Meditation is often perceived as a structured practice involving specific techniques and disciplines. However, insights from various spiritual teachers reveal a deeper, more profound understanding of meditation that transcends conventional methods. This essay explores the essence of meditation as articulated by Nisargadatta Maharaj, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche (KPSR), Khetsun Sangpo Rinpoche, Tulku Tsulo, and Longchenpa. Their teachings emphasize the importance of recognizing the true nature of the mind and cultivating a sense of pure presence. By integrating these insights, we can transform meditation into a continuous, lived experience that enriches every moment of our lives. Additionally, we will see how Brother Lawrence’s Christian perspective on “practicing the presence” aligns and complements these teachings.

Pure Presence in Meditation

Nisargadatta Maharaj advises that meditation should not be viewed as an individual sitting with a technique but as a focus on the sense of presence without words. He suggests that the essence of meditation lies in the conscious presence and the conviction of one’s existence. This perspective shifts the emphasis from doing meditation to simply being in a state of awareness.

Similarly, Tulku Tsulo asserts that familiarizing ourselves with pure presence is superior to any religious practice. This notion of pure presence, which transcends structured rituals and techniques, encourages practitioners to cultivate a deep, intrinsic awareness in every moment.

Recognizing the Nature of the Mind

Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche (KPSR) underscores that meditation involves continuously recognizing the nature of the mind as a way of life. This practice of self-awareness, self-recognition, and self-realization requires maintaining the insights gained through investigation and analysis with courage, commitment, and confidence. According to KPSR, directly experiencing the true nature of the mind leads to profound self-awareness, which must be upheld in daily life.

Khetsun Sangpo Rinpoche further elaborates that pristine wisdom does not arise from the mind but from the clear light nature, which is the mode of subsistence of the mind. This understanding points to the idea that true wisdom and insight are intrinsic to the nature of the mind itself, beyond conceptual thinking.

Meditation as Familiarization

Longchenpa introduces the concept of familiarization as an integral part of meditation. He suggests that rather than focusing on meditation as a discrete practice, one should aim to familiarize oneself with the pure presence or intrinsic awareness. If this familiarization becomes habitual, it transforms into supreme meditation. This perspective highlights the importance of integrating meditative awareness into every aspect of life.

The notion of Rigpa, often translated as pure presence, aligns with this understanding. Familiarizing oneself with Rigpa involves recognizing and maintaining a state of awareness that transcends ordinary thinking and conceptualization.

The Practice of Presence in Christian Tradition

Complementing these Eastern perspectives, Brother Lawrence, a 17th-century Carmelite monk, provides a Christian viewpoint on cultivating presence. In his classic work, “The Practice of the Presence of God,” Brother Lawrence emphasizes the importance of maintaining an ongoing, informal conversation with God throughout daily activities. His teachings align with the concept of integrating awareness into all moments of life, underscoring that spirituality is not confined to specific practices or rituals but is woven into the fabric of everyday existence.

Brother Lawrence’s approach to practicing presence resonates with the teachings of Nisargadatta Maharaj, KPSR, Khetsun Sangpo Rinpoche, Tulku Tsulo, and Longchenpa. All these perspectives advocate for a continuous engagement with the essence of being and the nature of the mind, whether through the lens of meditative awareness or through a constant, mindful relationship with the divine.


The teachings of these spiritual masters collectively offer a transformative understanding of meditation. They guide us to move beyond structured practices and techniques, encouraging us to embrace the continuous, lived experience of recognizing the true nature of the mind and cultivating pure presence. By integrating these insights into our daily lives, we can transform meditation from a discrete activity into an enriching, ever-present awareness that enhances our existence. Embracing pure presence allows us to experience the true essence of meditation, fostering a deeper connection with ourselves, the world around us, and, as Brother Lawrence suggests, with the divine presence in every moment.