By: +David Herron; Date: Fri Mar 30 2018 19:01:00 GMT-0700 (PDT)
"Now" is all that exists, or so claims more traditions of spiritual teachings than you can shake a stick at. Since nearly every tradition of spiritual teaching talks about "now" as the only time and place that exists, the teaching must be true, yes? Well, maybe not, but it's certainly interesting that they all agree. But, what does this teaching mean, and how is one to explore it for ourselves?
Consider these statements:
The past is gone
The future hasn't come yet
All that's left is the present
Clearly all we can prove or truly know about the world through our experience is what is here, now, present in this moment and this place. Everything else is somewhere else, or at some other time, and may well be a figment of someones imagination.
One purpose of meditation is to practice presence in the now.
An experiment: practicing "now"
Look around you, in the place you are. It may be a place you call a "room", or what you call a "porch", or what you call an "office" or what you call a "beach". Whatever it is you call the location you are now, contemplate this place. You are to bring your awareness to this place, and any time you discover your awareness or thoughts going to other places or times, simply return to the place where you are. Are you sitting or standing? Bring that into your awareness, for it is part of the "now". How is your breathing, your posture, your body, your neck, the clothing on your body (if you are wearing any)? How much can you be aware of in the objects, people, events, condition, etc, in the place and present time you are doing this practice? All these are part of "now". In practicing "now-time", have your awareness include all these things and anything else present with you.
** Discussion **: After some time with this practice, it becomes time to think and reflect. During the practice period stay simply with the awareness of "now" and "here" which go together to create the "present". This is a meditation where the anchor is the room and place you are currently in. This meditation can be done any time, in any place, at any time. There is nothing to do in this practice, and this will tend to drive the mind crazy.
It's clear as you contemplate life and the process of living, that there is a lot of activities typical of modern life which interfere with being present in the "now". For example, you may be making dinner, but the television is on with a documentary about the U.S. Civil War. Or you may be driving down the road, and finding the road-side signs distracting you with their messages. Or in driving down the road you may simply be rehashing your day at work.
So what happens to "you" as you multi-task through life? How is that different from being present in the now?
Consider the model given elsewhere on this web site, that our self is not just the body we have. That we are also a field of energy, commonly called the Aura or Spirit. The energy can be understood as "consciousness" as well, which is especially appropriate for the topic at hand. That is, what happens to our energy or spirit or consciousness as we multi-task and have our thoughts elsewhere?
What about these suggestions:
- Simple effectiveness comes from focussed attention on the task at hand. By having ones mind and consciousness distracted, focus is split, and effectiveness is diminished. This kind of effectiveness is important in moment-by-moment events such as driving a car, but can help you in so many ways.
- As consciousness is energy, when distracted your energy will be going to multiple purposes. One purpose might be driving down the road, the other might be screaming about your boss, another might be unresolved memories of past events which the subconscious mind connects with the argument with your boss, and so forth. Whew, all this going on all at once, no wonder you're tired!
- The energy that is our aura is not limited to one place. Energy healers show that the energy which the Aura is made of can be sent to any distance. It's pretty clear, then, that if one is driving down the road, screaming about their boss, and in the deep recesses of their subconscious mind their boss reminds them of their father, that streamers of energy will be sent to their boss and their father. The streamers containing the anger over whatever issues are being screamed about.
Being present in the "now" or not-present is more than just whether you're distracted while driving down the road. It's about all of the different ways you are not present now, and the advantages or strength that will come as you have more presence in the "now". The ways that people are not-present in the "now" are myriad and go on all the time. The subconscious mind is a simmering pot of past memories, old decisions, grudges and more, all of which may not be the most pleasant of thoughts or memories, and all of whiich serves to split your consciousness, awareness, and energy across all of those things.
A purpose of meditation is to learn to watch your thoughts, without judgement, so that you may learn where it is your self is split to.
Grounding and presence
Being "grounded" is actually a form of being highly present.
Ignoring for the moment the conceptual framework and energetic connections involved with being grounded, consider what it means or feels like to be grounded. To be grounded you feel your body sitting, for example, in a chair, the breath going in and out, and much more about your physical body. That is being present with your body, and that kind of body awareness automatically creates the energetic connections involved in being grounded.
The energetic connection of being grounded is also connected with the physical place you are currently located. The grounding cord extends from your body directly into the earth, a method of connecting directly to the present location and time of your physical body.