Awareness is always now.
The day where you first heard your heartbeat
Listens for you still.
Rickie Lee Jones, The Unsigned Painting
In the previous three insights, I made free use of the idea of time. I suggested that you remember your past and imagine your future, or even imagine the past before you were born or the future after you will die. I did this to give you a clearer, more immediate sense of how completely awareness is bound up with existence, and also bound up with who you are.
All you know of the universe has come through direct observation. Any picture or scientific understanding you may have – of, say, the Big Bang, or what a carbon atom looks like, or how the brain works, or what our galaxy will look like in the distant future after the Andromeda galaxy has collided with it – has entered your mind through the portal of awareness.
But, to be a little more rigorous, I wish to add one caveat: Awareness always and only exists now, at this moment. Anything that has ever entered or will enter your field of awareness could only do so at a specific moment, which we call now.
So, in a sense, the portal of awareness, I, may seem severely limited and limiting in its scope. Everything we know or could ever know enters our mind only through awareness, and only at a single moment.
For whatever reason, though, I don’t anticipate much pushback on this idea. For one thing, the success and popularity of Eckhart Tolle, author of the mega-bestseller The Power of Now, shows that the world is quite ready to accept this idea. So, when I say that awareness is limited to a single moment, and that this moment is called now, I’m not worried that you somehow think I’m saying that time doesn’t exist and you should delete the clock and calendar apps from your phone.
So, assuming that you can accept this idea that awareness is always now, go ahead and jump to Insight 18.