Atha – Now
Last month, we faced the fear of the unknown. Tried to change habits and maybe even managed to get curious about the new. But the fear still seems to be there. Perhaps no longer of the unknown. But perhaps of the uncertain future.
Many of us were thrown out of our everyday lives overnight. No longer able to pursue their professions, often perhaps even vocations. The question remains: who pays rent, insurance and taxes? For fear of the future, we often cling to past, business-like times.
Already more than 1500 years ago, the Indian scholar Patanjali described in the Yoga Sutras life in the here and now as one of the essential qualities of Yoga. atha yogānuśāsanam. This is the very first Sutra: The Introduction to Yoga starts now! In the Here and Now begins the path to dissolving suffering. And this moment requires our complete attention.
Atha, now then, begins the path that can lead us to the experience of our true nature, our indestructible inner truth. Patanjali challenges us to change direction – from the outside to the inside. To make ourselves independent of things beyond our control.
To live: In the here and now.
But why do we often find it so difficult to really live in the moment? For Eckhart Tolle the answer is clear. We identify with our mind. In his classic “Now! The Power of the Present” he shows ways to free ourselves from enslavement to compulsive thinking. The present moment contains the key to liberation. We can only find this moment, Tolle says, if we free ourselves from our mind. The ego-sick mind is constantly busy keeping the past alive. Because, he asks, without the past – who are we anyway? We see and judge the present through the eyes of the past. In the future, in turn, we seek salvation or fulfillment. By doing so we distance ourselves from our true self, our inner truth.
But how can we free ourselves from the slavery of the mind, which constantly leads us from the past into the future? Observe your thoughts, without prejudice, do not condemn them. Do not condemn yourself for clinging to the past and looking anxiously into an uncertain future. The thought thus loses power over you and quickly fades away.
The present, says Tolle, is only used by the mind to achieve a goal that lies in the future. Being truly present, on the other hand, means that we are not trying to free ourselves from attachments or emotions. To live in the moment means to pay attention to all the sensory perceptions that belong to a particular moment. Paying attention completely to the now. What can I hear? What can I taste? What can I feel and see? To be awake and attentive without thinking. This is the beginning of the end of unintentional compulsive thinking.
What follows are the quiet moments. And they exist. The precious moments when the mind is “speechless” and we live fully in the moment. Those contemplative moments where there seems to be nothing but the present moment. In these moments there is no past, no future. Such experiences arise beyond the mind. They they are the key to your inner truth, which rests deep within you and frees you from external imponderables.
Everything is connected.
Faster, further, higher – there is a chance that this belongs to the past.
The many races and speeches have come to a halt in many areas of our everyday life. Some have learned that renunciation does not necessarily mean loss. It can perhaps even open up new possibilities. The elbow society has given way to one for each other and togetherness. Neighbourly help has taken on a whole new value. There is hope that many have recognised that we humans are also only living beings in the midst of other life forms.
We miss out on all this when we cling to the past or look anxiously into the future. We will be able to remember it later – but we will not have experienced it.
Now! is the time to live the moment. The way it is – not the way we imagined it. With the deep confidence that everything will be fine.
The earth can breathe a sigh of relief. And we can breathe again.
Lokha Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu.
May all beings in this world be connected, be in harmony and experience happiness.
Text by Daniela Hinderer