Koan of Being Present

As our human self, we are very much in time and space. We are flow, a temporary pattern through which the matter and energy of the larger world flows. There is a birth to us as a human self, and there is a death. And right now – inbetween the birth and death – there is also change.

As this space & awareness, we see that time & space happens within us. This groundless ground, the Original Face, the Unborn, has a quality of timelessness and spacelessness. In itself, it is distinct from the world of form and from any qualities of the world of form. It is distinct from time, although time happens within it. It is distinct from space, although space is within it. It is distinct from change, although change happens within it.

As our human self, it can be a struggle to be present. There is an infinite past and an infinite future, and the present is this razor’s edge inbetween. It is easy to appear lost in thoughts about the past and future. In truth, there is no way not to be lost in abstractions about the past and future.

As the groundless ground – this space & awareness reading these words – I am not only present, but I am the present. I am the eternal present, in which the world of form and time arises. I am here now, and always here now. I am the present with a fluid, fresh and always changing content. As space & awareness, there is no way to be lost in thoughts about the past or future, for these thoughts also arises within me.

So the desire to be present is really a desire to find ourselves as the groundless ground, that which is beyond and includes the world of form.

When we are told to aim at “being present” in various traditions, it is a koan. If we are exclusively identified as our human self, it is impossible to do or resolve. It can only happen or be resolved when we find ourselves as the Unborn, when we recognize ourselves as this space & awareness, in which this human self and the whole world arises.

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