Harry Sherwood is a renowned Presence and Wholistic Life Coach who has dedicated his life to achieving enlightenment and helping others do the same. As the founder of The Game of Presence Project, Harry aims to teach people how to stay present in the moment and connect with their surroundings, rather than getting lost in thoughts of the past or future. Through his extensive travels around the world, Harry has gained a unique perspective on the benefits of practicing presence and is now sharing his knowledge and expertise with others. For those struggling to stay present, Harry offers practical guidance and tools for achieving a more fulfilling and connected life. MysticMag has the pleasure.
Can you tell us about your background and how you became interested in the concept of “presence”?
My journey has been a long one. I have always felt a sense that there must be more to life, which I attribute to both an inner calling and life circumstances such as feeling lost and insecure. This led me to live with monks, learn meditation, study Tai chi and qigong in China, and spend six months at a SRF Ashram in Southern California where I delved into spirituality, enlightenment, and connecting with God’s Spirit.
The year I spent in China and at the ashram was a massive turning point. I then pursued a degree in Religious Studies and returned to the ashram for five months, considering becoming a monk. After leaving, I spent the next ten years exploring developmental and healing paths related to emotional, spiritual, and intellectual development, all driven by the pursuit of enlightenment. Each helped me deepen my connection to the universe through presence. This journey has been a result of following my internal calling, and I now find myself stepping into the most potentially intense adventure yet.
What inspired you to create The Game of Presence project, and what are your goals for this initiative?
To start, The Game of Presence Project will be a multi-year docuseries following me as I continue to seek enlightenment through The Game of Presence. Episodes will come out about once a month and will follow my process and transformation over the years.
I find the question of enlightenment interesting because it is personal to me. When I use the term, “enlightenment,” I am referring to a unified whole of the universe and beyond, where everything is connected through a field of energy called “Spirit.” My goal is to deepen my connection with this unified being in a conscious, embodied way, through direct experience rather than just conceptual or philosophical ideas. This has been my driving force since meeting monks many years ago.
Through this process, I drop out of the thought-oriented experience of reality and into a deeper, more energetic, and sensitive experience of reality. I am creating a docuseries to show the reality of what spiritual development often looks like. It is not a quick, easy process for most of us, but rather a lifelong journey that requires consistent effort and work. My goal is to bring people into this experience and show them the benefits of living on purpose and interacting with the present moment in a deeper way. There are both personal and collective benefits to engaging with this process, and I hope to engage people in various capacities.
Can you describe what you mean by “presence,” and how it differs from mindfulness or other similar practices?
I define presence as bringing my attention and awareness into the physical space I inhabit, which includes my inner world. In this practice, it is done without allowing my mind to wander to thoughts of the past, future, or other realities. In the Game of Presence, we exclude the thinking mind and aim to connect with the deeper energetic sensitivity around us. This involves training to feel and connect with the energy field all around us, which allows us to experience reality in a more powerful way. This is different from other practices that include the thinking mind, and the goal is to engage a different part of ourselves.
The Game of Presence involves a series of physical and mental exercises.
The game of presence can be played in various circumstances. To play, I simply bring my attention to the room and exclude my thinking mind. Meditation and walking in nature both help me train my focus and attention. Circling and presence practice with others is another way to engage with humans and commit to being present in the moment.
During Circling, we follow whatever arises between us and call it the aliveness. I also enjoy singing, praying, dancing ecstatically, and playing with my cat, all of which help me stay present. I avoid activities like watching TV and using social media that do not support my presence practice.
In today’s fast-paced and technology-driven world, why do you think it’s important for individuals to cultivate presence, and how can The Game of Presence help them do so?
In my opinion, technology has become deeply integrated into our personal lives, which has negative effects such as the impact of social media on self-image, personal relationships, and establishing addictive patterns. Learning to disengage from technology and be present in our surroundings can be stabilizing and help to meet psychological needs in a different way.
Additionally, as technology continues to change and replace jobs, people will need to find new ways to find purpose and passion in life. Engaging in practices like presence can be a reminder that there are ancient ways of existing that we can learn from to find a sense of purpose and engagement in life. Ultimately, I believe there are multiple layers to how this can be beneficial in balancing out technology’s impact on our psychological and sociological well-being.