There was one question I was asked by someone who was shy, because I think maybe she thought it was too simple of a question to ask, but I think it’s one worth noting, which is, “How do you have plans and goals and still stay in the present?”
I may be overly simple-minded about this kind of stuff, but on the short term, I have my date book. Somebody calls up and they say, “Would you do something next November?” and I’ll look in my book, and there’s either space or there isn’t, and then I’ll listen to their voice, and listen to my economics, and listen to the world, and listen to where I would imagine I would be next November. What state of mind would I be next November? Would I really want to do it when that came? And then I either say yes or no. If I say yes, I put it in the book, if I say no, I don’t.
Now, from now until next November, I am not busy being somebody with that in my book; at least not in my consciousness. It is in my book, it doesn’t have to be in my consciousness. When I go and say, “Well, now I would like to drop out. How soon can I drop out?” and I go through my book, “Well, I can’t drop out until after November, can I?” Because that’s my old karma now running off. I mean, this meeting was planned a year ago. How would I know that I would be in a space to want to be here with you in this meeting, and in a way, that commitment to the future affected all the ‘here and nows’ up until now.
Like if I wanted to take 2,000 micrograms of acid I’d say, “Well gee, if I do that I may not be in shape to speak for Omega when the time comes, because I may be just too far out to use words, what’ll I do then? Is everybody ready for silence?” See, you wouldn’t be. You’d get pissed off and say, “Ramana Maharshi can do it, but you sure as hell can’t.” You’d all walk out, and Omega would be mad, and you’d be mad, and I wouldn’t care, and that would be another chapter, you know?
So I would say that I plan for the future, and then I live in the present, and when the future becomes the present, I live in it, and this is it and here we are.
This was a thing in my planner for a whole year now. And tomorrow it’ll be old news, and tomorrow I won’t even remember it; I mean, the interesting thing is to go through a day like this, I mean, I’m not puffing it up, because I’m not marketing anything particularly except truth as far as I can see – this is a good day for all of us, but if you collect it you just end up with a set of smoldering old ideas, you know?
We have a tendency to think a little ahead of where we are all the time. We think about the Buddha, so we try to be the Buddha, but ultimately you have to slow down and wait anyway; you gotta catch up with yourself so you don’t get ‘phony holy’ too soon. Allow that you are at this moment not in the wrong place in your life. Consider the possibility that there have been no errors in the game. Just consider it. Consider that there is not an error, and everything that’s come down on your plate is the way it is and here we are.
-Ram Dass, Omega Institute, 1994
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