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This Month's New Thought Essay

My sleep lately is crowded with dreams, and when I wake, I know it, but I can't remember them. I feel as if I have just arrived home from a short but complicated trip that has left me disoriented. My sleep is like my waking life - too busy with too much, so that as soon as possible I must file it all away and constantly "clear the desk" to be ready for all the stuff I know will flood in again immediately.

I have an inner urge to "cut down" and to simplify my life. I have begun to clear out some of my books and binders of information and paper. For every piece, there was a reason to keep it. So I saved it, provided it with shelter and maintenance, rent free, for years. I was always struggling to catch up, to get past the pile of the Intended But Undone from yesterday, so that I could finally get to the luxury of living right now, today.

I saved all these books and all these notebooks, crammed with information and resources, in case I might need them someday. Saved them and carefully filed and cataloged reams and hundreds of reams of paper for someday when I might need them. Well, it IS someday, and I don't need them.

And so bit by bit, and bagfull by bagfull, I am sorting, uncataloging, and dispersing them out of my inhabited space. About 35% of my "stuff" has been given away or thrown away, and I have not missed any of it. I need the space much more than I need the stuff.

Some of it is valuable stuff, but its value lies in my past, or in someone else's future. I have untangled and unloaded a large mass of the past and future out of my house, out of my space, out of my mind, and out of my life. I have room at last, for Now. This is a great adventure.

Consider The Now. Now is the Great Unknown, a mystery. I knew that, even when I was a child. What I know about Now that I didn't know then is that Now is "where it's at." Now is the only real time that exists, ever did, or ever will. I know this, even though I still get stuck in that catching-up mode from time to time. I know there is no real time, only the concept of it as a container. What I want is to get past it and break free into Now.

I think probably the only way to be truly free from the tyranny of the past and its unfulfilled hopes and intentions is to simply throw them all away. Forgive whatever needs forgiving, and cast them away, as if worthless. But something in human beings holds fondly to the past, its events and feelings, because we love them, or hate them, or because we fear to let go of them and stand empty at the threshold of the present moment, without a textbook, without a cheat-sheet, without a clue.

Now is almost never what we wish it would be, so we let it go by unnoticed while we focus our thoughts on the visions of the future and the memories of the past. We waste a lot of "time" on nonproductive energy like that. We can't change the past, because it's gone. And we can't change the future anywhere else but now, in the present. What we do now, always determines what future unfolds for us.

I want to let go of the past – dead events, dead issues, and all of what’s past, even the good parts, knowing that whatever future I have, I am building now, in the present moment. If I want a different future, I cannot build it on anything from the past. Yet that is exactly what we are sociologically conditioned to do; it is the way we learn – from experience. To come truly into the present does not mean cutting off relationships or memories. It means severing the spiritual bondage to the past, the ties we have come to imagine as a lifeline. To live in the present means trusting yourself and trusting God. To live in the present is Freefall.

"Now" calls to me, fascinates and haunts me just as it did when I was a child who looked up at the darkening twilight sky and wondered deep wonderings about what God was, what death was like, and in that moment, experienced eternity. It was something I could not comprehend, but could, just for that moment, know. When we can become truly still, truly here, fully clear in the present moment, we experience the true now, and we experience eternity.

Now is still and always will be The Great Mystery. Now is the portal to the vast unknown, and always will be. It is the wing of the plane from which we must jump, again and again, continually, for all our life and eternity, and trust that the parachute will open each time. And I have learned that It is well not to carry too much baggage.

Now is the eternal brink of everything that will ever be. The choices we must make in every moment of this eternal present will create everything that will ever come or ever be, in our lives. Yet we must make these decisions without knowledge of what the results will be. If we could see the future, there would be no reason or need to live at all. But we will never see the future because it does not exist. Our thoughts, even more than our actions, are creating it now. Our epiphany is the realization of that truth. Our destiny is the living of it, whether we know it or not.