less "esoteric" and less "yogi-ish."

Quantum | Wed, 05/05/2010 - 02:40
PranaBeats's picture

It's not cooling down :)

The reason why I say it is because I experience a different presence actually manifesting itself :) This only happens, once we have relaxed or cooled down.

It's not esoteric but it is a form of yoga in the sense that it it a form of union, yes... So if it sounds yogi-ish, then it's correct!


"Trust allows you to navigate imagination beyond where shadows lie". Tony Samara

PranaBeats | Wed, 05/05/2010 - 05:31
Quantum's picture

I'll respect that....

...because myself get into (.....) that if I were to discuss might sound (.....).

But as for post about "Being Real", you invite my left brain to respond. So here goes.

Get real, broh. Here is what you do:

1) Go to your partner and say, "Wash that dish."

That's it. Simple as that.

And, learn from a very great power. If diplomacy doesn't work, then use violence.

If you are bigger, stronger, you can apply violence succesfully and you can get your way. Learn from history.

If you are are unlikely to get your way through force, there are other more subtle ways that will depend on your capabilities and where you are in the relationship.

No point listing them all. right brain wants to speak:

You seem in touch with aspects that I admire. I need some answers. Are you at a level where you can answer all questions?


Quantum | Wed, 05/05/2010 - 05:57
Quantum's picture

sorry about that...

..that was my negativity (and ego) shining thru again. Apparently I still have issues. I thought being aware we had issues made them go away. Maybe I need to keep digging deeper into my subconscious to find out what they are, where they came from, and who put them there.

I'll keep working on myself in this lifetime, so as not to have to bring any issues into the next incarnation to have to deal with there.

Peace broh. Keep up the energy your bring here.

Quantum again.

Quantum | Wed, 05/05/2010 - 06:25
PranaBeats's picture



No offense taken :) I can answer any question of course, but that doesn't mean it's the right answer for you! I'm happy to try to help in the best way I can.

Regarding reincarnation... I don't believe it works that way but that's a whole other discussion. I think I posted something very brief about it in some other thread.



"Trust allows you to navigate imagination beyond where shadows lie". Tony Samara

PranaBeats | Wed, 05/05/2010 - 06:59
Quantum's picture

No problem...

sometimes even a observing a falling leaf sometimes leads to insights.

It's surprising what insights can come from what others say, even if they are not aware of the wisdom in their own words.

A "little" problem I have is that electronic things keep breaking everytime I get mad. Things break all the time, it's the nature of things to break down, but the things, and they seem to be electronic in nature, that break down seem to always coincide with when I'm upset or stressed, or running late.

Any solutions to neutralizing this raw power?

Quantum | Wed, 05/05/2010 - 15:05
PranaBeats's picture

The same :)


I believe the problem isn't that electronics pop around you :) In my opinion the issue is that you get stressed or upset in the first place. If you create awareness, then this energy becomes available to you in a different way.

I used to have this happen to me some years ago too. I would try to find a way to control this power because I thought it made me... well... powerful. The ego likes to think it has the power of destroying things.

Then I had a realisation. It's not the power that counts, it's the awareness of it.

The process to awareness remains the same, be real, breathe, take one second to take a step back from the situation. In my experience, this subtle, delicate and tiny difference is the first step into a whole different dimension.

In our modern culture, we only look for WOW! moments. But the subtle, small ones are the ones that change our lives. WOW moments are only the result of these subtle ones :)


"Trust allows you to navigate imagination beyond where shadows lie". Tony Samara

PranaBeats | Thu, 05/06/2010 - 07:52
Quantum's picture

Thanks for sharing

"I used to have this happen to me some years ago too. I would try to find a way to control this power because I thought it made me... well... powerful. The ego likes to think it has the power of destroying things."

Glad I'm not the only one.

The main difference is that, my main motive is not so much to control this strange "Power" to wield it like some character from that thought has fleetingly passed through my consciousness.

My main goal is to stop it because the repair bills to our appliances are expensive, and the incoveniences are inconvenient.

The most recent thing that "poppsed" was my remote to the car. I was running late to meditation class. Jumped out of the car at 6:29. Classroom door locks at 6:30PM, hit the button, and ...nothing.

I thought "Gads! This will cost me 2 minutes." Anway, I fiddged with it and rand to the bathroom, then class.. and fortunately they were 1 minute late in closing the door, so I made it in to by sheer luck.

The energy I brought with me seemed to have somewhat afffected the instructor, though he probably wasn't aware of it. But I was. I felt like apologizing, but rather allowed myself to be amused by how one's energy can affect others in a subliminal way, even if they are not aware you are there.

Quantum | Thu, 05/06/2010 - 17:13
Quantum | Thu, 05/06/2010 - 17:38
barbara's picture


Is it my lucky day? I came here across two posts that are among the few best spiritual ones I have ever read.

When you read this differentiation you ask yourself how come I haven't noticed it?, it is so obvious! Yet, so many writers and gurus confuse the being with the being present, actually most of the gurus confuse theme and so it takes some clear and firm voice to actually change your wrong perception.

I think this clarification explains why most of those who try to practice the Here & Now of Eckhart Tolle do not really succeed and abandon this important practice after some time. Being here and now needs artificial effort, the correct instruction should be: Be!

barbara | Mon, 12/13/2010 - 08:34
lagrima's picture

The terrible mistake of Eckhart Tolle

I'm so glad I encountered this important post. I've seen this terrible mistake in me in the past and in others of idealizing the concept of being present while it really means at the end of the day that the mind is being present.

This is the most terrible error of Eckhart Tolle who preaches to be in the here and now and so that which can be here and now is no other than the mind which only gets stronger. This is the reason why there is no evolution of consciousness in the followers of Eckhart Tolle although his other approaches are very helpful (e.g. inner body) but apparently not enough.

Being as opposed to being present is more sublime, is completely effortless (if you introduce even a bit of effort than the mind gets back into the picture), it is quiet and appears to be insignificant and plain. It is just a tiny spark in consciousness. Search for it softly and follow it. And beware of the "being present here and now".

lagrima | Sat, 04/23/2011 - 08:03
Quantum's picture


Can you cite the page where Tolle actually says that being present is the same as Being?

My understanding from reading Tolle,is that the Now is just a portal, not Being. Sort of like a "Transporter" to Being. Or an "Exit" out of the Highway of the mind into a calmer place where Being can be ...experienced/felt/sence/known/realized. It's just a stepping stone. A bride. A link.

Just like the Innerbody is not God (although, in a sence, EVERYTHING Is God), but feeling it, quits the mind, stops thinking, and Being Still, one is able to experience God. But, stillness itself is Not God (though again, EVERYTHING is God, i.e. "Split a stone and I AM there", etc.)

The Now, Gaps is thinking, Inner Body Awareness: THese are just signposts, portals. Just Transporters to the Enterprise, not the enterprise itself. Just fingers pointing at the Moon, not the moon itself.

Don't get hung up on the signposts, not that to which they point.

"The Word Honey is not the actual HOney". the letters "H-O-N-E-Y" are constitute just a 5 letter word. That which I put on my bisquits can be called by another name, but still be just as sweet. The object is not the word that labels it. The label is separate from the object.

And so on.

Don't confuse the portals with that to which the Portals can take you.

Quantum | Sun, 04/24/2011 - 06:22
shira's picture

It is all over, Tolle

It is all over, Tolle instructs to be in the **here and now**. "Here" is obviously where the body is otherwise the "here" would not have any meaning in that context and would have been omitted.

The path to pure being is different and sois the intention - if one aims at being and actually tries to be present, a friction will take place.

shira | Mon, 09/24/2012 - 15:57
Quantum's picture

Present, Now

Somehow when I read and re-read Tolle, I never got the sense that he was talking about being "Present" strictly in reference to a location in space, as in being present in class during roll call. I always assumed he was referring more to the present moment in terms of time, between past and future, as in the mind not being lost in thoughts about the past or the future. He seemed to be pointing to Big Mind unobscured by thoughts, like a calm reflecting pool, clearly reflecting reality without obstructions. It seemed like he was pointing to some eternal present moment, like the now, which I think he said is all there is.

When I read Tolle, I pick up more on the time (or timeless) dimension than on the spatial element. Without time, there is no spatial dimension. It takes time to get from point A to point B. Except in the spiritual dimension where there is no time and no space. So, in some strange semantical way that seems to touch on physics, he seems to be pointing to some spiritual dimension.

But, too many words can get very confusing very quickly, like what happens when I try to understand some of the longer posts.

That's what comes to mind, anyway. But what do I know? I have a beginners mind.

Quantum | Sat, 04/12/2014 - 06:22