Tantra is about living in the present moment. Past and future only exist in the mind. Being present is our natural state of awareness. As babies we know the beauty of being in the freshness of each new moment. Yet, pretty early in life our parents and our culture do their best to get us out of the Now. While happily being in the moment, we were told to eat when we weren’t hungry, made to go to sleep when we weren’t tired, forced to get up early for school, and told to stop playing and come inside, so a visitor could grill us about what we want to be when we grow up.
Let’s face it we live in a world obsessed with past and future. The news recaps the past; advertising tells what we need to be happy in the future. Reclaiming the joy of living in the Now can feel like a challenge at times. How can we reclaim the joy of being fully present in the Now?
Step 1- Develop the Witness. Notice when you are not in the moment. The witness is that part of us that watches what is happening in an unattached way. When I am lost in past or future I feel anxious, worried, or discontent. Past or future is a good place to hide when things aren’t going the way I planned. When I activate the Witness, it is easy to notice if I am lost in past or future. Then I return present moment awareness.
Step 2- Be Present. Presence arises when your essential nature -Awareness, awakens to itself in each moment. Awareness is beyond space and time, beyond life and death. When you are present, you let go of past and future. You surrender to the moment. There is no resistance to what is. Being present is not only about being aware of what is happening on the level of form, it is being aware of the very space in which all forms come and go.
Most people have had moments of Presence, even if they didn’t call it that. Have you ever had the experience of watching a sunset? The world became still and all thoughts disappeared, as you sat in awe aware of the beauty unfolding before you. Or perhaps you have had the experience of running a race, skiing or riding your bike and suddenly you entered “The Zone” where you were one with everything, and your movements were effortless. Or when looking into the eyes of a newborn baby or your beloved, have you ever felt yourself melting into them until all sense of separation dissolved and you experienced Oneness? In all these situations, Presence emerged as you became liberated from identification with the thinking mind and surrendered into the direct experience of The Now.
Step 3- Accept the Now. Living in the Now, means accepting everything going on around you and within you exactly as it is in that moment. Acceptance means letting of outcome. It does not mean that you are a victim. You can make a conscious choice to shift what is happening through your actions and intentions. When you accept each moment as it is, the quality of Being becomes palpable and stress vanishes.
By developing the witness, living in the present moment and accepting what is, you will discover that you can learn to let go of living in the past. By aligning with your essential nature, spiritual wakefulness is arrived upon naturally.