What is Now?
What time is it now on your watch? Is it 6PM? Would you call it as “Now”? But one hour later when it is 7PM it can still be called “Now”. Go forward 10 days and you can still call that as “Now”. Heck, by the time you say the word “Now”, the now might have moved a couple of seconds. I am writing this now, but you will read it later which is now for you. So when exactly is now? If you think about it, our past, present and future is nothing but an infinite string of “Now” – Now, Now, Now, Now …! It has always been now and only now has existed in real and nothing else.
What about the past and future? Where are they?
The past is not going to be found outside. You can find its imprints but that’s it, there is no secret place where they keep re-enacting our past. The past is in your memory. We remember things and that is how we relate to the past.
- We love the good things of the past and we want to repeat that experience and we also hate the bad things and we don’t want them to happen. This is when we intensely pray God! We pray to God that we don’t want old bad things to happen again to us. But they happen to us anyway and then we say “Why God Why!”.
- The opposites of life makes sure that if you get something good, you also get something equally bad. So if you want something better from the past, you will have to accept something worse too. It goes on in a vicious cycle and if you believe in re-incarnation we continue this ignorantly in our next life.
- The Past should be used only for learning and for guidance. You have to totally understand that what worked in the past may not work in the present moment, lest you want to end up in that vicious cycle.
So where is the future then? I have no idea! According to what I have read, there is an infinite cosmic mind and it contains possibilities of the future. Let it be so or Let it not be so, but our point has been that we always worry about our future. We have to earn enough money so that we can live a peaceful life in future. We have so many dreams built up, believing on a future that is yet to happen. We work with the financial adviser and chart out a really intelligent plan which is based on the “Stock Market” and add hope to the equation. When our hopes shatter, we blame it on the Society or Government or we get angry with our Gods. Well, Future is always going to be full of surprises.
The Surprises of Life
I will share with you a short Zen story I read.
A student goes to stay with a master to learn fencing. For the first week, the master asks the student to completely do only the household chores like cooking, washing, cleaning and serve the master. The master treated him like dirt. Apart from this, the master began to attack him with a stick every now and then randomly. The student would go to the kitchen and he would be attacked, he would go to the bedroom and he would be attacked. Every time the student kept track of which places he hides and he would become alert there. But the master kept using new hiding places and surprised him everyday. The student finally gave up, he left all the memory of the hiding places. He became completely alert wherever he went and was always ready for a surprise attack. The next morning when he went inside the kitchen, he immediately defended the surprise attack in the blink of an eye. The master said “Now you are ready to learn!”.
The experiences of the past makes us more alert and this is the learning we have to carry. Be aware at all the times, because life is full of surprises. It doesn’t mean you have to live in fear, it just means awareness or alertness. It was not the past solution of keeping track of the hiding places that helped him, but the new solution of acting out of alertness in the moment that helped him. Your alertness decreases when you worry about the past and dream about the future all the time. When you be in the moment, your alertness naturally follows. For learning more about Awareness, I found the book – Awareness By OSHO to be very informative.
Tuning into the moment
What does this mean? Shall we all stop doing what we are doing and just go live in the moment, partying all the time? That’s not only impractical, it is also stupid. So don’t get carried away when people want you to live in the moment. Think what it means.
It means that, continue doing whatever you are doing, but the only focus should be on what you are doing right now with complete awareness.
When the Zen Master eats, he just eats. But when we eat we do the following:
2. Think about stuff.
3. Worry about stuff.
4. Criticize the food.
5. Count the calories.
6. Keep track of the time, so you eat fast.
Basically we do everything but eating. Passively eating and actively engaged in other stuff. If we do the reverse, Consciously eat and let the other stuff just float by like clouds. When you consciously eat, you will automatically relax and eat slowly. You will be more in the moment. This is actually easier said than done. I have been trying this for the past few weeks (struggling, with stupid jokes flowing during serious contemplative moments!) and I am hoping that I will get a hang of it someday.
So What happens if you are in the now? You tune yourself with the Universe. You will begin to exist with the flow of nature, establish a deep harmony. When you are in the now, a lot of questions get answered automatically. It is like answers flow as thoughts from the silence of your mind automatically with no effort. The entire Universe is in Meditation and when we tune ourselves into it, we are naturally in the meditative state.
I also learned that any technique of meditation only helps you to be in the meditative state. It is just the beginning and it has to be like that all the while during the day even when we don’t practice the technique. The more things I get to know, the more ignorant I feel.
So Let’s Just be.