Be Here Now

The Time, Space, Knowledge vision offers a new way to “Be Here Now”—a way that runs deeper and wider than what is possible when we look through the eyes of an embodied self.
Ram Dass, who made this phrase a mantra for the ‘60’s, shared his life-affirming vision with a new generation of seekers, as has Eckhart Tolle in his book, “The Power of Now.” In providing an alternative to the inertial forces that undermine our confidence, Ram Dass and Tolle lighten the load of our society’s mindless materialism.
But reading “The Power of Now”, after years of exploring the nature of time as presented in the TSK vision, I felt that something was missing in Tolle’s ‘Now’. Not for him personally. His description of that fateful night, when he fell through the bottom of his conditioned existence, is breath-taking and rings true. But as a communicated vision of a more abundant kind of time, his ‘Now’ sometimes feels like a destination in itself. TSK points out that having any pre-established goal, including that of developing an intense feeling of presence in the ‘Now’, confirms the narrow perspectives of a self, as it clings to the life-raft of its moment in time. Singling out any moment, such as ‘Now’, limits our perspective to a particular ‘here’ and to a particular point along a sequence of moments.
Time is not just one moment. In order to claim our inheritance as beings embodied in time, we need to open to the whole sweep of time, while honoring our special relationship to the present in which we live.
Identifying a present ‘moment’ as our exclusive entry point into other times—through memory and expectation—we may inadvertently shut the door on the mists and bird-songs wafting in from other temporal realms. As long as our conditioned selves are calling the shots, everything that attracts our attention will be part of a two term relationship: subject and object, perceiver and perceived, here and there, then and ‘Now’. Like customs officials who turn away any ship that cannot produce a manifest and docking permit, we may be overlooking the richer bounty of the sea herself.
Reflecting on this tendency to objectify and polarize, I notice my own infatuation with a future that beckons from outside an open door. Perhaps we need some kind of metaphor to invoke a greater “reality” that is just a step away. But that step is the issue. If we are busy ‘being’ ‘here’ ‘Now’, we may fail to notice that we are already the beneficiaries of a greater ‘being’ in the openness of a greater space (a spaciousness embracing all here’s and all there’s) and that we are animated by a greater time (a time permeating all “Now’s” and all when’s).

4 comments to “Be Here Now”
  1. Hi Michael:

    Nice post. You’ve got me more and more interested in TSK. I’m familiar with the notion that once we have defined a goal, we are already off the path, as we are seeking a specific end, and therefore perhaps not open to other possible ends. This reminds of the book “Being Nobody, Going Nowhere,” that I read in 2006, the year I moved to NS. Perhaps time to read it again.

    I did read Ekhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now,” shortly after it was published. I specifically remember thinking it was interesting reading about his transformation, but that he failed to provide many clues as to how those of us who have not experienced this transformation could be transformed. Maybe time to read that again too, in more depth this time.



  2. Hi Paul,
    How nice to communicate with you on this blog. It allows for a friendly exchange on a theme I have already told myself is of interest to me. One of the aspects of the Time, Space, Knowledge vision is that it doesn’t really exclude the habits of daily life as being inherently mistaken or harmful. About goals, I suspect that none of us can eliminate them from our lives without becoming a jelly fish bobbing in the surf. I did that with a gallon of Saint Georges fortified wine inside me once in Chandler, Gaspe, mercifully many decades ago, and am not sure I’m ready to recommend it as a way of life. What may be more useful is to notice ourselves pursuing a goal and perhaps realize hat we don’t have to be quite so dead-earnest about it. It’s just what we do as a human being trying to get by in the modern world. And if we can look outside those goals, or through the definitions that determine those goals, perhaps they will lighten and even become transparent. –Michael

  3. The essay about being here now points out the limitation of advice – if you try to get there, you are trying! Consciousness seems to come in a way that does not depend on attempts to be in readiness for it, but in the way that makes sense to each person, along the path they paved. It comes to each of us, and belongs to each of us alone, with the realization we are never alone. The best way to be may be, as anecdotal evidence suggests, to do your duty to yourself as best you can, and in so doing, act as you would for yourself to the widening circles of humanity outward from you, your family, your community, everyone, in this moment, the only moment we have: we call it “Now.”

  4. Good Morning, Dan.
    I feel a similar emphasis to the one you have expressed: we can start from our interests, from our allegances, and from whatever moves us, and widen out from there. And if we add to that widening perpective the desire to treat others as we “would for ourselves”, then perhaps we can move out from the small world of the self in two ways: our mind noticing more; and our heart moving in rhythm with other hearts.

    It’s probably more a question of words choosen than an actual difference in understanding, but when you add to your exploration of how consciousness arises and blossoms, the phrase: “belongs to each of us alone’, you give me an opportunity to share that in the Time, Space, Knowledge vision, the sense of ownership and of separation is constantly being challenged. There is no refutation of the desire to be responsible for our actions or of honoring that we have been granted the instrument of human consciousness. However in the TSK vision an alternative is proposed to the conviction that our human consciousness is confined within our small selves and that our sense of responsibility and affiliation must be limited to our accidental conditioning and its narrow perspective on the vastness of all there is.

    As a fellow lover of language, you might be interested in a consonance I noticed the other day. It was in the context of the notion that we live in a substantial world, with all it’s stubborn inflexibility and intractable resistance to our wish to be more open and free, that I noticed that the words ‘substance’ and ‘understanding’ both literally mean ‘standing underneath”:.

    Sub is Latin for under
    stance means how we are standing
    therefore sub-stance and under-stand are essentially the same word (although they have very different connotations in daily speech).

    This can alert us to how the conviction that we live in a substantial realm is really an interpretation to some more internal understanding (which we project outwards onto appearance). This needn’t throw us into some philosphical idealism (so that we leap to the equally arbitrary assertion that the world is merely what we dream it to be), but we may ponder that we live in a mystery–both inside and outside of our selves–and we have learned to find what we expect to find. Perhaps a great sense of relief can arise if we acknowledge that we really don’t know and that our lives can be an adventurous exploration of that non-knowing.

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