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  • Realize deeply that the present
    moment is all you have. Make the
    NOW the primary focus of your life.

    Eckhart Tolle,

    Less and less do I believe that there is such a thing as the "future."

    T.S. Eliot writes: "Time past and time future/Allow but a little consciousness./To be conscious is not to be in time."

    While in concept "future" may be useful to some in order to provide a sense of security or continuity or hope, it can also be destructive – it can dim the vigor, the dynamic, of the unfolding now.

    In relationships, for example, do I give my heart and soul at every moment in our relationship? Do I maintain a high state of giving and sharing and honesty? Or does my illusion that there is a "tomorrow" tie me up with caution and reticence (perhaps I should not give so much today, perhaps I should piece my giving, some today, some tomorrow)?

    To live without past or future means living as though each moment is all there is. To me it means the right to be lavish with affection, extravagant in gratitude, prodigal in honesty, because I only have, after all, this metaphorical moment and I must be as true to it as I can be.

    In our safe cocoons of reticence we say, "I will speak my heart tomorrow." But then, inevitably, things change, and we do not speak our love, our affection, tomorrow, or the next day, or the next, for that imaginary future never comes. I am learning this: at the moment I must include all that I have ever been, all that I will be. I do not need to struggle into tomorrow. I only need to wake up today, because it is all here, within my consciousness, now. Instead of asking "What do I want to be?" why shouldn't I ask "What am I now?" That is the only really relevant question.

    To the extent that we can live millisecond by millisecond, we are free to see into the heart of things – free to participate in the simultaneity of the universe. Outside of time, everything becomes natural, easy, and spontaneous. The ultimate, heavenly structure is a kind of nonstructure, in which everything is loving and related, and within which everything makes sense.

    It seems to me that only as we understand the unreality of space-time will we become the kind of beings worthy of the gift of life. This is to live without fear, or greed, or hate, or jealousy or insecurity, because the completeness of the miraculous Now is understood. In the Now, everything is possible. As one's thought opens to include this new way of looking at things, we will find many proofs.

    I wonder if our need, then, is not for fresh ways of looking at familiar things – learn how to ask the right questions, develop and refine whole new ways of analyzing those situations which we consider (in the light of our present knowledge) as "problems."

    Perhaps a more systematic and rigorous testing of our assumptions will reveal to us that many of our "problems" are not what they seem to be at all.

    Thus, when I talk about caring, and intuition, and spontaneity, when I talk about living one's life within a continuum of Now rather than in a succession of prisons of space-time, I am trying to align myself not only with individual needs, but with universal needs as well.

    And it is here that I feel poetry becomes relevant. I do not mean just lines that may or may not rhyme set down on paper, but poetry in its largest sense, poetry as a way of living expectantly, poetry as a celebration of each moment, poetry as a way of life that tunes in to the artist in each of us. It is in this sense that I feel poetry is relevant to the "future,", for as we realize that we can survive only as we learn to deal in the most comprehensive, inclusive terms, we will need, increasingly, this discipline of the mind that deals directly with the inmost stuff of the human spirit.

    “Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”

    ― Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment


    Note: I decided about a week ago to post only one Story each day. There has been some useful feedback on this concept from several of you (thank you!) which has led me to rethink my decision, especially in the absence of any specific Guideline or request from Cowbird related to number of postings per day. Thus, I am returning to my previous practice of not limiting my Stories posted, at least until Cowbird requests that we Authors observe a "one Story a Day" practice, both for practical reasons (available server space) and personal ones (not overwhelming our readers - you who so graciously give us your thoughtful attention.) Having said all this, it is my feeling that a self-imposed limit of no more than 3 Stories a day is probably thoughtful, but that's just me. Blessings, Alex

    (Photograph by Alex in LOCUS, in the 3-D virtual world of Second Life)
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