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On being in the “Now”  

When we were babies and small children, there was never a problem staying in the “Now”. Our only thoughts were right in front of us. Our life was eating, sleeping, and playing. Our lives were free of the illusions of the past and future. We were gods in a sense. Everyone around us cared about our every whim and everything was interesting. There was no depression, anxiety, boredom, or worry. Things we were later taught to feel.

“Outrages!” you say. “Nobody taught me depression, I HAVE depression! It’s a very real condition that I go to therapy for every week.”

Well then, where did you get this “condition” from?

Let’s start with “our spacesuit”.

The spiritual teacher Ram Dass (formerly Richard Alpert) has a concept he talks about called our spacesuit. When we are born it’s as if we are born into a spacesuit. It’s a suit that lets us function on this plane of reality. After many years we learn how to use the suit. To function in society we add all kinds of expectations, hopes, and dreams that did not originally come with the suit. We then create the spacesuit superstructure called the “Ego”. Most people at this point forget that they were only born into the suit and that they are not actually the suit. They, as someone once said, “forget how it is to be god”.

Think about the concept of anxiety and worry. And that’s what they are “concepts”, constructions in our minds. You have anxiety about the past, things you did, or didn’t do. You worry about the future, will I have enough, will I measure up to the expectations of my parents, society, and the ones I put on myself. However, do these exist? Past and future? The only reality I know of is NOW! Here and now, right at this moment. Past and future are concepts in the mind, memories. They happened, but they don’t exist anymore. Only in one place, the Mind.

By that conclusion, what do you have anxiety and worry about? Could it be that your mind is your own worst enemy, and it is creating its own sadness?

Did you have these conditions/concepts when you were a baby?

I certainly did not.

You learn them. Of course, you felt, sadness, anger, happiness, frustration, curiosity, and all the range of emotions that every human experiences in her or his lifetime. But that’s the thing, you experience them. That does not mean you are them.

You are not Anger, Sadness, Anxiety, Depression. You don’t need to get trapped by them.

You just are.

So what does this mean? It means you have a choice. You can get caught in the river of the mind and let it drag you along, or you can accept them as just happenings. Watching the river(the mind) as the leaves (thoughts, feelings) pass you by. “How interesting! Now I am feeling depression. This surely will pass”. Like everything passes. The only constant is now.

Just be here now.

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Photo: Taken at sunset by the Mukogawa river — April 2023 Amagasaki, Japan.

If you want to read more on this topic I can recommend the books“Be Here Now” by Ram Dass and the “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. They explain all these concepts and much more better than I ever could. Thank you for reading.