Reblogging an old post from Running Elk that makes far more sense than many written on the subject. The comments on the original post are worth reading too:
Much is made in new age and pseudo-psychological circles of living in the “Now”. Much money has been made from the concept, books written and celebrity gained. Yet, what does it actually mean? Is it even possible to understand what the “Now” is? Never mind actually live in a state of constant awareness of it…
To start with, there is much misunderstanding. Hardly surprising.
In the minds of many, the “Now” sits somewhere on a line which represents a continuum between past and future. In some rudimentary way, the “Now” is regarded as the present, or, at very best, the smallest possible unit of what constitutes the present.
If we take a moment to consider it, there is one obvious difficulty with this model. The “Now”, irrespective of how small we divide the present moment, is a place of limbo. It is not quite the future, but constantly streams into the past; forming not what we wish to become, but, rather, the shadow of the latest we have been.
Even more alarming, is that such a model is, by its nature, restrictive. Rather than expanding the possibilities of the future moment, we find that the only step available lies on a singular path, defined by our past choices. The “Now”, like a bead on a string, moves from past to future along a line over which we have no control.
There is nothing to be found, then, in this concept of “Now”.
After all, by bringing awareness to the “Now”, our future possibilities are meant to expand; freeing us from the current limitations we feel exist in our lives. In the above model, there is no escape. We are merely able to observe our current misery as the time line of our lives continues to pass beneath us.
The “Now”, then, must be something else. The future spreads before us in a myriad of possibility. The “Now” that we seek, somehow, opens these possibilities for us.
Yet, we are still restricted. As fast as we can consider the “Now”, it streams into our past. The “Now” is impotent. The future spreads out before us, but in the moment of contemplation, the possibilities are pushed forward, ever beyond our reach. This, ever changing, “Now” offers no respite. We may be able to glimpse an array of alternative futures, but they cannot be grasped. They are fleeting, illusory hopes slipping into the past as fast as we are able to conceive them.
The “Now” which we seek can only be found outside our ability to comprehend it. The “Now” is beyond space and time; and yet is so finely interwoven within that fabric that, though it permeates all of creation, it can be so easily overlooked.
Eternal and constant, “Now” can only rightly be thought of as the point of pure potential, existing beyond the event horizon of the present moment. It is not yet the future. It is dissociated from the past. We cannot see it beyond the barrier of the present.
Continue reading Living in the Now at Shamanic Paths