The three scariest words

I first discovered these three scary words back in 1979 while on a visit to India. Here and now. Scary, you say? Come on. What’s scary about here and now? On the surface absolutely nothing, until you try living it that is.

I had been dabbling with meditation before going to India. I remember going to a meditation class where the teacher was a follower of Sri Chinmoy. It was suggested that I sit in front of Sri Chinmoy’s photo and meditate, unfocused upon that image and watch what happens. Nothing much did, but at least I tried. This was the beginning of my efforts.

I’m going to skip how I ended up in India because that is a whole other story.

The focus of going to India was an opportunity to “work on myself” and find out whom Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh was. You will not find that name mentioned much any more simply because it was changed to Osho in 1989. I knew him as Bhagwan. I know that he was not the first person to say the words, here and now, but it was through his words and the experiences of doing his meditations and workshops that I discovered their true meaning and what it felt like to actually be here and now. I also came to experience the true essence of fear.

By definition here and now means to be totally in the present. That means not thinking of the past and not projecting into the future. Sounds simple enough. Try it. Try being totally here and now. The mind, I discovered, is not capable of being in the present. It only thinks of the past and the future. What you did yesterday or what you will worry about in the future. Yet we only exist in the present. Your body only lives in the present. It eats and sleeps in the present. You may think about what you want to eat, but you eat it in the present. So what is there to be afraid of?

How long can you remain in the present? Five seconds? Fifteen seconds? A minute before you become lost in some thought of something you have to do tomorrow or a reminder that you are angry with someone because of what happened yesterday. To remain totally in the present means to give up worrying about an unknown future or dreaming of what you want to do. To be totally here means to give up constantly remembering what you once did. The past and future define who we are. Our mind either projects or remembers. Yet we only exist in the present moment. Life only happens now. The remainder is dreaming.

What a conundrum!

Try it. Just sit still and try to dissolve into this moment where nothing exists except the here and now. Try very hard. Then see whether you are afraid. After all, if you are sitting here silently, then who are you? You might feel useless because you are not doing something. Yes enjoying a peaceful moment is a pleasure, but for how long? How long can anyone enjoy a peaceful moment? Imagine if everyone did nothing except enjoy peaceful moments all the time. Nothing would ever get done. And there would probably be nothing to fight for either. If you are truly hear and now, you are not thinking about these things, because you are not thinking.

You might be sitting quietly, doing an hour-long meditation, just watching your breath. Totally relaxed. But are you totally here and now? Can you sit in meditation for a complete hour without thinking? Highly doubtful. You are told to watch your thoughts or train your thoughts or repeat a mantra. Can you watch your thoughts for an hour without getting caught up in at least one thought? Almost no one is capable of doing that. It would be an amazing experience if you could. Then you would be here and now.

But how about being here and now twenty-four hours a day every day? They say a Buddha can do just that. They say that is what enlightenment is.

Feel the presence

Wait silently with anything, and you will discover a new phenomenon which was always there, but of which you were not alert – not aware of it. Your mind will become completely silent as you feel the presence of the ever-living existence. You will be just a part in it, just a note in the great symphony. No burden, no tension...the drop has fallen into the ocean. ~ Osho

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