Everyone today hears the phrase and uses the phrase: the “Here and now”. It is perceived as the aim for meditation and relaxation practices. It is desired to live in; “Living in the Here and Now”. It promises freedom from the past and is advocated as the place where everything really happens.
All in all, it seems the place to be!
But now you got yourself a serious challenge! First of all you need to do some thinking about the definition of what is called “the Here and Now”; it’s fair to also call it “the present moment”, isn’t it? Ok, so just to be clear: 1 second ago isn’t the present moment, is it? 1 second ahead (by projection of the mind) is also not the present moment; nor is half a second or even a 1000th of a second, correct? Just comprehend, that in Formula 1 racing one thousands of a second in time equals 25 cm of distance at a speed of 250km/h.
When the mind starts to think whether it is in the Here and Now that is just too funny! The mind’s speed is fast, very fast; however observe for yourself how long the mind needs to try catching a glimpse of the Here and Now? Try it.
To your surprise you will discover that no matter how fast you try to experience the real moment, you always come half a second too late to it. Experiencing takes time, because experience is a process in time. And clearly the Here and Now is that mysterious space where there is no time. The moment you allow for time you have either the past or the future. The Here and Now cannot possibly have a history, can it?
That’s why I said, you got yourself a serious challenge. It is without question that the Here and Now does exist, because that is where things are, the only place where life can be found. The body for example; it is in the Here and Now, it is not in the past nor in the future. Action too happens and only can happen in the Here and Now; that’s why in many meditation schools they ask you to focus on your breathing, because your breathing (being an action) inevitably and exclusively happens in the Here and Now. If you direct your awareness to your breathing you can witness your breathing as it happens. The moment you try to look at your breathing with your mind you fall behind and where you are is in the story about your breathing.
The mind itself is a movement in thought; as movement is action, the mind is a phenomenon in the Here and Now; but the moment you try to make anything of it (e.g. thinking about your mind’s thoughts) you fall out of the Here and Now into your “lala-land”. Hey, have we ever been in the Here and Now at all? Surely we are there all the time. The challenge is, that by design of who we are, we fail to be able to experience the Here and Now, because the recognition of our human experience is only possible in the mind.
With our desire to recognizably experience the Here and Now, we always come some moments too late to the party that is forever going on, with or without us. The only way to participate in the Here and Now is by giving up the attachment to have an experience and surrender into discovering what it is like to just experience (not making an experience).
That’s the code to the Here and Now mystery: experiencing without making an experience; in order to make an experience there needs to be someone who is the experiencer, correct? The experiencer is the bundle of experiences that is known as your identity, as “yourself”. In lala-land there is the experiencer with all her/his experiences. It is a fictitious existence in which the majority of us live. We share the Here and Now with 7 billion other human beings but in our everyday experience we are alone, because we live in our lala-land, and we are the only ones who live there.
Awareness or also ‘presence’ is a quality of consciousness that only exists in the moment. Not the awareness that you experience! But just awareness. You can’t enter the Here and now from the past; the Here and Now and the past can never meet. The experience of “you” (your identity) is in the past, as all memory is of the past.
Your challenge is to let go of holding on to the experiencer when you want to enter the Here and Now. In fact you are always already in the Here and Now, but that you - who you most of the time think you are - isn’t.
Can you consider letting completely go of holding on to the experiencer? …holding on to your memories as a reference for your existence? …holding on to the illusory security of being a stable you (identity)?
Consider yourself being a movement, not a thing. Yes, that’s the challenge: dissolving the smoke around the Here and Now and staring into the flame.
Who is staring?