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Present Moment

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Excerpts about Present Moment

By Rejecting What Is So for Us, in the Present Moment, We are Rejecting Ourselves

This is how we live—trying to manipulate the outer world so that our inner world can be at peace. But this struggle is a hopeless task; it is not what will bring us to a state of contentment. This example of our internal process points to a basic fact of our ongoing experience: We don’t know how to leave ourselves alone. Every internal action involves some kind of rejection of our present state, our actual reality. And there is a deeper consequence to this attitude of rejection: By rejecting what is so for us in the present moment, we are rejecting ourselves. We are out of touch with our Being. Aiming toward the future, we sacrifice the present. By looking outside ourselves for what is missing, we subject ourselves, our souls, to the pain of abandonment. But the fact is: Nothing is missing! Our true nature is actually always there. Our true nature is Being. And everything is made of this true nature: rocks, people, clouds, peach trees—all the things in our life. However, these things do not exist independently, the way we think they do. What we are really seeing are the various forms of Being. To understand Being itself, the nature of what we truly are, we must penetrate the inner, fundamental nature of existence. To be open to this fundamental nature, we must question what we think we are: Am I really a white male, of a certain height and weight and age and address, who is defined by my personal history? And if that’s not me, what is?

Realizing that “Nowness” and Presence are Your Very Beingness

At this point we can see the importance of clarifying your personal issues. It is difficult to see the ego activity as a whole when you are identified with one part of the personality which is engaged in unconscious conflicts. In this condition you are controlled by an unconscious issue that keeps you stuck in ego activity without realizing it. When the issues are clarified, it is easier to become aware of the movement itself, of the wheels in motion—not of what is being churned but of the actual churning itself. When you become aware that you are the machine in action and you are completely convinced that the activity itself is what is churning up problems, only then is it possible for the wheels to stop. When the wheels stop and there is no activity, there is also no defensiveness. You’re not defending yourself in any way because, as we have seen, the very basis of personality activity is defense. When the activity stops, you recognize that most of your thoughts and desires and efforts are resistance and what you have been resisting is the present moment, the now. You realize that the “nowness” and presence are your Beingness. And you begin to experience the presence of the Supreme Being as you, as yourself, in this moment. This experience enables you to see that the activity of resisting the present moment is exactly what has been separating you from Being.

Seeing the Whole Picture in the Present Moment

You might do some work on yourself and have a wonderful experience, a great insight or state. But how do you know that this wonderful experience is what is needed right now? How do you know that the knowledge you think you’re getting will resolve your situation? The flame must continue. The fire of inquiry needs to be fed, needs to grow, to intensify, to deepen. Our inquiry needs to be directed not at trying to reduce it, but to letting it grow. The flame needs to burn away all the rest, to grow until it answers itself by itself becoming the fulfillment. The fire of that inquiry can burn away all the dross, all the resistance, all the ideas, all the accumulation of the past so you can actually see what is really there, the whole picture in the present moment without needing to depend on anything from the past or on anyone else’s experience. When you know in the moment without any influence, then you can completely be alone with your own truth. Without that, it’s obvious that you can’t know with certainty. Only with that certainty can life become significant. If you know, for yourself, who you are, you will know where you are going, and you will be fulfilled.

The Present Moment is Its Own Significance, Its Own Preciousness

In the dimension of Essence there are experiences of self-realization in which meaning is based on the presence of the realized state in the present moment, rather than being based on the future. This eliminates the dependency on the future. Goals and aims become less and less important. In other words, the aim becomes the present moment, and the present moment is its own significance, is its own preciousness. The present moment is not different from the self-realization, which is not different from the self that is realized, which is not different from the reality that is precious. Now the difficulty that I want to talk about here is not the issue of the self-realization itself, but that of permanently establishing the self-realization. The experience of self-realization is not unusual. Many people have it occasionally. However, making that state a station, making it a permanent attainment so that you don’t lose it, is a different story. A bigger story. You can understand the issue somewhat by looking at self-realization from the perspective of the ego.

The Present Moment is the Entry Into the Presence of Being

The most central and basic insight is that of Holy Truth: that the totality of the cosmos is pure existence, pure Being. This means recognizing not only that presence is Essence inside of you, but recognizing that everything is presence. This is what is meant by stating that reality is existence, is Being, is presence. Presence is directly experiential; this presence in the present, in the now, is the meaning of Being. This presence in the now is not the juncture between the past and the future; the present moment is the entry into the presence of Being, but it is not time. Presence exists only in the moment and not in the past or the future. Even physical reality is presence, but we do not ordinarily perceive this because we are looking only at its surface without perceiving its other levels. It is like perceiving only the skin of an onion and eliminating the rest of it, so you take an onion to be brittle and stiff and believe that it has no soft and juicy part. It is interesting that presence or Being is experienced as a nowness, but that this nowness is not a moment of time. The nowness is more of a medium, more of the actual presence, the actual consciousness, the actual substance, of Being. When we realize it is everything that exists, we see that it includes all time. We see, in fact, that it is beyond time, and that time is merely a concept that exists within it.

Facets of Unity, pg. 169

The Present Moment is the Intersection of Time with the Eternal Now

From this we see that our ordinary concept and experience of present time is a reflection of the eternal now. The present moment is the time we experience our presence. Our presence is ultimately the presence of true nature, but we do not see it because we are enraptured by the forms of manifestation, the forms that presence takes. Put differently, we can say that the present moment is the intersection of time with the eternal now. Time touches the now at the present moment, giving us our concept and experience of present time. But this touching expresses the fact that the now touches all time, for it is all time. But it touches all time only at the present of any time. Even though the now holds all time, it has no duration, no time length. Hence, any instant is the present, which is the now, which is all other instants. From this discussion of the reflection of timelessness and spacelessness in the space-time manifest reality, we see that all instants are contained in one instant and all points in one point. This is the most subtle way we can describe the reflection of transcendent true nature in manifestation. If we pursue this line of inquiry, we can only get into deeper paradoxes, but we see at least that
true nature is the experience of boundlessness and nowness in the condition of self-realization.

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