“Anyone who does not meditate cannot understand “Now”!”
Our mind is made up of four parts, known to all involved in Yoga, as: manas (the thinking mind), ahamkara (the subjective perspective; I-ness; Ego) buddhi (individual intelligence), chit (cosmic intelligence/consciousness).
Our everyday mind is reliant / hooked on the past for its processing mechanism of sense input (information). Consequently we understand, live and also re-act – according to the past. From there we project understanding and our future.
So either past or future dictate our life.
What about the present? What about living in the Present? Where is Now?
What we perceive as present is a time-frame that relies for its mental interpretation on the past; what we refer to as present is merely the most recent past!
For example: A book falls of the shelf; at this very second. Surely that is in the present!
Sorry, No, not really, because by the time your mind has processed the information, the book has landed on the floor! Time has lapsed by the time your “seeing” has been processed and recognized by your mind, - enough time anyway for the book to hit the floor.
Transfer that to any example in your life, i.e. transfer it to a bigger scale and you will understand, why Swami Rama of the Himalayas says:
“The past is controlling your life; you reap the fruits of your childhood now!”
What ever files/memories our mind uses to interpret “present” reality is laid down in our memory-files from earliest stages (even in utero; or as some say in past lives) . The thinking mind can only process information in relation to memory (we call that ‘learning’). Really it is acquiring reference points for a feedback loop that determines
how we think; what you think; and how you react to what is going on around you. Remember the cult-book “Catch 22”!
And these reference points are always Past; unless- we train or re-educate our mental processes. Hence to be aware is vital, and plays such a big role in Yoga and all traditions
of Buddhism. “Unless you know your own swarupa (your form; your conditioning)
- you cannot control your mind.”
Hence Now, cannot refer to the present – for the present does not exist!
Let’s look at NOW from another angle.
From most ancient philosophy, be it Yoga (Sankhya) or Taoism and many more to modern Science, all agree that everything constantly changes.
The Tao is permanent change; Prakriti is the power of ever changing Nature; etc. etc.
So what is change?
Your body has changed since this morning when you looked at the mirror; it has changed
in the last five, ten years and when you look at a photo as you as a baby, you will hardly recognize yourself.
Your mind too has changed…even now, from this morning to tonight new synapses have been made. We hope! We hopefully learned something, every bit we learn actually changes your brain (creating new memory)!
(Make a habit to learn something new every day!)
Your mind changes with every bit you become aware off. So change is continuous, in you as well as obviously in the world at large. Change means: one thing, form, thought …becomes an other and an other!
A becomes A1 (or even B). This happens continually.
The changeover point/… we don’t perceive. It is so minute.
As a point of illustration think of animation:
When young, many of us will have had “a go” at making our own animations.
Imagine you draw a character with his hands in his lap;
next page: you draw the same character with his hand slightly lifted;
next page: you draw the hand and arm lifted a bit more;
next page: you draw the character with the arm lifted parallel to his shoulder;
next page: you draw the character with his arm lifted even higher…and so on.
Then you flick quickly through the whole block of cartoons…and there you are, the man moves his arm, ready to wave good bye!
He changes from hand in lap – to hand above his head. We notice the change when it has happened. We become aware of “change” once it is the past… even though we call it the present; the present is that illusionary point, between past and future.
That in between point, where actually change happens is minute, so minute we are not aware of it. However that point is most important. It contains all possibilities; it is what great poets and mystics, from all traditions call: “the still-point”; or what science calls “non-locality,” or “point of ultimate potentiality”.
Swami Rama says if we are established in the NOW we know everything.
Why? Because in that Now everything is contained, nothing is defined, definition is exclusion is limitation.
The word Now, as applied to time, is that illusionary point that lies between past and future…which has not been limited by concepts or time; we could call the ultimate present! It is however not present as “filled time” (as the Jewish tradition calls it) but the moment of fullness – or emptiness (merely a preference of words) which is neither past nor present, nor future.
Swami Rama talks of this point also as emptiness…; emptiness as the entrance to eternity.
Now is Eternity,
Now is that minute point of change… where time does not exists.
Now is eternity.
To enter into that point is to enter “Yoga” , as in that point there is no time, no form (no space, no causality). It is changeless and eternal. Hence “Yoga (is) Samadhi” as it says in Vyasa’s commentary to the Yoga Sutras (I/1).
NOW, is not a word for time, but a word for: “without time”.
A word of transition as Swami Veda Bharati calls it. One thing is finished, now starts something else; its leaving behind:
Leaving behind problems, issues, habits….
which all express as tension in our body; so now implies total relaxation.
For “being in the Now “we need to be totally relaxed, without relaxation – total deep relaxation (no attachment, no concerns, no tension), there is no stillness; no now…
Herman Hesse said: Within you there is a stillness a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be your Self”;
The Yoga Sutras say: There you rest in your own nature.
Lao Tzu says: “No thought, no action, no movement - total stillness: only thus can one manifest the true nature and law of things from within; and unconsciously and from within, at last become one with heaven and earth.”
That is the state we are looking for in meditation. What we are looking for is being able to relax, being able to witness with detachment thoughts and emotions. That is “direct seeing”, is darshana of Yoga.
To be established in that is dwelling in the Now.
The greatest obstacle to happiness and to wisdom; the greatest source of suffering is being attached to the past, being divorced from what is happening right now at an existential level in each instant (right down to the cellular level).
If for one moment we can stop the futile preoccupation of our mind with judging, labeling, boxing in, in accordance with our past files - then “we become instantaneously the here and now, unconditioned, fresh and imbued with an abundance of joy. A joy that simply is, not because of something we are pleased about or praised for, no, a joy that just is,….The state of mind that is totally letting go is not hooked on hope and fear, the two great whips that propel us into action.” (Sonia Moriceau)
When we free the mind from its attachments, we are instantaneously in the timeless Now. Then Yoga (is) Samadhi
Then Now is eternal.
How to practice that?
-In a simple way: Next time you practice meditation and watch your breath… slowly exhaling…slowly just at the end of an out-breath, become acutely aware, that the out-breath has passed …and there is yet nothing…..stillness! Keep the breath flowing, smooth and even but stay with that awareness of …stillness, emptiness – Now!
- and a profound way:
Begin to invoke the divine Presence in you. Let your present be filled with HIS presence, then there is fullness (no qualifying past, no labelling necessary; just experience. As it says in the Vedic chant:
Ohm Purnamada, purnamidam ,purnat,
Purnasya, purnamadaya, purnam evavashishyate etc…..
Fullness is everywhere
Fullness is here, fullness is there
From fullness comes forth fullness
And if we take fullness from fullness only fullness remains.…
Which, so universal consciousness has it, is very similar to what St. Paul taught his congregation:
The Father is fullness
The son is fullness
Fullness is also in the Holy Spirit
Fullness in Heaven, fullness on Earth
From him who is infinite Fullness,
Fullness proceeds to the consummation of Fullness..
“Now” – being eternal emptiness and eternal fullness, both at the same time, breaks all logic and that is the purpose….! Contemplating NOW leads us beyond the thinking mind. It takes us out of our limited mind-cones, (Hendrik Scolimowski) in which we dwelled too long. It takes us away from the mental files that colour everything with egocentric paint, and opens the door to the All mind, the cosmic intelligence, the omniscience.
Many Indian scriptures start with the word ‘Atha’, translated as ‘Now’, it is said to be auspicious…in the same gendre as OHM! As the words Om and Atha came from the Creator’s throat in the beginning of creation. Atha (Now) and Ohm share the same Space of inclusiveness of all potential, all creation. In Sankhya (philosophy/Yoga) Creation is an ongoing process, hence Ohm and Atha beam throughout time and space.
It means “each moment arises directly from infinity, each moment dissolves into infinity.” (Swami Veda Bharati).
“Now” is that opening to infinity that lies between dissolution of one and creation of the next; hence now is neither dissolution nor creation.
“Now” is eternal.Ohm Tat Sat