What is the Here and Now really?
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.
Ok then let’s move in! Seems the place to be!
When is it?
Hah, 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? (NB: in F1 racing one thousands of a second in time equals 25 cm of distance at a speed of 250km/h)
In the ‘Here and Now’ is no Time.
When the mind starts to think whether it is in the Here and Now, that is just too funny! You can observe for yourself how long the mind needs to try catching a view on the Here and Now. Try it. To your surprise you discover that no matter how fast you try to experience, you always come half a second too late to the Here and Now. 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.
That’s why I said, you got yourself a serious problem now. It is without question that the Here now Now exists, because that is where things are; like the body: the body (being a thing) is in the Here and Now. 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 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”.
But hey, have we been in the Here and Now at all?
Surely we are 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 experience is only possible in the mind. With your desire to recognizably experience the Here and Now you always come some moments too late to the party that is forever ongoing, with or without you. 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. In reality we are amongst 7 billion others; in our daily experience we are alone, because we don’t live in the Here and Now, we live in our lala-land, and we are the only ones who live there.
Awareness or also callable as: presence is a quality of consciousness that lives in the Here and Now. 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 land in 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)?
Yes, that’s the challenge. At least we dissolved the smoke around the Here and Now and stare into the flame. Who is staring?
With love, Marc Steinberg