Being in the Now
You can teach us about the “now” and we can think about being in the “now”, but in order to be in the “now”, we cannot be thinking about it. How do we reach this mind frame if we cannot force ourselves into being there? The very act of thinking puts us out of where we desire to be, and it seems almost impossible to stop thinking and just “be”. Therefore, the instant you realize you are in the “now”, you have just brought yourself out of it. What can we do to allow ourselves to “be”?
You have astutely explained why using the ego directed mind can never take us out of the mind’s realm. What the sages have told us is that we must first transcend thought through meditation where we experience our essential nature, our pure Being in the now. In the beginning, this state of being and silence will be lost after we come out of meditation. However, over time that state of pure consciousness in meditation becomes so firmly established that it is not lost even when we are engaged in our daily activity. This is explained with the analogy of dying a cloth. The early method of dying involved dipping the white cloth in a vat of dye and then putting it in the sunlight where the dye would fade out. But some of the color would remain even after being bleached by the sun. The cloth would be dipped in the vat again and put out in the sun. Again it would fade, but this time a little more of the color would remain than the last time. And so the process of dipping and exposing to the sun would continue, each time making the color stronger and more colorfast. Eventually a time comes when after dipping the cloth in the vat of dye, the sun does not fade it anymore, it has become completely colorfast and permanent.
This is what happens when we dip our awareness into pure consciousness during meditation and then come out into our daily activity and it fades away. But each time a little more of that silent witness, or that presence of the now remains. Eventually the time comes when we engage in all our normal behavior, but we effortlessly maintain that inner attention that is always seated in the present moment. It is a quiet presence of Self that keeps awareness open and unconditioned regardless of what we are doing.