Does the past and future truly exist? What is the nature of time and is it just another illusion swimming in the pool of illusory forms which our three-dimensional world holds? It unquestionably is the most powerful dictator of our world. Einstein said time is merely a human concept used to separate events, so how much can we really benefit from using this concept, collectively and individually? Many would say that we are the most intelligent species on the planet, but it is curious to point out that we are the only species bound by time.
We have discovered that the brain has two hemispheres, left and right, both holding two differing states of mind. The left hemisphere holds thought, logic, reason, language… it’s the voice in our heads, which makes logical sense out of everything we perceive in this world altogether. It processes one thing at a time, more importantly; it is the place which conceives past and future dimensions.
The right hemisphere is all about the here and now moment. It appreciates art, music, imagination, creativity, photographic memory, intuition. It uses feeling rather than logic to understand the world and it can also process more than one thing at a time. This is where moments of epiphany sprout from, and is also a lot more in touch with the heart. If the left hemisphere was to fail, the right would continue to process, and the individual would feel somewhat ‘high’; text would only be squiggles. Language would only sound like differing notes. Should we ridicule a child for not being able to solve a mathematical problem or make sense of letters? Perhaps their true calling lies within the arts, or is better off in a school which focuses on a kinesthetic way of learning.
The left hemisphere is considered male energy as males are naturally more in touch with this side, whereas the right hemisphere is female. Both are as important as each other and when balanced it apprehends more effectively. The world today is governed by the left hemisphere, powering the world by a very dominating male energy. Hence a variety of the male modern-day problems we are facing today and why most politicians are male. The Earth is out of balance and needs it’s polar opposite energy… maybe our politicians could benefit from some right brained thinking. As an experiment we should replace all politicians with women, and maybe we will see more recovery in the world, although women can just be as left brained as a male, vice versa.
When we think of the future, we project our minds out of the present moment, however, when the future arrives it is present. Thus, future must only exist in thought-form, if we did not think – the future wouldn’t exist. You can say the same for the past. So fundamentally, should we be dwelling in past or future dimensions – which most people are in today? It is surely a source of our suffering, because you may have a worrying thought about tomorrow, next week or in a year… but what is wrong with now, at this very moment? Everything is completely fine right? Is there a difference between simply knowing your past and future and learning from them, rather than emotionally attaching and clinging yourself to them? Could this dysfunction day to day activity and well-being as an individual’s presence grows less if they immerse themselves in concerned illusory thought?
In a metaphysical sense, when we are in the past or future, our spirit/awareness actually comes out of our bodies, which is recognized by healers as to why many are prone to catching illness. The more present and the more you are actually inside your body being aware of/feeling it, the healthier you will become. It is known of Zen masters to sneak up on their students and hitting them with a stick; if they jumped they were not in the present moment – spirit/awareness ‘jumps’ back into the body, but if they remained still and calm they were in the present moment.
If the past and future are illusory, then what is present? If one was to immerse themselves fully into the present moment, how could one have worries or anxiety if only past and future manifest these? The mind can make a lot of noise, distracting us from the present moment, so clearing the noise and focusing it on the present moment may be the true reality of time, no time, the timeless state of the mind. “Only the present moment is real, the present moment generates peace thus peace and everything that comes with it are the only things that are real.” The more intensely we are in the present the more we can see through the veils which many religions speak of, which is because we can see more realistically without making mental labeling and judgements. Try looking at your hand without thought; marvel at it like you have never seen it before.
Presence is awareness. It can give a feeling of detachment and creates space between the experience and the experiencer, which places the observer to focus on the ‘background’ of the experience rather than the ‘foreground’ – which occupies most people’s attention. Here is an example of a technique that can make the mind still and present; observe the breath slowly in detail – feel the air move in and out of the nose/mouth moving past the throat and into the lungs, simultaneously feeling the stomach and chest contract and expand. When in complete synchronicity, it gives an intense feeling because it slows down the mind, which is the whole point; because the mind is always racing off and we just can’t keep up, this is what creates stress. The news has been covering a lot lately about how stress and anxiety are great causes of cancer and many other illnesses.
With practice, after focusing on something like your breath for prolonged periods, your brain will switch more to the right side of the brain and you will be able to focus on more than one thing at a time. The secret to this is said that after conceptualizing that everything is one, you realize that nothing is a separate object/event happening separately from ‘the happening’ (the Taoist name for the present moment). You can feel everything going on as one process such as the sensations of your body, sounds you hear, movement of any kind; when the left brain is not labeling all of this with logic the right brain allows you to have first-hand experience and feel the whole process – this is joy.
The present moment has many more benefits such as enlightenment, spiritual inspiration, decision-making, wisdom and understanding, focus and concentration, amplified compassionate awareness, more in tune with emotions and for me, it has helped remarkably with lucid dreaming and astral projection. I will emphasize in part two and discuss a ‘2012’ connection and how in modern day we unknowingly play with the present moment, and we will find techniques on reducing suffering, developing presence and finding yourself.
It’s challenging to articulate the significance of the present moment – words simply do not do it justice as this reality is beyond words. Even as I am an out of body enthusiast, awareness of reality has a much more profound effect on life than a night out of body.
Eckhart Tolle, one of the most inspiring western spiritual teachers and the author of Power of Now, says this state of mind has exceedingly more power over past and future, and we can still create the life we desire by spontaneous decision and intuition. He advises us to grow power of self-observation, looking out for negative thoughts such as ‘what if’ questions – which are future fantasies based in fear. This simple awareness helps with consciously recognizing what we think. The next step is acceptance of what is (even if it seems bad), and after acceptance is choice – should we let our thoughts work in our favour, rather than letting it run our lives?
‘Adrenaline junkies’ are an example of people who want intense experiences. The way they would do this is by things such as mountain climbing, sky diving, drugs, even committing crimes. They become addicted to the feeling because it forces them into the present. When doing these things their right brain becomes amplified, nothing else matters, they live on the edge without a care. However, the left brain eventually takes over and thinks about how amazing it was, and that they should do it again – if only they knew they could live like this all the time. In this sense, Monks and Zen masters are the highest form of adrenaline junkies!
It is known of gurus to ask the student about their belief system to analyze how they conceive the world – basically putting the whole ego out on show. Then the guru would attempt to get the student to try and comprehend reality without his ‘ego reality’. If the student was willing enough to drop the ‘ego reality’ for a moment, then the guru would be successful in the development of the student’s spiritual growth. The purpose of this action is to put the student into a ‘nothingness’ state, any idea the student tries to cling to afterwards is like trying to catch water with a sieve. They find space, it is an opportunity to perceive the world through uncovered eyes – the eyes of a baby, to see reality untainted by thoughts or imagination and to use this place of clarity as a training ground for inner transformation to place, in Zen such an experience could be called Satori. “You cannot transform yourself, but only create space for transformation to take place, out of nothing comes something” – Eckhart Tolle.
Les Fehmi, the author of ‘The Open Focus Brain’ discusses how the power of attention and focus can heal mind and body. He points out that his method of attaining a stress free, healing state of mind consists of going back to our normal, natural, harmonious balanced way of life. In many ways, like a baby would behave. However, in our society, we learn to move away from such a state of mind through beliefs of what is important and what we should be stressing about. Is spaciousness of mind a instinctive state for us? The state of ‘nothingness’? Space is everything, yet it is nothing, and out of nothing comes something, the source of creation. In science, we have discovered all matter is 99.9% empty space. It seems like scientists are just knocking at the door of spiritual truth.
Silent still meditation is like sensory-deprivation. This is an interesting experience, but this is not the point. Go outside for a walk and do it as a meditation, hear sounds and all the sensations you experience keeping in mind that you don’t FEEL the feeling, there just is the feeling. Moreover, become aware of not just external senses but internal such as your emotions, if you are aware and open to all that wants to arise in the present moment and surrender to what is, you can also give way to let your emotions become part of your experience as well. Keeping in mind that there is the experience, and you are the experiencer. A powerful method to amplify the experience is repeating to yourself, “I AM”. It brings a curious feeling of being the experiencer, the ‘I’. As a result, our doing also becomes more effective, even if we do not change what we do… how we do it becomes transmuted into joy and ease.
In relation to the year 2012, the transition of ages, or shift in consciousness; it is said the Earth’s vibrational frequency is quickening, and it is becoming harder for us to keep up with living in the dimension of the mind because it holds a low frequency, whereas it is becoming easier to live in the state of presence, which vibrates at a much higher rate. Consciousness researchers have described this as a new state of consciousness, which is arriving throughout the human psyche. It is here and now in the present moment where we can start to control our world and our destiny as a species. This awakening to reality is a global phenomena – mankind is rising from its dream. We are consciously coming to the realization of the present moment. We will realize that we won’t want to indulge in mindless activity such as consumerism, whether it be vanity, materialism, watching TV and even letting our thoughts drag us along in the day like a dog being seduced by smells.
Many speak of trying to find themselves and their life’s purpose, but it is too easy to find a false sense of self in societies built upon ideas… If you say there is a god that is a concept, if you say there is no god that is also a concept. Making direct experience into the habitual rather than living from hypothesis, belief systems, philosophies, religions – these are all like reality and truth being served to us like a ready-made dish. In the past, we have even seen societies crumble that were built on ideas. The present can’t crumble. The moment we submit to the present. Our new consciousness makes reality the most beautiful part of being human. We are not cut off cells, but constituent parts of a gigantic universal organism which always was, always is and always will be, because that is the very nature of the present, which is with us now. How can we not surrender to it? It is the greater part of us, tuned in to our innermost nature, supporting us as we go about living, we can never be alone. Every moment and form will pass and there is nothing you can hold on to. Nothing repeats itself, every morning is a new experience, and every moment is new, pure and sacred and in every moment and every dark dwelling, there is an opportunity for liberation.
WRITTEN BY: Gene Hart