“Darren has a beautiful way of writing and presenting spiritual teachings” Esther Ekhart
My first book ‘Being Present’ (published by Findhorn Press) is a synthesis of spiritual teachings and personal insights that can be applied to everyday living to help you cultivate a peaceful mind, live skilfully, and experience a spiritual connection through the power of the present moment. The teachings point the way to gaining freedom from becoming lost in unhelpful thoughts and emotions.
This book will be of benefit if you have made a connection with the spiritual dimension or would like to experience it for the first time. If you respond well to structured guidance and self-help then Being Present will support your spiritual progression.
A range of teachings are integrated including those from Buddhism and other quality sources.
Being Present enables you to learn about:
- Gaining freedom from becoming lost in unhelpful thoughts and emotions
- Mindfulness – what it means and how it can be cultivated
- The benefits of living in the present moment
- Using your body as a tool to raise your level of consciousness including exercise, diet, breathing, tiredness, illness and pain management
- Enhancing communication with people including friends, family and personal relationships
- Meditation guidance on technique and integration into day-to-day activities – with audio guided meditation
- Working through blockers/hindrances to being present including the ego
- Understanding and managing all types of addictions including thought patterns
- Using stillness, spaciousness and nature to become more present
- Bringing acceptance to what life presents to you
- Reviewing and influencing your occupation to align with your spiritual practice
- Working with spiritual teachers, religions and texts
- Simplifying your life conditions and ultimately your thought patterns
- Integrating sexuality into your spiritual practice
- Integrating teachings to create a unique and personal structure to support your ongoing spiritual practice
“Darren and I sat in meditation for a week and I could clearly sense his ability to sink into stillness and be Present. I wasn’t surprised to found out after we finished our retreat, he was a meditation teacher who just wrote a book. I am honoured he asked me to review it.
Darren has a beautiful way of writing and presenting spiritual teachings. What I find special about “Being Present” is that through reading it you can get a very clear experience of Presence. This is really the most important thing anyone can wish for in reading any spiritual book.
Given my knowledge and experience I believe this is only possible when a book is written by someone who has put the work in (spiritually speaking) and has experience with being Present and experiencing Presence. Just reading something about spirituality will not get you there if there isn’t the experience behind it from the writer. The feeling of Presence that reading Darren’s book evokes, gradually becomes an inner experience that you can keep tapping into, an experience that can go beyond reading his book.
I wholeheartedly recommend reading “Being Present” since the book clearly shows Darren has good and proper theoretical knowledge of the subjects he is writing about and also has the experiential wisdom to back it up and make reading his book a truly special experience.”
Esther Ekhart has been teaching yoga and meditation internationally for over 20 years and is the founder of EkhartYoga.com, an online yoga studio offering yoga and meditation classes and resources from renowned yoga and meditation teachers. For more information about Esther and her trainings, visit www.ekhartyoga.com.
“Living in the present moment will enhance your relationships, help you experience joy, happiness and a lasting connection to a higher source that you cannot achieve any other way. In a world filled with many surface pleasures, it is easy to miss the most important connection; the connection to one’s self.
Being Present is a roadmap that will take you on a journey to finding your own connection. Lessening the noise of the outside world that leads to unhappiness, addictions, unrest in the mind, anxiety, fear, destructive habits and patterns, Being Present will help you tap deep into your soul and unlock the connection that is your human right.
Darren Cockburn is a spiritual teacher by nature. His skillful articulation of complex spiritual concepts helps novice to advanced spiritual seekers alike cultivate a peaceful mind and spiritual connection. I had the pleasure of meeting Darren years ago on spiritual retreat and now consider him a close friend, confidant and teacher. Immediately taking to his warmth and loving nature, I found myself captivated by his presence. We talked for hours about life, love, mindfulness, meditation and spirituality. It quickly became obvious that Darren has been a long time practitioner and has studied a wide range of religions, philosophies and spirituality.
When Darren told me he was writing a book, I was thrilled to know his knowledge would be transferred to the masses. Darren has a message that will resonate with all people from all walks of life. His experience, passion and understanding will help you find your own internal peace and ultimately transform your life.
As a wellbeing expert, I am exposed to many teachings, writings and practices. My book, Back to Balance, was written as a manual to help readers integrate mind, body and spirit to achieve ultimate health. I am constantly searching for and learning new ways to incorporate spirituality into my busy and sometimes stressful life. The key is to stay balanced and like everyone else, I am always looking for ways to keep myself centered. Darren provides structured teachings, reflections and exercises that have helped me stay present and cultivate a still mind.
If you are looking for spiritual practices to help you in everyday life, easily implementable solutions to cultivate a peaceful mind and spiritual connection, Being Present is the book for you. Through this easy to read manual, you will move deeper into your practice, gaining freedom from destructive patterns, thoughts and emotions. You will learn how to apply traditional spiritual teachings in your life. We are all faced with a wide range of stressors from our careers, relationships, addictions, financial pressures, illnesses, and responsibilities of all kinds. Learning how to manage these stressors is essential to living a balanced life. Being Present provides the tools to do so.
I wish you peace and love as you begin this very important journey to Being Present.”
#1 Best Selling Author, Speaker and Wellbeing Expert
Back to Balance: Crack Your Mind, Body, Spirit Code to Transform Your Health
Detroit, Michigan, United States
“This book, so Cockburn tells us within it, came out of a dream and a spiritual prompt from a ‘coincidental’ encounter with someone in a shop. What is found within the pages is lived by the author, and has been for many years by him.
The exercise of cultivating a peaceful mind through spiritual practice has, of course, been lived out and taught by many masters of meditation and mindfulness through the generations, yet this book offers something which you won’t find in other books – the authors own experience. This is not just a teaching book, although you will find that in it, but it is the meditative expression of the lived out practice of Cockburn himself. Frequently citing Eckhart Tolle as a main source of inspiration, which you can certainly see through Cockburn’s way of speaking and personal beliefs, this book puts, in simple ways, some great realities of the ancient form and practice of meditation and mindfulness and of being present.
Being Present is not just the title of the book, it is the heartfelt desire of the author – to be present, fully present, in life, in all of life, and in all aspects of life. Cockburn expresses this desire of being present throughout the book, giving examples and practical descriptions of how he and the reader can be more present; what can help or hinder the sense of being presence; and the benefits for a spiritual elevation and awareness from being present.
As the book says, the teaching found within it can be, just as Eckhart Tolle’s teaching can be, implemented into ones own spiritual context, whatever that is. Although Cockburn references both Buddhism and Christianity within the book, the teaching given can be as easily placed into the life of other faiths, or even those who have no specific religious leanings, but simply understand a greater more transcendent context to life, the universe and everything.
I had the pleasure of meeting Darren Cockburn when he came to visit a Mindfulness retreat that I was teaching in Dorset, near where he lives, and in our gentle time together I could certainly feel the embodiment of what he writes about in this book.
If you want to learn some deep understandings of living and being present in a simply presented form, then you will enjoy this book. If you enjoy the writings of Eckhart Tolle then you will quite probably enjoy this book too.”
Review by David Cole
International spiritual teacher and award winning author of books on meditation and spirituality
Find out more at www.waymarkministries.com
“Reading Darren’s book Being Present feels like a meditation. In clear, simple language Darren describes the process of letting go of identification with our thoughts and feelings and invites us to a place of peace with what is.
I have spent enough time with Darren to realize that this book is a transmission of his own deep practice of Presence. His teachings spring from his lived experience and the authenticity of his words radiate from the page.
At this time humanity is in dire need of spiritual awakening and this book is an invaluable guide to anyone interested in learning how to awaken in a way that is gentle and loving.”
Jennie Hastings (Sri Devi)
Yoga Teacher and Programmer at Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Bahamas
“I met Darren in India at a yoga center several years ago and I was struck by his presence and kindness towards others. We later came to know each other, and I learned there was profound wisdom and spiritual teachings behind his outtake on life.
Reading “Being present” helps in keeping these teachings alive in daily life. For me practicing awareness through meditation and contemplating on how to simplify my life, makes me more peaceful and grounded in my often-stressful working days.
As a medical doctor I strongly believe in having a holistic perspective in well-being, with physical and mental health being equally important.
This book provides concrete guiding through different aspects on how you can improve your life when it comes to for example dealing with work-life balance, finding stillness and overall cultivating presence.”
Johanna Andersson, Medical Doctor
“I am enjoying reading your book very much, as a yoga teacher I think it’s a must-read and a great tool for growth and, as a yoga practitioner, I felt my enquiry deepen after just the first couple of chapters.”
Tori Williams, Freelance Editor, Graphic Designer and Yoga Teacher
“A really comprehensive and insightful journey through what it means to be fully aware, awake and present in your life, and how to apply this wisdom to life’s challenges.” – Review of Being Present
Erica Longdon, Radio Presenter, 12Radio.com
“I really enjoyed reading Darren Cockburn’s book, “Being Present, Cultivate a Peaceful Mind through Spiritual Practice.”
The chapters really address the areas where we need awareness in order to establish a relationship to Presence in our lives. Relationship, addictions, body awareness, simplicity and Nature, all serve to bring us back home in our bodies, where Presence resides.
Gary Goldberg, WRPI Radio Presented
“An accessible and very practical manual giving advice for everyday problems in the modern world. Darren has produced a comprehensive insightful guide to living fully in the present. He gives many examples of real life situations and includes some of his own challenges so that the Reader knows that he/she is being guided by an experienced and knowledgeable tutor. His own coaching experience, understanding and caring nature shine through.
Particularly helpful at the end of each chapter there are points for reflection and optional learning activities which are useful reminders to the aspirant.”
British Wheel of Yoga Teacher
“Being Present provides insight into the nature of addiction, how it manifests and can be released. This clear and concise book is a useful tool for anyone who wants to understand addiction and recovery. In my work and in my personal recovery from addiction I can affirm that every addict needs to look beyond the substance or behaviours and into himself or herself as a person for the underlying cause. This always involves knowledge of thought patterns and emotions and for many no sustained recovery would be possible without a spiritual program.
Ego is at the root of addiction and learning new ways of letting go of unskillful behaviours is a powerful growth in true self awareness. The knowledge that I don’t have to be trapped in my ego but can connect to a higher power comes as a tremendous relief and release for very many addicts. To then develop a relationship with this higher self, experience the pleasure of connection and guidance and enjoy the pathways of this journey brings deep healing for those used to unskillful means for dealing with pain.
This book from an experienced spiritual practitioner guides us carefully through to understanding what it means to be present and includes advice on how to seek help and support for those experiencing significant addictions. Presence is a powerful antidote to being lost in thought and craving and I am happy to recommend this book as a welcome addition to our understanding of recovery.”
Dennis Wareing, Substance Misuse Worker
“Being Present is a great guide for helping us connect to and live in the present moment. The books covers a range of topics from how we look after our bodies and interact with others to guidance on meditating and living simply.
It’s well written and each chapter flows well into the next though they can also be read as self contained units. Each chapter concludes with some helpful reflection points and also suggestions for activities to help the reader make living in the present moment a part of their daily lives.”
“Darren’s Being Present is a very interesting read. In editing it, I had to constantly stop and think about what Darren was describing and explaining. I especially liked the idea that with mindfulness defined as “awareness and acceptance of bodily sensations, feelings and thoughts within the present moment” so “anything natural that allows us to gain perspective and transcend the thinking mind is a gateway into Presence.” Darren never preaches or talks down to readers, instead giving realistic and accessible examples and illustrations of the concepts to help readers reflect and learn. The book is very easy to read and use, especially as each chapter is followed by Points For Reflection that encourage readers to relate the concepts and teachings to their own individual situations and journey.
I found the ‘Difficult’ People & Situations section and Darren’s words on judgment and acceptance there, and the chapter on the ego and identification with possessions especially helpful. I particularly related to Darren’s story about not realising he was identified with a pen!
I recommend the book as definitely worth reading.”
“Just started reading this lovely book. I briefly met Darren at a yoga conference and he radiates a joyful warmth and gentleness – although I’ve only read a chapter so far this comes across in his writing. Worth a read”
“Mindfulness has certainly gained a foothold in our awareness. Don’t bother with the small stuff–it’s all small stuff: Could this be the mantra of mindfulness? Yet it does seem that the practice of mindfulness (actually paying attention to and noting what is in your awareness) does seem to release one’s attachment to the perceptions and allow us some distance from our experience. All the better to appreciate it as “mind stuff.”
Being present: Cultivate a Peaceful Mind through Spiritual Practice (Findhorn Press) offers such an enticement. The author begins by telling us the story of how he came to write this book. One unusual comment for an author, but one I appreciate personally, is that he admits that a lot of what he is writing is his personal distillation of the books by others that he has read. He mentions Ekhardt Tolle frequently.
It’s a methodical book, and it begins with a discussion of “presence.” It is one of those experiences that is hard to define exactly, and the words are like fingers pointing to the moon. It’s when thinking stops. It is awareness being aware of itself. It lacks craving, but is acceptance and love. It is fearless. It has more to do with the “real you” than your image of yourself, your history and the stories you tell yourself about yourself.
The meat of the book is his sharing with us the various things that threaten presence and the practices that we can use to re-establish the sense of presence when it has been threatened.
He begins with the body. It is a primary source of our identity and experiences. Through the body we experience pleasures and pains. What is interesting as a source of study and growth is his comment, repeated throughout the book, that pain is the physical sensation from the body, while suffering is a mental creation brought about through craving. When we are present with our pain, there is no suffering, as there is no desire or craving for things to be different. Being present with our pain may direct our thoughts to the cause of the pain, which may lead to insights about a psychological source of suffering that the body is mirroring for our benefit. Listen.
Wouldn’t you know it, his second thought for sources of pain and suffering has to do with other people. His bringing this topic up so soon is good evidence that he has walked his talk through an environment we are all too familiar with–how other people respond to us and the reactions in us they create. May Presence save us! He notes that the more presence we develop, the more likely we are to find that others around us are less present than we are. We soon can tell the difference between folks with presence and folks who are unconscious. The latter is perhaps the source of our greatest teachers, as these people push our buttons and alert us to the presence of lessons! Pay attention! Always insightful, the author explains the difference between love and the ego craving for control, the internal tension between two modes of perception and responding. I’ll thank you to push my buttons to keep me out of sleepwalking!
Of course he has a chapter on meditation. It is one simple place to practice presence. It is often where we must start. It’s too hard to begin by practicing the presence in the face of criticism from others. It is much easier to get started with the craving behind one’s own restlessness.
It’s easy to see why the author quotes Tolle so often. Gradually the reader is reminded of that kind of gentle knowledgeableness that is so giving of insights and optimism that we can, indeed, make progress in presence.
I predict this book will be a reference work for many!”
“Impressively informative, insightful, thoughtful provoking, inspired and inspiring, “Being Present: Cultivate a Peaceful Mind through Spiritual Practice” is a life-affirming, life-enhancing, life-changing read from cover to cover. While very highly recommended for both community and academic library Self-Help/Self-Improvement instructional reference collections, it should be noted for personal reading list that “Being Present” is also available in a digital book format.”
John Burroughs, Mid West Book Review
“I was interested to read Being Present because I had found the works of Eckhart Tolle so inspiring. Tolle’s teachings had a big impact on my life many years ago. Being Present is both richly informative and refreshing. It echos Tolle’s ethos, but brings a new perspective and approach to the practice of presence. This book is both inspiring and accessible.
The author threads in personal experiences, which makes you feel more connected to his words. You can feel his words are coming from the heart and from his many years of experience, making it both authentic and sincere. Yet the structure and style of the book and his writing is really clear and practical. At the end of each chapter, there are well selected points for reflection, which are so useful for reference. I have made so many notes in the margins and underlined so many paragraphs. I will come back to this book again and again, just as I have with Tolle’s books.
The content is rich with inspirational and practical guidance. The chapters cover all areas of our lives and all bring us pack to cultivating peace and contentment through becoming more Present. Our biggest challenge is moving away from our over thinking minds, to a place of stillness where we can really function and flow from moment to moment. I think this book is a valuable tool to assist anyone on this journey. A beautiful and informative text.”
Yoga Teacher & 5* Amazon Review
“This work is extensive, well-formatted, referenced, nuanced, and easy to understand and put into practice. Being Present explores the ways mindfulness, awareness, yoga, and religious practice, can become the bedrock of our daily lives to create simplicity and insight. Mr. Cockburn says, “Simplifying our life helps us to cultivate Presence and Presence equips us to manage complexity.”
The material provides a close look at “Presence”. What it is, and what it is not? Where it comes from and where it goes, and how to have frequent access to its benefits. The introduction thoroughly outlines all of the areas to be examined within. These include our bodies, people, meditation, hindrances, the ego, simplicity, acceptance, addictions, stillness, nature, work, service, and how to structure one’s practice.
The author’s “three approaches to cultivating Presence” were especially helpful. “The first is through structured practice. This covers activities practiced on a regular basis, including meditation, yoga, and studying spiritual teachings. The second approach is through everyday activities where we are striving to be Present. For example, we may be making a conscious effort to be more Present whilst walking or brushing our teeth. The third approach is to change our conditions so that our life becomes more conducive to being Present. Examples here may include changing our job, letting go of certain relationships, working to release addictions, taking regular exercise, letting go of unhelpful habits and connecting with nature.”
There is an excellent summation at the end of each chapter called Points For Reflection, shared personal experiences in each section, and some well-designed diagrams throughout Being Present. Mr. Cockburn has presented a well-balanced, practical, and insightful book that is applicable for the novice or seasoned practitioner of Presence and mindfulness. I recommend reading it cover to cover, or as a quick reference.”
Gabriel Constans, Counselor – Educator – Writer – Editor & 5* Amazon Review
“Author Darren Cockburn’s debut title Being Present: Cultivate a Peaceful Mind through Spiritual Practice is an alluring and grounded take on mental, physical, and spiritual presence.
The piece is very approachable and speaks to the layman with it’s by using succinct and digestible prose. It avoids many of the tropes associated with New Age and spiritual literature by skirting around convoluted and nebulous concepts with practical language and ideals that can be implemented by a vast majority of the population. This is most likely the result of Darren’s background in Buddhism, a philosophy famous for it’s pragmatism.
I’ve found that when discussing health and spirituality language is key and Darren manages to sound both insightful and matter of fact without being preachy or overzealous. It is because of this that it serves as both a primer for the uninitiated and a great reference for those who may be a bit further along in their practice.
Being Present is very workmanlike in it’s aspirations. It posits that through attentiveness, breath-work, meditation, and improved diet and/or exercise regimens we can begin to development a more complete living experience.
At the end of each chapter is a summary of the key ideas called Points For Reflection. These summations do an excellent job of highlighting information so that we may revisit or undergird each teaching for future reference. These sections alone if combined would make an excellent pamphlet for those on the go or in need of a constant reminder for improving their relationships with themselves.
The only real point of contention here would be that Being Present doesn’t really say much that hasn’t been said before. If you are somewhat well-versed in the burgeoning “common sense” spiritual movements of recent years (which tend to be rooted in the more grounded sects of Eastern thought as well), or an advanced practitioner of these ideas, this piece is highly unlikely to offer too many new insights. Fortunately for most however, that is by no means a bad thing.
Overall, Darren’s debut is fantastic and is something i’d recommend to just about anyone looking to modify their lifestyle. It knows what it is, understands where it wants to go, and is an insightful read because of this. The title doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it simply reminds us how it works and I think this is why I enjoyed it so much. I respect that it opts to bestow us with methods to improve ourselves so that we may begin to understand or revisit complex topics in the future with renewed perspective, as opposed to trying to wrangle too many airy-fairy concepts and intimations. By obtaining a better brand of self-awareness, we are then able to construct a more purposeful worldview, one facet at a time. One hand washes the other and by being attentive and astute in regards to your personal needs, you will begin to see results in other areas of your life.
It doesn’t seem too farfetched then when we begin to say that perhaps the way to a healthier existence will require holistic solutions as opposed to reductionistic ones and “Presence” is the byproduct of those solutions.”
Prox Centauri, Inside the Rift