If Not Now, When?
If it was simple to be (fully) present “now” would we need so much instruction on how to be in the moment?
Kabbalah places our relationship to time at the foundation of our awareness practice. Being fully present is an integration of past, future, and present as exemplified by the ineffable name of God, which though not pronounced, speaks of: “is, was and will be.”
We too, are an is, a was, and a will be.
On the standard Mental Status Exam, a person is evaluated on their alertness and orientation—and it is determined whether they are “oriented x 3″—to person, place and time. The “person” question refers to knowing who they are (name). Place is an orientation to the dimension of space (location) and time to knowing the year, month, and day or to knowing about “current” events. If the person has transported themselves to another dimension in space or time or does not recall who they are, we say they are not oriented and know that something is altering their brain function.
To transition back to our topic of being present, we are always “locating” ourselves in space and time—we are standing on this corner, we are in our car heading west toward the mountains, we are sitting on our couch, which is in our living room, which is in a city we call Denver, which is in a land mass we call North America, on a planet we call Earth, a part of a solar system in a galaxy we call the Milky Way.
To locate ourselves in time we are also standing on a corner on a Tuesday morning, or heading west in our car on a Sunday in the winter, or sitting on our couch (as I do) early in the morning (writing a blog). It is a day we call Tuesday, which followed a day we call Monday and precedes a day we call Wednesday, in a month we call February, in a year we are designating as 2018.
While accurate, these descriptions would be considered “too much information” for a Mental Status Exam. These descriptions are generalizable, what we might call public orientation.
Each of us has our personal orientation to place and time. While a visitor might call to say, “I am at the intersection of so and so streets,” you would call that intersection “home.” Another intersection may have one meaning for one person (the spot they fell in love) and a different one for another person (the spot they were hit by a car). The same applies to our personal (or communal) orientation to time when it comes to a designated day such as a birthday or anniversary or a holiday on the calendar. Even seasons are not generalizable, the summer solstice depends on the place you find yourself on this planet.
What then is “this moment” in personal orientation? There is the larger “was” of this incarnation-from womb to birth to childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, and the more compact “was” of what happened yesterday or a moment ago. There is the larger “will be” of the future which is impacting this present moment—doing something now in preparation for the planned event in the future and the more compact “will be” of what word I will use to finish this thought.
This moment. At the intersection of past and future; fully present to where we have been and where we are heading and the liminal time in-between.
In your looking at your past and future consider how they are at the intersection of your present moment—your past has brought you here to this moment, it influences but does to define you and your future is calling to you—influences you as well but not defining you.