I usually start off my yoga classes with instructions like “bring your awareness to your breath”, “deepen your breath”, and “touch your heart”. What I am really trying to do is invoke a powerful state of being in you. A state that started arriving in my life about six years ago. That state being the here and now, the present. It took years for me to settle in to here and now.
Here are a few highlights from my own journey to the here and now:
- 2005 – My acting coaches told me to “be in the moment” and “not in my head”
- 2006 – I began feeling awesome and mentally clear after my first yoga classes
- 2007- I read How To See Yourself As You Really Are by His Holiness The Dalai Lama
- 2008 – I read The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle
- 2011 – I had a transcendant moment in savasana meditation on the yoga mat during which I seemed to float out of my body, turn around, and look back on myself, seeing my own eyes wide open, feeling nothing except my own consciousness housed within this mammalian physical body.
Now, I no longer live enslaved by painful memories of the past nor anxious, nihilistic visions of the future. Without the past or future, there is just the present, and when you think about it, that’s really all we have. Along the way, I was able to discontinue treatment for ADHD and depression, and live peacefully with my natural mind. I attribute these important developments to my ability to gain control over my mind and my thinking, and my former habit of reacting to every little thing in the world around me. I’m still a sensitive person – even more so in that I see and hear so much more – but I don’t react to as many things. In fact, I’m kind of a “rock” now. Stable and reliable. I can choose where to become engaged. And that is freedom. It is part of the liberation that yoga promotes in us.
It was yoga classes (a form of moving meditation) and thinking about others rather than myself all the time that got me out of my self-centred, miserable spiral. Dalai Lama books introduced me to Buddhist principles, and The Power Of Now crystallized it all for me and changed my life. Today, daily meditation and yoga keep me here, now.
Running, working out at the gym, watching tv and movies, doing yoga, and doing traditional, still meditation are all ways to take the mind out of the past and future and bring it back to now. Which is a GREAT place to be! When you are right here, right now, answers to all your questions become within reach, and your perception of the world and yourself becomes truer.
As one develops the ability to focus and become still, then it is yoga and various forms of seated or laying down meditations that will take you deeper. (I still love gyms and movies, but they don’t give me that energized clarity of the mind as much anymore.)
The very first word of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the yoga “bible”, is atha, which means “now”. The very first Sutra is Atha yoganusasanam. Translation (from the Jivamukti Yoga website): “Now this is yoga as I have perceived it in the natural world”. Other translations are “now is yoga”, and “now the exposition of yoga is made” (the latter by Sri Swami Satchidananda).
Now, I will close with a poem and some lyrics from an 80’s pop song. Back in my yoga teacher certification program (with YogaWorks), 4 of 9 of us were writers! I was particularly moved by this passage, written by Shan Jauhal during one of our Sutra circle discussions. In fact, the last line in Shan’s passage inspired this blog post…
Now, this moment, the only moment.
To change or be changed,
To be sacred and known.
Be here, now, in this fleeting moment.
Always beginning, never ending.
– Shan Jauhal, Moksha Yoga Teacher
And I love this:
I was alive and I waited, waited
I was alive and I waited for this
Right here, right now, there is no other place I wanna be
Right here, right now, watching the world wake up from history
Thanks for reading, and being here. Namaste!