On the surface it seems that the present moment is only one of many, many moments. Each day of your life appears to consist of thousands of moments where different things happen. Yet if you look more deeply, is there not only one moment, ever? Is life ever not this moment?
This one moment, now, is the only thing you can never escape from. The one constant factor in your life. No matter what happens. No matter how much your life changes. One thing is certain. Its always now.
Since there is no escape from the now, why not welcome it, become friendly with it.
When you make friends with the present moment, you feel at home no matter where you are. When you don't feel at home in the now, no matter where you go, you will carry unease with you.
The present moment is as it is, always. Can you let it be?
The division of life into past, present and future is mind made, and, ultimately, illusory.
The past and future are thought forms, mental abstractions. The past can only be remembered Now. What you remember is an event that took place in the Now and you remember it Now. The future, when it comes, is the Now. So the only thing that is real, the only thing that ever is, is the Now.
To have your attention in the Now is not a denial of what is needed in your life. It is recognizing what is primary. Then you can deal with what is secondary with great ease. It is not saying, “I’m not dealing with things anymore because there is only the Now.” No. Find what is primary first, and make the Now into your friend, not your enemy. Acknowledge it, honor it. When the Now is the foundation and primary focus of your life, then your life unfolds with ease.
Putting away the dishes, drawing up a business strategy, planning a trip-what is more important: the doing or the result that you want to achieve through the doing? This moment or some future moment?
Do you treat this moment as if it were an obstacle to be overcome? Do you feel you have a future moment to get to that is more important?
Almost everyone lives like this most of the time. Since the future never arrives, except as the present, it is a dysfunctional way to live. It generates a constant undercurrent of unease, tension, and discontent. It does not honor life, which is Now and never not Now.
Feel the aliveness within your body. That anchors you in the Now.
Ultimately you are not taking responsibility for life until you take responsibility for this moment-Now. This is because Now is the only place where life can be found.
Taking responsibility for this moment means not to oppose internally the “suchness” of Now, not to argue with what is. It means to be in alignment with life.
The Now is as it is because it cannot be otherwise. What Buddhists have always known, physicists now confirm: there are no isolated things or events. Underneath the surface appearance, all things are interconnected, are part of the totality of the cosmos that has brought about the form that this moment takes.
When you say “yes” to what is, you become aligned with the power and intelligence of Life itself. Only then can you become an agent for positive change in the world.
A simple but radical spiritual practice is to accept whatever arises in the Now- within and without.
When your attention moves into the Now, there is an alertness. It is as if you were waking up from a dream, the dream of thought, the dream of past and future. Such clarity, such simplicity. No room for problem making. Just this moment as it is.
The moment you enter the Now with your attention, you realize that life is sacred. There is a sacredness to everything you perceive when you are present. The more you live in the Now, the more you sense the simple yet profound joy of Being and the sacredness of all life.
Most people confuse the Now with what happens in the Now, but that’s not what it is. The Now is deeper than what happens in it. It is the space in which it happens.
So do not confuse the content of this moment with the Now. The Now is deeper than any content that arises in it.
When you step into the Now, you step out of the content of your mind. The incessant stream of thinking slows down. Thoughts don’t absorb all your attention anymore, don’t draw you in totally. Gaps arise in between thoughts-spaciousness, stillness. You begin to realize how much vaster and deeper you are than your thoughts.
Thoughts, emotions, sense perceptions, and whatever you experience make up the content of your life. “My life” is what you derive your sense of self from, and “my life” is content, or so you believe.
You continuously overlook the most obvious fact: your innermost sense of I Am has nothing to do with what happens in your life, nothing to do with content. That sense of I Am is one with the Now. It always remains the same. In childhood and old age, in health or sickness, in success or failure, the I Am-the space of Now- remains unchanged at its deepest level. It usually gets confused with content, and so you experience I Am or the Now only faintly and indirectly, through the content of your life. In other words: your sense of Being becomes obscured by circumstances, your stream of thinking, and the many things of this world. The Now becomes obscured by time.
And so you forget your rootedness in Being, your divine reality, and lose yourself in the world. Confusion, anger, depression, violence, and conflict arise when humans forget who they are.
Yet how easy it is to remember the truth and thus return home:
I am not my thoughts, emotions, sense perceptions, and experiences. I am not the content of my life. I am Life. I am the space in which all things happen. I am consciousness. I am the Now. I Am.