Now is the only time there is. Everything else is either past or future.
These statements might seem a bit obvious but I’ve been thinking about what ‘now’ is and what ‘now’ means in the way I’m living my life.
(For some of you, this might be one of those blog entries that you want to skip, unlike or delete… but indulge me. I think we might be on to something here. Something about living… and something about spirituality).
Its easy to agree that now is the present moment. This instant is now. Now is happening right here and right now.
Now can never be in the past. All the yesterdays of weeks, months and years… everything that’s already happened before is not now.
Now is not the past.
Now can also never be the future. All the tomorrows of dreams, affirmations and hopes… all that’s yet to happen is also not now.
Now is not the future.
So if now is neither past nor future then now seems to be all that I have in this present moment. This is it. Now is all I’ve got.
Sometimes when I pray/meditate, I use “now” as my mantra. It seems sometimes it works and helps me focus my attention and intention… but other times when I am just too distractable or busy in my head, heart, body or soul… the now mantra doesn’t work.
Now. Now. Now. Now. Now. Now. Now. Now. Now.
So the reason for this post is that I’mm beginning to believe that now does not get nearly the respect it seems to deserve.
Indeed, now’s implications are pretty amazing. Consider this:
If the past is over, gone, finished, complete, done, no more, dead…
and if the future is not yet, still to become, all what might be next but not yet arrived… seems like the significance of now just got huge.
Now is all there is. Now is all I’ve got. Now is it.
Gestalt psychologists are intricately focused on the now in their understanding of the present – the here and now. Human wholeness and our quest for meaning is found in the present moment; always in the now. Ram Dass even wrote a whole book about now which I should probably read. Others seem to be contemplating now as well.
Now offers a kind of redemption. I can redeem myself from the now’s of yesterday. I also have the opportunity to save myself from needing redemption from the now’s of tomorrow. Indeed, greater awareness, better choices, right living – this all suggests that while I am ever leaving now and ever arriving at another now – I have lots more power and control in my life than perhaps I want to admit.
Now provides for another kind of redemption: the redemption that comes from our ability to forgive ourselves and others. I can forgive my past. I can forgive the way I’ve acted and reacted in the past. I can forgive others. While forgiveness does not change my past because the past cannot be changed. As I change my now, I can change my perception of the past.
I am NOT saying that there is anything inherently wrong with appreciating the past, maintaining an historical perspective or learning from previous successes and failures. Indeed, every now has a context. Contexts are along the spiritual journey.
I am also NOT saying that there is anything wrong with goal setting, wise planning or thoughtful contingency strategies.
However, sometimes I spend way too much time remembering… and just as much way too much time anticipating… all at the expense of my now.
So many distractions… so little time. The competition for my attention is fierce in this age of communication and messaging.
Preoccupation with the past can contribute to depression while reinforcing old regrets, guilt and remorse. Preoccupation with the future can support anxiety, projection and easily lend credence to the illusion that we have time. Maybe its tragic… maybe its just part of the pain of human suffering Buddha told us about – our human condition – but we cannot change the past nor can we change the future. We can only change now.
My meditation and prayers are showing me daily that I don’t have time. Living now is all there is. Now provides me with profound possibilities to be; to be more; to be less… to change. After all, change is the prime directive.
Now affords me continuous possibilities to see opportunities disguised as loss, pain and grief.
I invite you to consider your ‘now’ and what you might need to do to adjust your perceptions of your past and your future.. so that you can make your now the most it can be.
Now is the time.
As always, I welcome your comments and feedback. Blessings!