The Now: Are you in the moment?
Are you in the moment?
Who, me? Of course I am. Where else would I be? If I wasn’t part of the moment, you couldn’t be talking to me in this cozy corner of the universe right now.
Okay… but are you IN the moment… in this moment?
Like just about all subjects related to consciousness, there are paradoxes that can make certain concepts confusing. Being “present” is one of them. To most people, “being in the moment” is something that sounds like a pretty damn good idea. They just don’t know how, and it can be a burden for a teacher to explain how to become aware of the state that we are always in. We tend to think of now as the thing we are left with when we reject past and future, as if the present is something comfortably sandwiched between two slices of space-time wonder bread. The problem is that these divisions don’t actually exist in reality. Being “present” simply means that you are aware that Now is the only point in time that past and future can be conceived.
We try to achieve this state because we are told that there is an “awesomely epic non-dual dimension where everything is one, infinite, nothing, and unknowable all at the same time maaaaan!!!” And when this dimension is experienced, we realize that there is no rational basis for unhappiness, since everything is perfect, including the twists and turns of our own human experience.
However, this realization should not make us resent that we understand time in three parts. In fact, it should ultimately help us to embrace the events of the past, and the uncertainties of the future without judgment or labels. This also means not being too judgmental of mental processes that we feel get in the way of perceiving the present moment the way we feel we should. Sometimes we just need to be what I call the “friendly landlord” and just let the mind throw a big house party even when we have the authority to barge in and angrily yell at it for being too noisy.
Being in the present is about magnifying our acceptance of the linear dimension along with the unavoidable illusions that come with the journey. Once we consciously confront our feelings towards the past and future, we can allow ourselves to make peace with them, which then creates the space for transcendence.