The Truly Radical Meaning of “Be Here Now”

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Meaning #1: Be In the Present Moment

The phrase is most commonly understood to mean that you should be focused on the present. This means you are not ruminating about the past or worrying about the future.

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Photo by Laura Fuhrman on Unsplash

“Be Here Now” typically means that if you place your attention on the present moment, you will experience a greater sense of peace.

Unfortunately, this version can easily be reduced to a kind of “go with the flow” platitude; it carries with it a dreamy sense of floating from one moment to the next. This version comes up when people embrace being “chill” or “zen” (without really having a connection with Zen Buddhism), without a care in the world.

Meaning #2: Be Present to the Present Moment

But being focused on the present moment does not automatically translate to the kind of peace BHN conveys.

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Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

The more skillful question is: What is your relationship to what is arising in the present moment?

If you’re planning a trip, with all of the future-oriented aspects like dates for your flight and hotel room, what is your relationship to the decisions you are making right now about that future event? Are you anxious and worried that the trip might not go well, or are you enjoying the process in that very moment of planning? Are you planning the trip to get away from present circumstances or simply because you know that going on a certain kind of trip often entails coordinating the details in advance?

Meaning #3: Be Present to the Present You Cannot See

That’s one final meaning that captures the real magic of BHN. We’ve understood the “here” as the present moment, and “be” without resistance to that present moment. So we must shift our understanding of what the “now” really is.

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Image by annca from Pixabay
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Photo by Jilbert Ebrahimi on Unsplash

You will always see a partial version of the past appearing as the now.

Isn’t that a wild conundrum? Guess what? There’s no easy way out of this!

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Image by SplitShire from Pixabay

So the “now” is never fully graspable. There is always more to perceive.

Another way to practice is to slow down. During a 9-day silent meditation retreat, I began to slow down considerably around day 6 or 7. I mean really slow down. I’m talking about taking a bite of food in slow motion and walking in slow motion. Because my mind had slowed down after so much silent meditation, as I slowed my movement my mind could start to take in data that it used to filter out. I began to hear sounds I could never perceive, and take in colors and see details my eyes usually filtered out. In a way, I realized how much more I was capable of seeing, but the data was so immense, I could only process it by slowing down to allow my senses to capture it. Even then, I was still only capturing a part of reality.

Its power lies in the fact that it is impossible to be fully present to all that is “now.”

But it’s not meant to signal failure. To the contrary, it’s an invitation to explore what you think is there and what more might be there that you can’t see. It’s an invitation to loosen your grip on your concepts and perceptions — and any judgments, resistance, and other emotions attached to them — because they are past concepts that filter the now so you can only see a small portion of it.

Written by

Professor and lawyer turned channel for divine wisdom. Follow me on IG (intuitivepatrick) and FB (@divineppg). Check out my books here:

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