Back in 1971 I became fascinated with a book called “Be Here Now!” It was written by the Western born spiritual teacher Ram Dass. As I remember, the point of that book was to “live in the present moment”. This seemed a strange idea. Isn’t that where we always are? Almost twenty years later in 1997, Eckhart Tolle’s book “The Power of Now” arrived on the scene, with the same teaching. At first the reactions were the same, like dah what is he talking about! Where else am I besides here and now? Yet as an example of an evolutionary trend, this idea has gone viral. By 2009 over 3 million copies of Tolle’s book were sold.
I see this ability as one of the major shifts in human consciousness and an important step in human evolution. Yet, we begin to understand the difficulty of this. We recognize that we often don’t like where we are, right now, and try to rush to the future. Or we like where we are and try to hold on to what is going on right now, which lands us in the past. We spend our “now” time thinking about the future or the past, missing what is right in front of us.
But why bother “being here now”, what’s the point? It appears that when we are actually very engaged with all our senses, are curious and fascinated, aware and interested we actually feel good! Not only that, but we seem to get more access to our intuition and increase our ability to see connections. This is easier to do when we are in a new situation where so many interesting things catch our eye – like when on vacation. But we can also experience this in our daily lives by activating and using our senses more. We can become more aware of any sounds around us and pay attention to details that we take for granted. To do this we must let go of our analytical mind a bit and allow another part of the brain to come forth. You may discover that this is when life feels most juicy and satisfying.
The ability to be in the present is often referred to as “Mindfulness” these days and a Google search on it will bring up about 16 million results. Perhaps we are naturally seeking to expand our ability to do this because, among the other advantages I have named, it increases our potential to be open to the “unknown” which is a a distinct evolutionary advantage in a changing world.
This stunning video with the poetic voice of Brother David Steindl-Rast captures our attention and bring us into the “NOW”.