We’re both nothing and everything in the “here and now”
Whatever you’re experiencing right now is neither right nor wrong, and it doesn’t particularly need to stay as it is, no more than it needs to change. It is what it is.
You are human, an emotional, reflective, individual human being, experiencing life in your own unique way. All ways of being and responses to “how it is” are allowed. You’re equally free to accept this moment as it is, to want it to be different or to try to change it.
You are the first, the last and the only you, so what you think and feel, what you do or don’t do, is completely and totally relevant to you, personally. Yet, paradoxically, there’s no you. You just think and experience yourself that way, as a separate individual “you.” You really are absolutely everything and nothing at all.
There’s nothing you can know outside your perception of this present-moment experience. There’s no outside of you, because everything you perceive as outside can only be observed and known from the inside. So nothing outside of you can exist, and if it does, you can’t know it. It’s all about you; it’s all you.
We make sense of life by perceiving an “out there” and an “in here” and although the outside can only be perceived inside, there is no inside. There’s no separation of outside and inside, for they’re one and the same. Yet there is, has to be, a sense of separation, otherwise there’d be no way to compare anything, no looking over there from here, no reflection, no mirrors, nothing to see, no relating to anyone or anything, not much or even nothing at all. We’re nothing without our sense of separation, our ability to compare and see difference. The birth of creation was the birth of separation.
What’s happening in this moment is perceived and experienced by your apparent separate individual self. You experience and interpret whatever thought is currently thought, whatever emotion and physical sensation is currently felt, whatever information is received. But who’s experiencing that? We don’t know who we are, because we’re no one. There’s nobody there. It really is just here and now—one thought, one feeling, one sensation, one experience at a time—and there is no time.
It might seem shocking to consider that there’s no you and there’s no time. If so, now what?!
What’s happening now keeps changing, moving and flowing, but the here and now doesn’t change. So what exactly doesn’t change? There are only these two constants—here and now. When your priority interest is to connect with the here and the now, you’ll discover that that’s your actual identity, that’s who you are, because here is always here and now is always now, and these two constants are immovable. Nothing else is you.
Recently, I realized that the only thing that’s meaningful to me are my experiences, and the most precious and meaningful experience ever is my present-moment one. That’s where it all happens, it’s all there is, so it’s the only thing that’s meaningful and of value. Our present-moment experience is all there is. There’s nothing else.
You can’t separate yourself from the present moment
Trust that you’re always where you’re supposed to be, because there’s nowhere else to go. If you move over there or stay where you are, whether you stay or go, that becomes what you were supposed to do.
How do you know that you’re where you’re supposed to be? Because that’s where you are! If you stay, you were supposed to stay, if you go you were supposed to go and if you come back you were supposed to come back.
You may wish there was a right decision and that you could find it, but there isn’t. There’s only where you are, and wherever you go, you’re always here. You can’t get it right and what you do is never wrong. Stand still and it’ll all come to you, or run hard on life’s treadmill, which’ll take you to where you already are.
A friend of mine went to India to find himself. He travelled thousands of kilometres on an airplane. When it landed, he walked off the plane onto the tarmac, and there he was. He was the same person, but now in India, creating his story of “when I went to India.”
Don’t you see? Everything happens right here and right here is where you are. You can’t be anywhere else. Every single moment of your life, you were always right there, right where it happened. You’re here now, exactly where it’s happening. Whether you go or stay, you’re always right on point and centre stage in the story of your life, as there’s nowhere else to go, nowhere else you can be.
You don’t have to get to somewhere you’re not. You don’t need to try to be here, now. You don’t have to find the moment, you don’t have to be in the moment. You don’t have to do that anymore, because you are the here and you are the now. That’s who you are. You’re not in the moment, you are the moment. You’re a manifestation of now.
There isn’t a “you” in the moment because you are the moment. You and the moment can’t be separated. There’s no you, but there is the moment and that’s who you are.
There’s a quick way to test whether or not you can separate yourself from the moment. Right now, try to not be in the moment, try to get out of the moment. Try to be elsewhere, to escape from it. If you find yourself somewhere else, I’d love to know where you are, as there’s nowhere else to go.
Where you are, right now, is the only place you can be. You simply can’t be anywhere else besides where you are, and you can’t get out of this moment, as there’s no other time outside of now. You are where you are and the clock has stopped. The time is, always and forever, now.
There’s no ticking clock, as we’re all in this very precise yet indefinite moment. We are it, we’re this moment and all it contains, which is only everything. Where’s the separation in that? You are that, we all are.
Unconditional awareness is always here, regardless of what we do
Somewhere along the line I realized that I’m not my thinking mind, and that gave me freedom and liberation from seeking freedom and liberation. Freedom and liberation from what, you ask? There’s nothing to be free of or liberated from.
I remember the times when I earnestly tried, with all of my heart, to be fully aware of and totally in the moment. This was a time before I realized that no matter what I did, an underlying awareness is always here, anyway. At that time I wasn’t aware that the awareness I was looking for is permanently here and all that changes is my own awareness of awareness, or my own consciousness of consciousness.
I remember the time when I looked into the mirror to shave and decided to be “fully present, fully mindful” as I did so. I was trying so hard to be relaxed, easy, at peace, aware, attentive, without thought and fully present. In the midst of me being fully and totally present, I felt a little sharp pain and saw blood appear on my face as I accidentally cut myself, something I rarely or never do when shaving unaware, on automatic pilot.
I remember a summer’s day when I mindfully placed my cellphone on top of my car, precisely noticing what I’d done, reminding myself that I was mindfully aware. On this particular day, I was going for permanent mindful awareness, which, back then, tended to be referred to as “being fully present.”
I was determined to become the guy who became permanently “fully present.” A few minutes after mindfully placing my cellphone on top of my car while being “fully present,” I drove away completely unaware that my phone was still where I’d left it, on the roof of my car. I never did see that phone again.
Unconditional awareness watched it all. It watched me struggling and trying with all that I am to be what I already was. A fully present unconditional awareness watched this poor man trying so hard to be fully present and in the moment.
Of course, at that time, I didn’t realize that present-moment unconditional awareness is already here, always. I didn’t understand that I’m an actual manifestation of the present moment, that the present moment is me. I didn’t realize that it’s not possible to become fully present or find the moment because I am it. I am, and you are, the very presence that we seek.
Just be with “what is”—whatever it is
I hope you’ve realized by now that you don’t need to seek anymore. Just be interested in being with what is, right here, right now, because that’s all there is. There’s nothing else.
What you want and don’t want, what you like and don’t like, and all emotions, even the so-called negative ones, can be here. It wouldn’t make sense to say that certain thoughts and feelings shouldn’t be here, or that what happened shouldn’t have happened. We’re even allowed to to try and be fully present as we cut ourselves shaving and “mindfully” lose our phones!
What’s here in your present-moment experience is supposed to be here. We know that because it is here. The reality of the present-moment experience can’t be argued with, because it is what it is and can’t be any other way.
Of course, no one wants to feel “negative” emotions, nor do they want something unpleasant to happen to them. Can you stay open to and be with your non-acceptance of “what is”? If non-acceptance of “what is” happens to be there for you, there’s no need to deny it or make your thoughts and feelings “wrong.” Cry, scream, or blame God or “them” if you want.
You can liberate yourself, right now, from thinking you should be mindfully aware and fully present. All you need do is be here now, where you already are, and just be with what is, whatever it is.
Practicing mindfulness: It’s about noticing, rather than accepting
Mindfulness isn’t mindful change and it’s not about either “doing” or “not-doing.” Mindfulness isn’t even mindful acceptance. It’s noticing the way it is and noticing yourself finding acceptance in that or not.
Mindfulness is all about noticing, not acceptance. Awareness is unconditional and has no interest in our acceptance or non-acceptance, or in our ideas about what awareness is or how we should be.
Awareness has no interest in wanting things to stay the same or change. The concept of wanting is inconceivable to awareness. Wanting and not-wanting, along with acceptance and non-acceptance, are mind-made human concepts and ideas that have nothing whatsoever to do with mindful awareness.
This is beyond the personal or the individual, but experienced personally by the individual—yet there’s no one here to experience it. It’s madness, isn’t it? Try and lose yourself in awareness, try not to exist as a separate human being and here you are. You’re no one, you’re someone and you’re everyone. Accept that you don’t know, can’t know who you are. It’s OK.
The practice of mindfulness—life—is all about noticing where you are and noticing the time. This is fixed and unmovable. You’re here (where you are) and the time is now (always).
Mindfulness is also about noticing what’s happening and what you’re doing. This has limitless variables and unlimited possibilities. What you’re doing and what’s happening could literally be anything.
The here and now is awareness and all of that is you. Awareness wants nothing but is the space for everything. The infinite moment doesn’t want anything to go and it’s not waiting for anything to change. It wants what’s here to be here and wants what goes to go.
You are the here and you are the now. Within that, just notice what’s happening and how that is for you.
The only place to be is here, now, and the only thing to do is notice.