Profit with Presence
Mindful Leadership Blog

Consciousness, Awareness, and Spirit: The Three Key Elements that Give Presence Meaning

Jun 07, 2023

Presence is typically defined as the state of existing, or being, and being present in the moment. Presence has many layers, like an onion, and it encompasses:

  • States of consciousness: being awake and aware of one’s surroundings
  • Awareness: the knowledge or perception of a situation or fact
  • Spirit, aka the Soul: the nonphysical part of a person that is the seat of emotions or character

Differentiating the terms “consciousness,” “awareness,” and “spirit” can be tricky. Carl Jung used spirit as analogous to consciousness, but consciousness and awareness are also often used interchangeably.


The main distinction adopted here is they all possess the power of recollection and self-reflection, and their opposites do not. This implies that we are possibly always conscious, just not always able to immediately recall or reflect on the experience.


When I use the word Presence with a capital P, it represents being in the moment (or the now), being conscious, and being fully aware of our internal state and external surroundings. It also communicates being with spirit, being meta-conscious, and specifically includes being aware that you are aware.


Other words or concepts often used interchangeably with Presence are:

  • Being in the zone
  • Being in flow
  • Being in the gap


Presence is used to represent this entire category of experience in which we can recall or reflect on our experiences.


I don’t find it critical to mindfulness work to understand the subtle differences between consciousness, awareness, and spirit in most instances. A general understanding can teach you what Presence can bring in the way of peace and joy to your life.


The benefits of Presence go far beyond the psyche

We have adapted to this fast-paced world by not focusing specifically on every little thing, because humans are not capable of focusing on multiple stimuli at the same time. Multitasking causes our minds to skip from one thing to another, never fully integrating any of the information. We have sacrificed depth to take in the breadth of what is coming at us.


Each of us needs to take back our focus. We need to start noticing when we are not present. We need to start listening to each other and stop judging everyone with scant evidence.


The immense problems we are facing are solvable. Just look at how far we have come in the last 100 years. We simply need to grow our consciousness and reside in Presence while taking mindful actions.


Even the social problems are solvable. The only question is whether we are willing to give up our arguments and grievances for real empathy, progress, and Presence.


Mindfulness gives you the tools to take back your focus and make a real difference for yourself, your family, your business, your community, and the world. I know you can because I have, and I have seen many others do the same—not perfectly, but just by noticeably improving Presence.

I wrote a book, Profit with Presence: The 12 Pillars of Mindful Leadership, which goes in to further detail about this topic and more.

Although the world is currently abuzz with the term “mindfulness,” some believe mindfulness is a fringe activity to be practiced before or after the workday, if at all. Too few business professionals take the time needed to be present and aware throughout the workday, which is counterproductive. Mindfulness is not only a path to personal success, but a sound business strategy.  

My hope is to positively impact the world through infusing more mindfulness into business -- and it starts with each of us individually. Together, we can create a future where mindfulness is deeply embedded in our work culture, leading to greater well-being, productivity, and meaningful success for all.

- Dr Eric Holsapple


Get my free mindfulness resources here

Learn more about my book, Profit with Presence: The 12 Pillars of Mindful Leadership here

Check out the Profit with Presence Podcast Miniseries here

Watch videos on YouTube here

Learn more about my nonprofit, Living in the Gap, here


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