I’ve read a lot of spiritual books, but none like the Presence Process by Michael Brown.  The bookshelves are stuffed with self-help books that claim to offer you everything from money, to power, to fame.  This is not one of them.

All these false methods lead to the same place inevitably, which is right back where you started.  They’d have you think that you can just visualize, think and grow rich, focus on the future and the universe will be your cash register, ready to give you a Ferrari and a mansion.  The Secret anyone?  It’s all bullshit.  But if you want to keep reading the books, then buying the DVDs, then buying some training by the teacher, then checking out some of his seminars, be my guest.  Eventually you wake up and realize nothing has changed, because you were vulnerable and these books took advantage of your desire for safety and security and balance and power and happiness.   Don’t feel bad though.  The path to enlightenment is littered with false starts.  The good thing is, it’s all part of the process.  Just beware of enlightened men selling things.

What I love about the Presence Process is that the book and the author seem to have no hidden agenda, no pay-to-join website, no seminars, no DVDs.  All Michael Brown has is a simple website, that looks like it was designed in the late 80s.  Nothing fancy here.  In fact, you can ignore it completely.

This book helps you understand that nobody is coming to save you.  There is no teacher, no book, no priest, no seminar that you need.  You just need patience and yourself.  No ingredients required.  As the great Kung Fu Panda said, “there is no secret ingredient.”  Nobody is going to do the work for you.  Only you can do it for yourself.

I’ve only seen or read a few people that I consider truly enlightened.  I can count them on my fingers: Echart Tolle, Osho and Sri Nisargadatta.  Tolle is famous for his book The Power of Now. Osho was a unique guru with a fantastic sense of humor.  You can Google up any of hundreds of Osho’s talks.  He’s hilarious and hypnotic and a true iconoclast.  He sports a guru beard and a diamond watch to show it’s all one.  He never wrote anything down, but his followers recorded him obsessively and turned many of his daily talks into books.  They’re all over the net.  Nisargadatta is another guru who didn’t write either.  His followers did record his words though and turned them into books, the most famous being I Am That.  The truly enlightened are wary of words for good reason.  Unfortunately, as a writer, I find this ironic, since much of my spiritual work lead me here.  But words can easily be twisted and warped.  They are products of the mind and the mind is actually the problem.

The Presence Process is unique, because it provides a gentle process of meditation for fifteen minutes twice a day for ten weeks.  The other authors/teachers I mentioned don’t write anything down or provide a method because once you are enlightened you realize there is no where to go, no special method, nothing to achieve, nothing to think about.  You live a life saturated with meaning instead of looking for it.  So they tell you, you don’t need any meditation, or long walks, or retreats.  They’re right.  Brown would agree.  Yet, they forget they had to go through all that to reject it.  We still struggling to get there, could use a little flashlight to guide us.

The Presence Process gives you a light framework to accelerate the journey.  There is no learning curve, no million dollars at the end, just a clear understanding of the root causes of your problems.  You see, the problem is your mind.  It never shuts up.  It spends all its time obsessing about the past or projecting into the future.  That causes you to miss the present moment.  You never experience what is right in front of you.  You spend all your life fighting imaginary battles in your head or thinking that if you can just get somewhere else, it will be all right.  It won’t be.  There is no future you can get to that will make it okay.  There is only the now. You see the mind’s only job is to solve problems and when it has none to solve, it invents them.  So you think about the guy who cut you off, how your boss doesn’t like you, how your spouse is always attacking you.  None of it is real.  It’s like a video game that you’re constantly playing in your mind, but none of it is actually happening.  Seriously.  The answer is to just drop all of this.  The Presence Process guides you there, like no other book.

The process is gentle and it works.  I’ve given it to dozens of people.  Most don’t buy the book or if they do, they just read it and don’t do the work.  That’s fine.  A few do and it’s changed their lives as much as it’s changed mine.  I hope it changes yours too.