Being in the Now is giving up past and future tenses. Celebrate Midsummer by being present in time. Eight kinds of time are explored in the Spiritual Seasonings series of this blog, available in the Nature as Transformer section of LolaWilcox.com.

At Midsummer in the Northern Hemisphere plants are growing towards harvest. Summer Solstice in the longest day, and the shortest night. Most of us need less sleep in the summer, and we often want to spend as much of the day as possible out of doors. The joy of cool mornings lets us rise with birdsong, while the heat of midday slows us down and suggests naps or a good book in the shade. Gardeners and farmers are often up before first light, and finished with their weeding and watering hard labor by nine. It is too hot to work later!

The long time until twilight allows for leisure, walks and bike rides, dessert on the deck, or sitting on the back stoop watching the light darken into night. The last frost crystal is melted from our bones, and we drink glass after glass of water to stay hydrated. Our agriculturally based ancestors knew, as we know, summer calls us into living Now.

Sprinkler Rainbow

Eight Kinds of Time

Braided, Relative and Synchronous Time have a relationship to Circular Time. Past and Future are part of Linear Time. The Now holds them all – the middle of Linear and the center of Circular time. Neither Braided nor Synchronous can occur unless the individual is living in the present moment.

On a walk with someone, recounting our current state of being, we might be irritated when our companion says “Look at that flower.. deer … a view.” Even a warning like “Look out!” distracts us from our inner landscape. When caught up in that inner reality we are unaware of, and unavailable to, anything or anyone else. Worry circles around our fear and anger, and all is a part of the inner landscape.   

Imagine that when we separate ourselves from the Now we commit a “Crime against the Present”. When we are discontent we are in the future, or perhaps someone else’s present, and our own present in lacking. When we worry we are projecting an insecure future or remembering an uncomfortable past, and both exist only in our minds. When we fear some future thing we are making up a story. If we are in danger in the present moment, time slows down, and each second stretches so there is immense opportunity to act. But only if one is not caught up in the fear. Sloth is not being present to your body which longs to be engaged in the world, its muscles moving, sinews stretching, heart beating. Busy-ness is greed; we want too much, too many friends, too many goals. These are all Crimes Against the Present.

No Worries

Recipes for Stopping Crimes Against the Present.

Unavailability: Be with another person completely. Listen to every word, and listen below and above the words for what they are feeling and thinking. Connect to their voice. Don’t think of your response, or how you really ought to be doing something else. Give the person your undivided Now. 

Ending Discontent: Count your blessings. Practice giving gratitude and praise to everyone. Unhappy with someone? Discover or remember the best part of their humanness, and let the rest go. Unhappy with your situation? Change it. But don’t spend another minute feeling discontent and unhappy because you are missing what is now. 

The Stop Worry Trick: “Worry is like a rocking chair; you go back and forth and get nowhere.” (John Forcier-Call). We circle our worry like a dog circles its bed, tracking over and over the same information. The trick is to ask three questions: 

         1) Has the situation changed?

         2) Is there any new information?

         3) Is there anything I can do today? 

No? Then set the worry aside, and refuse to think about it again. Train yourself to let it go until there is a Yes to one of the questions. In the meantime, don’t talk about it. The prize is hours spent in the present, living fully and richly in the moment. To stop worrying means a lot of hours restored – a lifetime of hours. 

Drive out Fear: “Take no action, make no decision out of fear or ambition.” Carlos Castenada   

Stopping Sloth: Go outside, lie on the ground, sit with your back to a tree, until the body is re-energized by the earth’s energy. 

Busy-ness: Mark out regular unstructured time – blank space – on the calendar. This is not time to read or meditate or even to pray. This is time everyday when nothing is to happen. This is time to clear the mind so that the present  enters. You are a blank canvas on which anything may happen. 

Once we begin to focus outside ourselves, letting our inner realities subside, opening to the present moment, we experience being in the flow. There is a difference between impulsiveness and spontaneity; impulsiveness has the flavor of disconnectedness. True spontaneity comes from being centered in the moment, of being aware of the threads available in the moment and, by being there, weaving them.

Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free.
Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing.

– Chang Tzu

Hour Glass

Being, not doing, is my first joy” says Theodore Roethke in the Far Field. How can we be in the present, being, without doing, without past or future, only the Now? So much of modern life works against being present in the moment. Present time is a present. We were created to be fully alive in it, to experience the fullness of it. We live fully in the present when we borrow nothing from the past or future:

 

N   Nothing

O   of

W  Will Be or Was.