The cornerstone of our work is the practice of being present—the most practical effort a human being can make. We have all made sincere attempts to change our behavior or emotions. Yet because the lower self has no unity, the results are often disappointing. Who is "I"—the person who wants to rise early, or the person who prefers to stay in bed? But the Higher Self that appears when we are present brings a single, unified point of perception. The Self takes its rightful place, and instead of reacting to our lives in automatic, habitual ways we begin to experience them, and to respond more spontaneously and freely.
When we aim to be present we join in a universal struggle, like those in myths and fairy tales, between light and darkness, between presence and the incessant activity of the lower self. That activity manifests in "imagination"—the constant, automatic flow of words and images in our minds. Subduing imagination is a shortcut—if we can turn away from our own thoughts and feelings within a moment, we are freed from our imaginary identities and space is created in which our true Self can emerge. We cannot "conquer" the lower self; in fact, that is a lower-self idea. But if we turn our attention repeatedly to presence, the lower self begins to fade in its light.