compar’d wi’ me – living in the eternal now

Still thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me
The present only toucheth thee:
But, Och! I backward cast my e’e.
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!

Burns suggests that the small scared mouse is better off than him. Why? Because the mouse doesn’t suffer from internal dialogue, isn’t always scheming and lives largely in the instant, not the land of regrets or the land of speculations. There is only one way to avoid regrets and that is to be wide awake and fully present in everything you do. Of course, some measure of planning is important in our modern complex world, but by being always scheming, where are you? You are in the land of speculation and the land of manipulation. Surprise, surprise, things gang aft agley, why? Because you are not present. It is so simple really. And am I not the first to point this out, this theme runs through many disciplines.

Buy as many books as you want, read nice poems, read up. It will never make you present until you make at least some effort in that direction. If you are present slowly your awareness will heighten, and you will miss much less, life becomes richer. For some the present is a scary place, because it means trying to be real, live and not theoretical, discursive or speculative. Instead of mentally “checking out” one faces the realities of how each action has consequence. One develops an integrity and in the now, one cannot pull a fast one. There is no need in the now for this.

If you meet someone who is fully present it can be unnerving. Somehow you sense that their world has a greater acuity and is not so dissipated or distracted. It is really up to each of us, do we seek to inhabit the world of regrets, the world of speculations or the world of now?

Which of these bring happiness?

Are You Awake?

This is a very good question and during daylight hours most would answer yes. But is this “awake” a relative term?

I have, according to family legend, always been a creature of the dawn. The time around dawn is my favourite time of day. It is when I am most alert, and I love the general quietness on the mental plane. Most are still dozing or coming groggily to. For me there is no slow transition between duvet, via coffee, to alert. Sleep ends, a switch is flicked, and I am awake. If I was able to and from a strategic perspective, I would have any meetings soon after dawn. Many complain about zero dark thirty, not me….

Have you ever had a “what the fuck just happened” moment? Or has something slowly, ponderously, started to dawn on you? Eventually you start to realize something which you have not considered or had been resisting. In slow motion, the penny starts to drop. Ever so slowly it makes its way under gravity towards the floor. This probably means that you are not quite as awake as you might deem yourself to be. There is a saying; be alert, Britain needs lerts.

Many people are very complacent about many aspects of their lives. They think they have it sorted, under control and sussed. So, they do not pay attention. There is a dream-like coterie. It will all pan out as it is supposed to. And when something a little non-ordinary comes along, they miss it. They don’t see it. By definition anything unexpected surprises and the unexpected is pretty big for many. Consciousness and awareness can be more than a little foggy. This state of distraction and dissipation is made worse by mobile ‘phones and other gadgets. People are not present. Hence, they do not notice. By not living in the moment fully, there is a lack of awareness and situational awareness.

As an exercise:

Make a mental note of your level of awareness, be aware of when it is sluggish and then try to fight back the fog. Over a period of a couple of weeks see if you can determine the time of day at which you are most alert.  

Fleeting Moments

It is around fleeting moments that the entire world or a life, can pivot. In retrospect we may be able to see them. But by the time we are retrospective the moment has long passed. What might have been, cannot now be. The significance of fleeting moments can be severely underestimated. We may place that last straw on the camel’s back, unaware that we are doing this. There could be those few seconds in which we could have plucked up courage, but failed to do so. We might make a Petrine denial so as to avoid something. Sometimes we notice the instant a fleeting moment has passed and rue the day. Other times we feel justified in letting a moment pass. Most often we are too asleep, too distracted, or our head is so far up our own arse that we do not sense an incoming fleeting moment, maybe we just don’t want to see them. If we take life for granted, we squander fleeting moments. There is not some chap with a big sign, upon which there is hand pointing to the moment which says; “this is really important”. Many of these fleeting moments are subtle and nuanced. Some fleeting moments pertain entirely to The Spirit and in those our natures are tested by the universe.

Advertisers tell us; “don’t miss out on this deal”. Many like a bargain and a “buy one get one free”. These are not really fleeting moments, they are the artifice of marketing. People pay more attention to these than the real fleeting moments. In business people speak of opportunity and a good salesman can sniff a potential lead like a thirsty man in the desert smells water. But not all opportunities are obvious and many look like hard work. If you are a pushy salesman type, you may be attuned to only one general type of opportunity. Many are just under our noses and these are the hardest to see, it seems.

Fleeting moments can be like an aperture in space-time, they are only open for a while, beyond them lies a whole new range of possibilities. Unless one steps through the aperture, it closes, perhaps never to open again. These moments are fleeting and short.

The only way to appreciate all those fleeting moments is to be fully present in the now. If you blunder through life like an amphetamine fuelled bull in a china shop, you will smash the delicate porcelain of these moments, willy-nilly. To see a fleeting moment, one has to be awake, and not dozing. If one is raging, one is more than a little blind. The red mist has you.

It is out of fleeting moments that the Eternal Now is constructed or made. That is the awareness sees fleeting moments blending softly into each other, fully aware, the potential significance of each is weighted. Then live, in the now, one must decide, choose and act. For at each fleeting moment there is choice, life is a step-wise continuum of choices, always. The more awake and present you are, the more conscious you become about instantaneous choice of action. Life is a summation of fleeting moments, a sum and not yet quite an integral. The more aware you are, the more integrated you become and life flows better. It is not quite so step-function and jerky. The more awake you are the less likely it is that you behave like a jerk.

It is the active ongoing sum of all fleeting moments which makes the Eternal Now.

Isolated Unity – Illuminated Union

IV 25

As soon as one can distinguish between consciousness and awareness, the ongoing construction of the self ceases.

The Yoga-Sûtra of Patañjali translated by Chip Hartranft

Note: Atma can mean essence which has a different meaning to self as we understand it now. There is a difference between self and Self, one is “lower” than the other.

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The state of isolated unity (withdrawn into the true nature of the Self) is the reward of the man who can discriminate between the mind stuff and the Self, or spiritual man.

This state of isolated unity must be regarded as the result of the attainment of a particular state of mind, rather than as a separative reaction. All meditation work, all moments of reflection, all affirmative exercises, all hours of recollection of one’s true nature are means employed to detach the mind from the lower reactions and tendencies, and build in the habit of a constant realization of one’s true divine nature. When this realization is achieved, the need for such exercises ceases and one enters into one’s heritage. The isolation referred to is the detachment of the self from the field of knowledge, the involving of the refusal of the self to seek outward-going sensuous experience and its standing firm in the state of spiritual being.

The man becomes conscious of himself as the knower and is no longer primarily concerned with the field of knowledge, as in the early stages of his unfoldment; neither is he engaged with knowledge itself, as during the stage of mental development either as an advanced man or as a disciple. He can discriminate between all three, and identifies himself henceforth neither with the field of knowledge, life in the three worlds through the medium of his three vehicles, and the five senses plus the mind, nor with the knowledge gained nor the experience undergone. He knows the self; he identifies himself with the true knower, and thus sees things as they are, dissociating himself entirely from the world of sensuous perception.

He does this, however, whilst functioning as a human being on earth. He participates in earth experience; he involves himself in human activities; he walks among men, eating and sleeping, working and living. Yet all the time he “is in the world, yet not of the world,” and of him it can be said as it was said of the Christ,

    “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil., II, 6, 7, 8.)

He is at-one with the soul of all, but isolated off, separated from all that concerns the form or material nature. The next three sutras should be read as one, giving as they do a picture of the gradual growth of the spiritual nature in the man who has arrived at the state of discriminating detachment, and through utter dispassion, knows the meaning of isolated unity.

 

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Book 4 – Illumination

Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul

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The Yoga-Sûtra of Patañjali translated by Chip Hartranft

Pure Awareness

Pure awareness is just seeing, itself; although pure, it usually appears to operate through the perceiving mind.

The Yoga-Sûtra of Patañjali translated by Chip Hartranft

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The seer is pure knowledge (gnosis). Though pure, he looks upon the presented idea through the medium of the mind.

Reference has already been made to the excellent translation of this sutra as given by Johnston which runs as follows:

“The seer is pure vision. Though pure, he looks out through the vesture of the mind.”

Ganganatha Jha throws still further light upon it in the words:

“The spectator is absolute sentience, and though pure, still beholds intellected ideas.”

The thought conveyed is that the true man, the spectator, perceiver or thinker is the sum total of all perception, be it through the avenues of the senses or of the lower mind; he is in himself knowledge, clear vision or true perception. All that exists in the three worlds exists because of and for him; he is the cause of its being and when he no longer seeks it or endeavors to vision it, for him it exists not. This sutra is one of the key verses in the book, and gives the clue to the entire science of yoga. Certain thoughts lie hid in its formulation which cover the whole ground of this science and students would do well to give much attention to this. It has a mantric effect and if stated as an affirmation and used constantly by the aspirant will eventually demonstrate to him the truth of the statement that “as a man thinketh, so is he.”

    “I am pure knowledge. Though pure, I look upon presented ideas through the medium of the mind.”

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Book 2 – The Steps to Union

Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul