Most people think… Great God will come from the sky…
take away everything… and make everybody feel high.
But if you know what life is worth, you will look for yours on earth:
Now you see the light… you gotta stand up for your rights!
- From “Get up, Stand up” by Bob Marley & the Wailers
Consideration of the future is a unique and essential operational function of humanity. Our ability to perceive a probable outcome to future events and act accordingly, is the hallmark of humankind. Along with recollection of the past, this single trait is the very foundation of civilization. It has allowed for the creation of vast artifacts of industry and culture. It is directly responsible for the transition of our species into what can only be referred to as… “domesticated primates.” As we have said before… welcome to the planet of the apes.
As far as we know, no other species on the planet is as cognizant of… or is as responsive to (in a preparatory sense) a perceived and shared future. Although other species demonstrate instinctual preparedness, such as the noble gray squirrel’s cashing of acorns for the winter… nobody else on the planet is building citadels (or waging wars) in anticipation of prosperity. For humans, predicting the future is a successful survival strategy. It allows us to plan for eventualities that have not yet come to pass.
Learning from our past and predicting our future is essentially a form of time travel. In so contemplating, we project our consciousness either into the past, or into a near… and sometimes… distant future. As we have indicated in part one of this series, we stand upon a threshold of phenomenal consequence. It is thus easy to be intellectually swept away into an uncertain future… for purposes of strategic preparedness. However, the very act of projecting into the future also creates and contains an insidious trap, from which it is most difficult to recognize, let alone escape.
Dwelling on the future (or should we say “in the future”) …if taken to an extreme, becomes a spiritually perilous distraction. Constantly placing one’s attention on… obsessing over… the future (or the past) pulls us away from the present moment. Fixation on the future, as misused by religious cabals (ie: “pie in the sky, bye & bye”) can become a diversion, a mechanism of control. Keeping a population docile by promising salvation in some future after-life, underscores the tekgnostic premise that Religion = Politics.
Being mindful of the moment is more than some Jedi mind trick. Again, using the time travel metaphor, thinking about the regrets of the past or the possibilities of the future, instead of the present, expends precious psychic energies transporting us back… or forward… in time. Our personal reserves of psychic energies, in measure, are better spent focusing on the present moment… the eternal now.
Be Here Now (if not, get there later)
“Are the mystics and sages insane? Because they all tell variations on the same story, don't they? The story of awakening one morning and discovering you are one with the All, in a timeless and eternal and infinite fashion. Yes, maybe they are crazy, these divine fools. Maybe they are mumbling idiots in the face of the Abyss. Maybe they need a nice, understanding therapist. Yes, I'm sure that would help.
It's at least plausible.
And tell me: is that story, sung by mystics and sages the world over, any crazier than the scientific materialism story, which is that the entire sequence is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying absolutely nothing? Listen very carefully: just which of those two stories actually sounds totally insane?
- Ken Wilber
The world over, creative, courageous and insightful individuals who have experienced deep epiphanies… moments of cosmic consciousness… have all emphasized the importance of mindfulness. Being mindful of the present moment is a universal teaching that those who have experienced what we refer to as “enlightenment” agree upon. To truly place one’s total attention upon the present moment… is to partake of what the wise call “eternity.”
To be ecstatically or excruciatingly “in the moment” is an essential human condition, on many levels. Mundane applications include focus and peak performance in sports… being “in the groove” or “dropping into the slot” in music… or meditation and contemplation in spiritual pursuits. To return to the time analogy… being in the present moment effectively stops time. We have all experienced an ecstatic moment and thought… “ah, that’s when time stood still.” We have all had harrowing experiences where we said… “I thought that moment would never end.” In these moments of complete mindfulness, the wheel of time comes to a stop.
These are the moments when universe pauses and listens in. This is true communion, revelation or gnosis. This is the collaborative moment between self and universe. At this moment, inspiration emerges. Inspiration, from Old French inspiracion means to: inhale or to breathe in. Also from Late Latin ispiratio to: blow into or upon; to breathe into. The origins of this word are always framed in the context of divine influence.
“To the mind that is still… the whole universe surrenders.”
- Lao Tzu
Being in the “Eternal Now” is the condition whereby new information is made available to the domesticated primate. Again… information = knowledge = Gnosis. To be inspired is to “breathe in” this new information, as it is presented… as it is gifted. Don’t wait for the pie in the sky, by and by… Be here now and universe becomes your collaborator.