The Present Moment Is Not A Point In Time
by JAREK CZECHOWICZ
When thinking of the present moment, the now, most people imagine a fleeting point in time, where the future, as potential or probability, arises into the present and then becomes the past. The assumptions are that the future exists in some latent form, and that the present becomes the past. These two most common and basic assumptions are incorrect.
The past is a thought, like a dream, in memory and the future is a thought, like a dream, in imagination. Both have a sense of reality only when you think of them.
This present moment is not a point in time; it is the source of what you think to be the past, present and future, and the source of space and time. If you want to know the very limits of the universe you need not go very far. Infinity ends here, here and now. Not the here located in front of your physical body, or the now of any time-keeping system, but the here and now that is behind your knowing, your awareness.
In the deepest sense, here is the same as now, and here is not a point in space, just as now is not a point in time. The here and now is the eternal wellspring of creation, and your seemingly personal life is a unique emanation of eternity.
Concealing your oneness with everything is your thinking. This is not inherently negative, no more than consciousness or awareness can be negative, but thinking can initially be a significant obstacle to knowing your true nature.
Consider what happens when you think. Do you actually think or do you think that you think? Most people will say, Of course I think! And many will dismiss the question as being utterly absurd. Yet it might prompt some to notice their thinking, and more than that, to notice the stillness within. When you look more deeply within yourself the light of awareness shines more brightly through your being.
Whenever thoughts arise, your attention becomes absorbed in them, and everything you think about seems important. The cost of thinking to the individual is at best a mix of pleasure, imperfection, and incompletion, and at worst suffering. Nothing manifests exactly as imagined, and if it does, then it does not last. Nothing is remembered exactly as it happened, and there is always more that needs to be known, or experienced.
If you think without being present, that is without awareness, then you succumb to suffering, and this is the condition of much of humanity. As soon as you become fully present to what is happening, then you cease to exist as an individual personality. Through presence you increasingly know yourself to be an integral part of whatever is happening, which is an expression of your natural state of being.
You are stillness itself, and creation is changing around you. It seems as though you are moving because you identify strongly with your body, but you are still, and your body is moving. It seems as though your mind is busy because you identify strongly with your thoughts, but you are still, and your thoughts are transforming. Identify with consciousness and you might even believe that you are an enlightened person. Everything is changing, and you are still.
To be an individual in the world is to be dependant on all of creation. Your personal actions are like the movements of a wave, seemingly independent, yet caused by the movement of the entire ocean. You are divided from creation, this ocean of light, by nothing more than lines of thought.
Ideas depend on lines; imaginary lines that divide one thing into many, lines that enclose, lines that keep one category apart from another. Look closely at the lines in these written words, and then look at the many formless shapes in between those lines. You will recognise one or two shapes but the remaining forms have no name.
Reality does not obey the laws of grammar or science, nor does it always coincide with our ideals of what should or should not be happening. Our thoughts are particular aspects of everything that is arising. From where does all this thought arise? Like all of reality it arises from the here and now, from silence, from stillness, from ever-present awareness, from this present moment.
Your experience of reality depends on how you inhabit your mind. You can see yourself as an individual seeking out personal relationships and conditions that will offer security against an uncertain or hostile world, or you can see yourself as a wave on an infinite ocean of shimmering light.
Can you imagine that the waves on the ocean might one day become the ocean? They are already the ocean. Can you imagine that you might one day enter eternity? You are the eternal, and this present moment is timeless.
In thought we are different, in awareness we are one.