The Present is in the Present

My good friend Jack, again and again, reminds me to stay in the present. He made a copy of the following passage from Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now, and gave it to me.

“I have learned to offer no resistance to what is; I have learned to allow the present moment to be and to accept the impermanent nature of all things and conditions. Thus have I found peace.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

Many years ago, I wrote the following, which became a part of my book “Pay Attention! Be Alert!” published in 2008.


… I lived with the hope that a master would come to enlighten me, someday, at the right time. But I never made any serious attempt to define when this right time would be. I had heard that “when the disciple is ready, the master shows up,” and so I just lived under the expectation that my time would sooner or later come, and that I had to patiently wait for it. Within me there were these vague sensations and unexamined ideas that I would receive blessings only when I became worthy and ready, and that only through hard practice and personal sacrifice I would be able to eventually reach that state of worthiness. So, believing that “when the student is ready, the teacher
appears,” and believing that it was up to the teacher to decide when to show up, I hoped for this glorious day of enlightenment to take place in the future when, eventually, my worthiness and the teacher’s good disposition would combine. When I finally decided to examine these ideas, two revelations emerged: the first was that I was always labeling myself as not ready and unworthy. I was convinced that I needed to become better and that, to reach that holier level, I had to go through more preparation. So, I was always reading another book, attending another course, or learning another practice. I had unconsciously put myself in a self-repeating and never-ending cycle of
training because, no matter what I did, I invariably judged myself as not sufficiently prepared. And by doing so, I was convinced that whoever had to show up with life-changing lessons not only had yet to come, but would only come if I reached that state of readiness and worthiness that I was unable to clearly define. The other realization was that I was waiting for some external agent, upon whom I had no control, to hopefully show up. But what if the master was not at all similar to the image that
I had vaguely sketched in my imagination? What if the master was completely different from whatever I had imagined him, her, or it to be? What if the master was right next to me, right here, right now, and I was unable to see? I realized that in order to recognize the teacher I had, first, to get rid of my preconceived and limited ideas. I realized that in
order to be able to see I had to set myself free from my self-imposed mindset and cultural conditionings. I came to the conclusion that I was distracted by an illusion. I was hoping for my preparation to be right, for someone extraordinary to show up, and for some formidable event to take place in the future. I was not in the present moment. I was not paying attention to what was happening here, now.

Why was I focusing on this illusion called future and not rejoicing with the gifts that were being given to me in the reality called present? I came to realize that the givers and the gifts were in the present, not in the future.

The present was in the present.

The present is in the present.

The present will always be in the present .

The gifts are in the now.

I came to the realization that I became very good at making preparations to live, but that I was not good at living. I had been conditioned to continuously prepare myself for the future without paying attention to the present.

“Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans.” ~ John Lennon

I paused and examined my quest for perfection. I realized that I had to stop putting all my hopes in the future. I had to switch my focus from the future to the present moment, and reach a healthy balance. I had to stop considering myself as not ready yet. I had to stop with my self-imposed need to be perfect as the prerequisite for enlightenment. I  had to accept my human condition, with all its inherent imperfections and limitations. I had to accept where I was and who I was, and that I was ready and worthy already.  Finally, I had to stop waiting for someone special to come in the future. I realized that whoever had to come was already right here with me and that I was the one who was not able to see. He who had to come was showing up again and again, all the time, in many ways, wearing several disguises. I was the one who was not paying enough attention.