The Living Present
As I can see, there is nothing wrong with my body nor with my real
being. Both are not
my making and need not be improved upon. What has gone wrong is the
‘inner body’, call it
consciousness,antahkarana, whatever the name.
What do you consider to be wrong with your mind?
It is restless, greedy of the pleasant and afraid of the unpleasant.
What is wrong with its seeking the pleasant and shirking the
unpleasant? Between the banks of
and pleasure the river of life flows. It is only when the mind refuses
to flow with life, and gets
at the banks, that it becomes a problem. By flowing with life I mean
acceptance -- letting come
comes and go what goes. Desire not, fear not, observe the actual, as
and when it happens, for
are not what happens, you are to whom it happens. Ultimately even the
observer you are not.
are the ultimate potentiality of which the all-embracing consciousness
is the manifestation and
Yet, between the body and the self there lies a cloud of thoughts and
feelings, which neither
the body nor the self. These thoughts and feelings are flimsy,
transient and meaningless,
mental dust that blinds and chokes, yet they are there, obscuring and
Surely, the memory of an event cannot pass for the event itself. Nor
can the anticipation. There
something exceptional, unique, about the present event, which the
previous, or the coming do not
There is a livingness about it, an actuality; it stands out as if
illuminated. There is the ‘stamp
reality’ on the actual, which the past and the future do not have.
What gives the present that 'stamp of reality’?
There is nothing peculiar in the present event to make it different
from the past and future. For a
the past was actual and the future will become so. What makes the
present so different?
my presence. I am real for I am always now, in the present, and what
is with me now
in my reality. The past is in memory, the future -- in imagination.
There is nothing in the
event itself that makes it stand out as real. It may be some simple,
the striking of the clock. In spite of our knowing that the successive
strokes are identical, the
stroke is quite different from the previous one and the next -- as
remembered, or expected.
thing focussed in the now is with me, for I am ever present; it is my
own reality that I impart to the
But we deal with things remembered as if they were real.
We consider memories, only when they come into the present The
forgotten is not counted until
is reminded -- which implies, bringing into the now.
Yes, I can see there is in the now some unknown factor that gives
momentary reality to the
You need not say it is unknown, for you see it in constant operation.
Since you were born, has it
changed? Things and thoughts have been changing all the time. But the
feeling that what is
is real has never changed, even in dream.
In deep sleep there is no experience of the present reality.
The blankness of deep sleep is due entirely to the lack of specific
memories. But a general
of well-being is there. There is a difference in feeling when we say
‘I was deeply asleep’
‘I was absent’.
We shall repeat the question we began with: between life’s source and
life’s expression (which
the body), there is the mind and its ever-changeful states. The stream
of mental states is endless,
and painful. Pain is the constant factor. What we call pleasure is but
a gap, an interval
two painful states. Desire and fear are the weft and warp of living,
and both are made of
Our question is: can there be a happy mind?
Desire is the memory of pleasure and fear is the memory of pain. Both
make the mind restless.
of pleasure are merely gaps in the stream of pain. How can the mind be
That is true when we desire pleasure or expect pain. But there are
moments of unexpected,
joy. Pure joy, uncontaminated by desire -- unsought, undeserved,
Still, joy is joy only against a background of pain.
Is pain a cosmic fact, or purely mental?
The universe is complete and where there is completeness, where
nothing lacks, what can give
The Universe may be complete as a whole, but incomplete in details.
A part of the whole seen in relation to the whole is also complete.
Only when seen in isolation it
deficient and thus a seat of pain. What makes for isolation?
Limitations of the mind, of course. The mind cannot see the whole for
Good enough. The mind, by its very nature, divides and opposes. Can
there be some other
which unites and harmonises, which sees the whole in the part and the
part as totally related
The other mind -- where to look for it?
In the going beyond the limiting, dividing and opposing mind. In
ending the mental process as
know it. When this comes to an end, that mind is born.
In that mind, the problem of joy and sorrow exist no longer?
Not as we know them, as desirable or repugnant. It becomes rather a
question of love seeking
and meeting with obstacles. The inclusive mind is love in action,
initially frustrated, ultimately victorious.
Between the spirit and the body, is it love that provides the bridge?
What else? Mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it.