Be Here Now, declares the title of Ram Dass’ seminal work. But what does Be Here Now mean? It seems wherever one looks, they will find the mindfulness trend encouraging one to be present, to be in the here and the now. I think it is more than that. The goal isn’t to just be present but to use that presence to bring a wiser, more discerning set of choices to our experience.
David Foster Wallace describes this choice to move away from our habitual set of reactive patterns in This Is Water, embedded below. I also highly recommend the 22-minute version which doesn’t have the video accompaniment but builds on the themes of the edited clip below:
I can be present while try to ignore or compartmentalize my regrets of the past or my fear of the future. That will only get me so far. But to be fully present, we must include the past, the present and the future in conversation. We must include the pleasant, the unpleasant and the neutral. In meditation, we can do this by allowing our experience to unfold with a curiosity. You might try it out below or find this and other meditations on the Your Mindful Coach Podcast on iTunes..
Mary Oliver’s poem, Messenger, begins, “My work is loving the world.” This work, she writes, “which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.” Seeing the world with fresh eyes instead of our natural default setting where we are the center of the universe and any roadblock in the way is a global conspiracy primed to keep us from getting what we want.
We can only really do that in the present.