Seekers must sooner or later grapple with the nature of Now.
The journey into God is a perpetual opening up to the mysteries of Being. The Now is one such mystery, and an incredibly elusive one at that.
It’s not obvious why one’s understanding of time is relevant to inner growth. Yet teachers of all times and places insist on the absolute necessity of living in the Now.
So let’s explore what the sages mean when they claim the Now is the fount of all life, truth, and understanding.
The Now is not the present moment.
The present moment is that which is wedged between the dead past and unborn future. As such, it is a phantom obscured by two other phantoms.
The Now, on the other hand, is what there is. The Now is Real.
You cannot know the Now by thinking – only by being, the divine form of knowledge.
(As it is for all things, knowledge developed to perfection appears like its opposite – mystery. For at the apex of knowledge, the distance between known and knower disappears.)
While the present moment is an idea of something fleeting, the Now is outside time – and is, therefore, eternal. The Now is ‘the still point of the turning world‘. The axis around which all things with a beginning roll towards their end.
The Now is life, while all else are stories about life.
‘The kingdom of God is available to you in the here and the now. But the question is whether you are available to the kingdom.
‘Our practice is to make ourselves ready for the kingdom so that it can manifest in the here and the now.
‘You don’t need to die in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. In fact, you have to be truly alive in order to do so.’Thich Nhat Hanh
The seeker’s path is that of reclaiming one’s lost kingdom.
Through the inertia of ignorance and sleepwalking existence, an unexamined life takes us farther and farther away from the fount of experience. Away from the Now.
The landscape of our being grows barren, parched, and destitute. We sink deeper and deeper into the dead sands of existential slumber.
‘… cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life…’Genesis 3:17
But for a moment, the lightning (vajra) of clear awareness may wake us from our uneasy sleep. It may remind us that, in fact, we’ve never left the kingdom.
That it’s been right here all along – though we’ve failed to see it.
That is why the spiritual journey is called waking up. It’s not a matter of going anywhere. It’s a matter of attuning your consciousness to the reality of where you already are.
The Power Of Now
The Now bears fruit in all planes of Being, as in the transcendent – so too in the everyday.
We often find ourselves scattered back and forth through time. Stress, regret, longing, fear, anxiety, worry… all rooted in our mind’s hopeless attempts to be everywhere at the same time.
Like a ball and chain around our feet, the phantoms of the past drag us down to the dead riverbed of what is gone, depriving the world of our presence. And our hopes and fears for the future invest our being in what is unreal. In the end, chasing the future or being stuck in the past are both founded on forgetfulness.
We fall into such behavior when we forget one simple, yet elusive, truth:
That we can only ever access time Now.
If we wish to commune with life – we have no other path but the one through the gate of Now.
The Leap Of Faith
To be in the Now is to take the mythic leap of faith. It is to abandon the safety of all memory and hope and enter fully into the reality of Being.
This is easier once you understand the nature of Now. That it is eternal, present in all moments of your life.
If today you’re planning the day after and worrying about the day before – chances are, tomorrow you’ll be doing the same. But were you to enter fully into the Now, you would fill every moment of your life with your presence and undivided attention.
If your life is a wheel and your every moment a spoke on that wheel – the Now is where all spokes meet. The Now touches all of time.
‘If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present.’Ludwig Wittgenstein
The Now is today, and tomorrow, and the day when all the stars in the universe have gone out. The Now is before the Big Bang. And it’s when you read the end of this sentence. It is the only thing there ever is.
‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.‘John 8:58
Withdrawing from the past and future, becoming fully present in the moment – you give yourself the best chances of being fully present at all times. You surrender the illusory sense of control obsessing about the future gives you – and the false sense of identity provided by the past.
You realize that by trying to be everywhere at the same time, you end up nowhere. But by taking the leap of faith into the Now, letting go of the many and entering the One – you become present everywhere all the time.
‘For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.’Mathew 16:25
Ultimately, the Now is the only place you can be. You don’t really have a choice in the mater.
Your choice is between facing life consciously – and halfheartedly gliding through the fantasy world of a distracted mind. It’s the choice between dream and reality; between sleep and waking up.
And you are making that choice all the time.
You are making it Now.
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