You can see the way in which almost all of the spiritual practices are designed to bring you into the moment. Like when you’re doing Tai Chi, at first you’re thinking about it, but after a while each movement is a fixed moment in which you are right where that moment is. In a way, when Tai Chi is working, you die into it, and then the moment is just the movement of the hand at that point.

Similarly, in devotional practice, when you love, you start with romantic, dualistic “I love you,” and it’s self-conscious love, and it’s aware that you are loving. The concept of loving is very present, but as the love starts to intensify, that kind of self-consciousness disappears, and there is just the fullness of the state of love, and again, love brings you into the present moment.

You can feel it when you fall in love with somebody. The ‘falling’ has all the drama around it, but the state of being with the person allows you to feel the timelessness of the moment. It has the fullness of ‘being here now’ which contains the future and the past in it. It is not exclusive.

People think, “Oh, you’re being here now, you’re not being responsible,” and it’s in the sense that responsible means ‘time’ binding over past and future. However, all the past and future, everything you always were is in this moment, and all of your commitments for the future are in this moment. The fullness of this moment includes everything. It does not exclude past and future.

All we’re dealing with is the problem that the human mind clings, and the clinging of the human mind takes it into time and into space. It takes it away from the fullness of the moment, so that the most exquisite practice becomes something like the practice of the pasha, in which one keeps extricating oneself from identification with thoughts about past and future, noting them and then coming back to the present moment, the breath, which is just right there. It becomes easy.

You don’t have to carry it with you, it’s everywhere, with you. It’s in the supermarket, it’s in traffic when somebody cuts you off. I’m in traffic and somebody cuts me off, I feel that something, that thought form is rising, and I just follow my breath as I’m driving. At first I’m busy with my anger and busy with my driving, but then after a while, I start to really hear the breath.

As I hear the breath, and I come back as I hear the breath. I note the hand on the steering wheel, and then I note the emotions, and I just keep coming back into the thicker and thicker richness of this moment.

So as a practice… these are techniques for coming into the moment through the heart – through energy, through meditation, and sometimes through the beauty of working with another person.


-Ram Dass