Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Eliminating Time

Quote from A New Earth:

"You cannot make the egoless state into a future goal and then work toward it... because it will always seem that you have not arrived yet... Look carefully to find out if your spiritual search is a disguised form of ego. Even trying to get rid of your “self” can be a disguised search for more if the getting rid of your “self” is made into a future goal". - P 206

When reading the quote above under Eliminating Time, I reread that first paragraph three times, with the full meaning hitting home harder and harder each time, taking me into wakefulness, as if I were watching a movie of my hands holding the book and the print on the page. A sense of joy pervaded me, as well as a little fear of the unknown. I realized that I had indeed made my quest for truth, to be free of ego, into just another obstacle to finding it. I realized that I could never find it if I was in search of it. It’s right here. Just step out of time.

Upon later observation I found that I unknowingly spend a great deal of my time thinking about what I’m going to say or do at some point, and wondering what to do or say next, what might happen if I do it next, what other people (or dogs) think of me, how I’m shaping that image, what’s expected of me, why I do these things, etc. I’m always looking for distractions to avoid being fully present, even if those distractions involve ways to get to the present moment. Lost in thought or doing, but not in what I’m doing right Now. Touching presence periodically but not committing. Where am I now? Words that help pull me back to center.

"So instead of adding time to yourself, remove time. The elimination of time from your consciousness is the elimination of ego. It is the only true spiritual practice... What we are speaking of is the elimination of psychological time, which is the egoic mind’s endless preoccupation with past and future and its unwillingness to be one with life by living in alignment with the inevitable isness of the present moment." - P 207

After reading this I stopped and tried to feel what that actually meant. I asked myself, "What would it be like if there was only now?" Rather than try to answer it with thoughts, I just experienced what life would be like if there was only Now. There is no past. There is no future. No yesterday or tomorrow. Any thoughts that arise regarding either are arising now. There is no five minutes from now. Only Now. I repeated to myself, "There is only Now," as I continued to walk, wash my hands, etc., knowing that each step I was taking was in the Now. Each thing I looked at I was looking at Now. The words I am typing I am typing Now.

Though the full impact of these connections may only be felt for a brief while, it is an exercise that can be done at any time and I highly recommend you give it a try. Feel what it would be like if there was only ever Now. Everything else is a figment of your imagination.

There is only now. Just immerse yourself in it.


Trey said...

I can connect with the present moment for short intervals throughout each day, but it is sometimes easier than others. It takes practice since we have been identified with our thoughts for so many years, but it does get easier with practice. The key is not to get frustrated when it seems hard to do.

I've been trying to take mental notes on what makes it easier for me and those mental notes are typically what take me out of the Now. So it is a bit of a double edged sword, but one that I hope will allow me to share with others some techniques that might help them connect with the Now.

One way I have done this is to either look out a window or stand outside looking at some trees, or the forest, or whatever happens to be in the surrounding area, inside or out. Then I ask myself, "What if I had never seen this before and this was the first time in my life I had ever laid eyes on this? What would it look like to eyes that had never seen such a thing?" Then I look around at everything in that context, as if it were all totally new to me. I allow a sense of awe and wonderment to fill my body over the miracle that I am witnessing, letting that sweep over me and fill me with warmth. If thoughts arise, I am the witness of those thoughts and don't follow them. I let them fall by the wayside and continue to focus on the totally new and foreign sites as I look around.

It is helpful if/when thoughts come to stop and ask, "Where am I?" rather than getting caught up in the story. I stay with it for as long as I can and just enjoy the feeling while it lasts. Distractions ultimately pop up that take away attention, but the more times we can do that, the easier it gets.

Another thing that helps is to focus all of my attention on every step I take while going to the kitchen, walking across a room, pouring a glass of water, etc. I may not feel the same warm and tingly feeling I often get from other experiences of the present moment, but it is still a state of limited or no thought. When you are present in what you are doing, you are not focused on the future or past. Every little bit helps and makes it easier.

Anonymous said...

I have so self-saturated with ET in the past couple of years that I thought the material had lost its power to shift me significantly. What a potent surprise, then, to read an excerpt you sent (printed at the library and tucked into a bag for later), when I was in the midst of a difficult self-imploded numbed space. I was SO happy to have something from ET to "distract" me from the shut-down. And then I read it, and read it, and read it. Slowly the thick energy armoring began to lighten, to crack, to evaporate as I followed your meditation to keep asking those questions about Now. It was a mini-rebirth, right there in the chair. I am so grateful to you, to ET, to me, and to all the guidance that kept urging me on, reminding my dimmed self of the possible miracles for me in ET's work. Thank you, and blessings as you continue to devote your life force to creating new possibilities for these miracles to blossom. I love the smile I'm smiling Now, as I write this.