Now’s Power.

April 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

Now

Eckhart Tolle writes of the power of now, but what is now?  What is this immediate moment in which we live our lives and from which we never part?

I say “moment” in the sense of the intimate present, not in the sense of a short period of time.  A short period of time can be divided into a past and a future but “now” has no length.  Now does not exist in the past or the future.

Now is like the mathematician’s point that is a reference to a location in space but in itself it has no properties of width, length or height.  The mathematician’s point is a space of zero dimensions, however contradictory that may sound.  Similarly, “now” is a point in time that has no temporal length.  It is the immediate moment of no, or zero, dimensions.

It is important to note that anything found through the senses must have a dimensional quality.  A rose by any other name would still be a rose, but a rose that has no depth, height or width simply does not exist.  Such a “rose” would be a word that has no referent even though one could, as in this writing, use it to suggest a meaning.  Similarly, “now” is a word that has no referent but nonetheless has meaning, even if no one can properly define that meaning.

Having no dimension “now” is empty.  Think about that.  The present moment that is inseparable from all you know and your very being is empty.

To say the present is empty seems to contradict our experience, which is filled with objects both gross and subtle.  Nevertheless, if “now” has no length or dimension it cannot be said to contain anything, so must be considered empty.

The present moment is known only through the power of awareness.  This awareness does not extend into the past or into the future, so can also be said to have no length and therefore zero dimensions.  In fact, it is impossible to separate consciousness from the immediate moment, which means that consciousness is also be empty.  Yet out of this emptiness arises a universe of forms that seemingly flows in time.  Is it any wonder then that Lao Tsu wrote that the Tao is “an empty vessel that is used, but never filled”?

Consciousness and now are the same rose given different names.  Referents that cannot be located in space or time yet comprehend both.  And that is why Eckhart Tolle speaks of the power of now.  Because NOW and Consciousness are identical!

Dogen wrote,

“Firewood becomes ash.  Ash cannot become firewood again.  However, we should not view ash as after and firewood as before.  We should know that firewood dwells in the dharma position of firewood and has it’s own before and after.  Although before and after exist, past and future are cut off.  Ash stays in the position of ash, with it’s own before and after.”

We should not view now as coming after something or as before something yet to come.  We should know that we dwell in the dharma position of now.  Although before and after exist, past and future are cut off.  Now stays in it’s own position of timelessness.  When we sit in the moment, let go of past and future.  We are not that person who was angry or upset earlier in the day.  We are not “still a child” or going to be a Buddha.  We are not our stories or self-image.  Forget self.  Sit right here.  Sit right now.

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