Remaining present, being in the now, is not the panacea many gurus make it out to be, a snitch of time that has magical properties, a moment of presence that opens the doors to truth, that sets everything aright. Now is a pointer, a pointer that like all pointers, points to a bigger reality. All life points in one non-directional direction – home, to the mystery we are. Every experience, what we call things, has always sung, is always singing, the praise of infinite aliveness and that includes the hugely misunderstood concept of the present moment.
Now is not a tiny fraction of time that is in constant movement – catch me if you can – or that you can experience if you are exceptionally still. It’s not being faithful to what is arising as the immediate expression and releasing all ideas of past and future while you engage. It’s not a practice you can fine tune until you find yourself at last in the promised land for as a practice it is doomed to fail.
I used to talk about the present moment, now, as if it were something special, the answer, a grail of sorts. Whenever I’d speak about remaining present something always felt off. How could we not be present? Lordy, is that even possible? Presence is all there is. I could feel that. I knew that. It just hadn’t made it into the world of words yet. That’s why it felt wrong. I was in a state of limbo where what I knew hadn’t broken through the conditioning I’d imbibed. I was still holding on to the idea of the present moment as the goal, something to achieve, a prize to lean into, a place in time. If I could just settle in and put down roots, everything would be okay.
Of course, it wasn’t possible, so instead of being a healing fix it, each time I reminded myself I wasn’t present it pumped a fresh supply of need into my veins.
Even if I took time out of the equation, which is an essential variable, I was left with so many questions: is there an unlimited supply of nows; how can I remain present if the moment is always moving; and why does any effort I make to be present feel so damned impossible?
It didn’t make any sense. I knew it was pointing to something important, but I didn’t know how to explain it, to put it into words. I hadn’t yet seen that now is nothing at all. It is awareness itself. It is intimate ordinary experiencing.
One Sunday while I was leading meditation at the prison, the hype that I’d been trying to defend, the propaganda propping up the present moment, came crashing down. I was sharing a quote from the Ram Dass book, Be Here Now, with the guys and it was suddenly clear that each word pointed to the same thing, be … here … now. They were pointers to experiencing, that for which there is no other, that which is no thing.
When I stop and notice that I am aware, that there is no separation between me and being aware, no place where one stops and the other begins, where am I? All that is present is presence itself: nowness, hereness, beingness. There is no space between now and here, between me and experience. There is no space and there is no time. Without knowing, the beliefs that I know what my perceptions and sensations are, noticing occurs: nothing is as it seems. I am not me and the awareness of my experience but simple experiencing, basic awareness.
There is no appropriate bio for Amaya Gayle. She doesn’t exist other than as an expression of Consciousness Itself. Talking about her in biographical terms is a disservice to the truth and to anyone who might be led to believe in such nonsense. None of us exist, not in the way we think. It’s actually much better than we can imagine. Ideas spring into words. Words flow onto paper and yet no one writes them. They simply appear fully formed. Looking at her you would swear this is a lie. She’s there after all, but honestly, she’s not … and she is. Love a paradox and life is nothing, if not paradoxical. Bios normally wax on about accomplishments and beliefs, happenings in time and space. She has never accomplished anything, has no beliefs and like you was never born and will never die. Engage with Amaya at your own risk.