Every day we are given the choice between two options; here and present. Now some people might say these words are synonymous with each other. I would have to disagree. The act of being "here" is being somewhere physically. The act of being "present" is being somewhere both physically and mentally.
I have now been on this earth for 20 years and this difference didn't occur to me until the other day at my job. As a camp counselor, you have to keep track of dozens of kids. To keep track of each child we use a technique that teachers across the world use, roll call. For those of you not familiar with this concept, roll call is when we read each child's name and they respond with any sound to alert us that they are with us.
Most kids will respond with "here," or "present" or any silly word they can think of. This is when the light bulb went off in my head. Sitting next to two tiny and sweaty kids, crammed in a bus with zero air conditioning. As the kids rattled off their responses I began calculating the difference between the words and what they meant.
As a kid in school, whenever we did roll call I always said "here". Now I wonder if I was really there or was I present in those moments. Once you start thinking about the past in this way your mind begins to jumble and you are left in a state of utter confusion. So, alas, here is sit, presently writing on my laptop, not very sure which state I'm truly in.
It is curious to think about words and how the more we think about them and pick them apart the more abstract they become to us. When in actuality we believe that by dissecting articles we gain a better understanding, in reality, we pull apart our existence and all we have come to know. What does this leave us with?
Rounding back to my beginning question of being here, and being present, how are we to know at each moment which is which? Today with our constant use of technology how can we truly ever be present in any moment going forward?
Go forth with this knowledge and think about each moment you spend. Decide if you want to be there in the place or be present.