a life lived NOW
THE FRESHNESS OF A LIFE LIVED NOW
Fully living in this life stream is only dynamic, only fresh, when we allow the process of change to unfold without grasping for what is no longer present. If we hold onto outworn past beliefs or concepts in an attempt to inform our current thoughts and behavior, we suffer. The egoic mind finds this truth at best uncomfortable and most often fraught with anxiety. As much as it may not like the life it has, and complains about how painful it is, and professes a desire for improvement, it resists change. It feels safe and thus less anxious with old knowledge and at the same time fears the unknown. The yet-to-be-known is an area of anxiety for the ego and so it chooses to avoid it.
Even those people who find their way to a therapists’ door are often hoping that life will become livable without any real letting go of parts of their past self. This is generally accompanied by searching the outside world for answers when the answers always, always, exist within. With this seeming paradox what is one to do?
The egos fear of death often is the source of this resistance to moving on. It imagines that letting go of the past would mean death to it. The ego fails to recognize that its course in life is full of death. Inwardly, each developmental stage, once complete and hopefully fully integrated and incorporated, leads to the next level of consciousness. This then means a death to a lower stage of growth to make space for the new. Outwardly, graduations, marriages, divorces, ending of friendships and beginning new ones, resignations and new work, and the aging process itself, all bring a death of the old and movement toward the new.
When some pain exists within the ego mind it often searches for solution by looking backward to the past and past ways of addressing pain. The ego-mind cannot help it because it can only work with the known and the known exists nowhere but in the past. A. H. Almaas in Diamond Heart, Book Three says that there are three kinds of knowledge. Knowledge of what we know, knowledge of what we know we don’t know, and knowledge that is completely unknown to us. In situations where change is necessary the third area of knowledge must be accessed. The way to do this is for the Self, the higher consciousness within, to guide the ego-mind toward that knowledge yet to be known. How is this accomplished?
First, the ego-mind must come to terms with the reality that it isn’t alone nor does it have to be. That despite its desire to think so the mind isn’t the sum total of the body that it inhabits. That the very ‘something’ that knows that it has a mind is by definition a higher order consciousness than is the ego-mind.
This ‘something’ has had many names over the life span of humans on this earth; Spirit, Ram, God, Consciousness, the All, the Tao and others. Whatever it is called, whatever concept the ego-mind chooses to label it as, it is ever present, and provides intelligence beyond what the mind can conceive of. This, in part, is because the mind is only able to function in the realm of duality and actually creates it; right verses wrong, day verses night, up verses down, or good verses bad. It functions in the realm of contrasts. The higher Self transcends this separation and in fact perceives none.
In truth the egoic mind can be shown the way to acceptance of this reality most simply. In a pragmatically hierarchical process we can ask ourselves how we know what we know. Using the body as an example, how do we know we have an arm? Because something beyond the arm recognizes that it is there. How do we know we have emotions? Because something beyond emotions recognizes that they exist within us. Then, how do we know that we have an egoic mind? Because there is something greater, something beyond the mind, that recognizes the minds existence. And, that ‘something greater’ is Consciousness itself.
Consciousness, the witness of all that unfolds, can be cultivated toward a relaxation of the defenses the egoic mind has created in an effort to feel safe. Meditation has been proven to be the one best avenue to this realization because it facilitates the witness consciousness necessary to recognize this distinction. This witnessing of consciousness happens in the present moment.
As the mind relaxes, new ways of perceiving life and living become apparent. Just the recognition by the egoic mind that it in reality doesn’t have to defensively dodge and weave through life’s experiences is healing in and of itself. With this new awareness comes the calming of the minds propensity to live in the past or future. Gradually, ever so gradually, we find ourselves living in the present moment where life actually happens. This creates space in our lives where none existed before because we weren’t here. We were in the past or future. Present moment living provides the creative juices, and the space, for here to now unknown knowledge to rise to awareness. This new knowledge is the “what we don’t know that we don’t know” that Almaas talks about. With these new awareness’s comes the possibility of living life freshly and allowing what is no longer necessary to disappear into the past. Our lives and life itself then becomes an ever unfolding richly dynamic and ever fresh reality.
Kenneth Andert LCSW
503 421 5904
klaanicca [at] msn [dot] com