I recently received an email from a reader who asked for some insight into the perplexing concept of the Eternal Now, which is so often discussed in spiritual teachings.
The question mentioned that the past, present and future are a “real big thing for physical beings”, and that it’s so hard to look beyond it, let alone consider the possibility of 'eternity in a moment', as the term implies.
But, we are not physical beings—we are consciousness—and herein lies the problem; our confusion is a result of our own misperception.
Awareness is our true Self—regardless of the human body, mind, and persona that we perceive.
Time is a concept of human mind, that can exist only within mind. Outside of mind and its multiplicity of concepts and theories, there is only the ever-present, continuous, and uninterrupted Now. Therefore, anything outside of the here and now is non-existent. The past is merely an appearance that exists within the human function of memory. It has no present reality.
All that IS exists within consciousness, including all concepts of space and time—including all remembrances of so-called history. Space and time exist within you, Conscious Awareness. You do not exist within them. YOU are the Eternal Now.
The history we attach our identity onto and conceptually cling to is as unreal as a wave that once splashed on the surface of the ocean ten thousand years ago. It cannot be said to have ever really ‘existed', at least not without the presence of a conscious observer—which, even then, would have only been a momentary and impermanent appearance within consciousness.
All appearances are false however—it is only that which enables such perceptions to be perceived that is real—this is the Eternal Self, the Universal Consciousness.
Awareness is infinite, eternal, and unchanging—all that IS appears within its emptiness. This is Absolute Reality.
The natural state of all that IS, is actually one of 'non-being', rather than ‘being'. Therefore, the truth of any form is in fact, formless. 'Non-being' is the Absolute Reality, while all ‘beings' are only temporary and brief appearances. All manner of perceived ‘things’ are, in truth, 'no-things'. It is because of this natural impermanence of things that no appearance can be said to every actually be real. It is only the eternal awareness that is real, which all appearances appear within.
Our so-called personal past, including the totality of all human history, is conceptually grappled with by people because the ego is addicted to self-identifying with memory, which we’ve attached all of our emotions and sense of self onto—even if that memory isn’t “ours”. Ego forever languishes in false appearances, including mental images of both the conceptual past and the conceptual future—which is exactly why Now is so powerful… because it is the only thing that is truly Real. It is the only thing we can affect. It is the source of our very breath. It IS our beingness.
Now IS Life—anything other, is not. The Now is unchanging, omnipresent—it is eternal.
The past matters not, and the future does not exist. All “histories" are merely stories of mind, dreams of consciousness, imaginings from biased memories, and tainted reflections from biased egos who choose to project their so-called beliefs and their false sense of a personal self onto their present moment perception.
All are false.
Only the here and now is Real—but only when it's untainted by the dreaming mind.
When we peacefully abide in the infinite abundance of our choiceless awareness, we embrace the Eternal Now with our True Self—which can also be called, LOVE, or as the Vedas describe it, Satcitananda—existence, consciousness, bliss.