Being in the present moment is a common intention now for many on the spiritual path. Many years ago Ram Dass wrote a book on this goal called “Be Here Now”. There are many other books on this subject, the most popular of which is Eckhart Tolle’s book “The Power of Now”. All these books extol the value of letting go of the past and the future and dwelling in the now. When we can do this, we always find the experience beautiful, expansive, peaceful, and wakeful.
But what do we do when the present moment is not so pleasant?
Well one thing that doesn’t work, which I have heard many people do, is to blame ourselves for not being spiritual enough. eg. “There must be something wrong with me because I am feeling sad and I cannot stop thinking about ________ (insert the subject).” Or we try to keep pushing aside the surfacing material by focusing on the breath or a mantra or whatever meditation technique we are using.
If we are not successful we just add frustration to our self-judgment. So what do we do when the past or future infiltrates the present and the monkey mind becomes the gorilla mind?
Here’s 3 options:
1. Self- Inquiry.
- Drop the focus of your meditation technique and use the arising material as your focus.
- Sit with all the thoughts and sensations and switch to self-inquiry by noting all the sensations in your body eg. the location, shape, color, weight, mass. texture, etc, and the feelings: eg sadness, anger, fear, guilt, regret, grief, etc
- Begin asking the sensations and emotions questions like What is this all about? When did these begin? What happened then? What must I be thinking to feel this way? What is really true?
- Go back and forth between sensing, feeling, and questioning until there is an insight about the material and you are feeling calmer.
- Let go of your meditation technique and allow yourself to experience all the phenomena (emotions and sensations) that are stuck in you. To the best of your ability let the feelings in.
- Let the expression of the feelings happen: collapse and cry in sadness or grief, punch the air in anger, shake with fear. The feelings will reach a peak, subside, and then clear. You will feel washed and clean.
- New understandings almost always appear. Peacefulness will come to your mind later and you will be more able to dwell in the now.
3. Get Help
- Instead of thinking that meditation will solve all your problems, seek out help in coaching, counseling, or psychotherapy.
- A short-term dose of help in 3 - 10 sessions can clear away, what years of meditation cannot accomplish. Then you will find you can drop the past and the future and show up more in the present.
Sometimes we need to get out of the now, for a short time to get back into the now.
If you need more information on getting help check out INsight Coaching (Clearing)
and book a Free 40 minute Breakthrough session at the bottom of that page.
(I offer 8 free sessions a month.)
If you are interested in learning more about applying the self-inquiry technique, attend the upcoming ClearMind - PureHeart meditation, yoga, and sound healing retreat,
This is one of the meditation techniques you will learn.
About the Author:
Russell Scott is one of the new generation of "no dogma teachers". He is the former owner of the Ecology Retreat Centre in Ontario Canada where he pioneered programs in green building, sustainable living, permaculture and spirituality. He has led hundreds of self-inquiry retreats in Canada for the past 35 years. As a “self-realization guide” he has assisted 1000’s of people in his one-to-one and group programs break through past limitations and inner sabotage so that they can walk in the beauty, honesty and magnificence of their true nature. His greatest joy in life is watching people fall off their seats in fits of laughter when they realize who they really are.