“Living in the Now” has become the new buzz phrase and we have a very romanticized idea of it. At the same time, we are afraid of living in the now because it means letting go, and the mind doesn’t want to lose its illusion of control. The safest thing we will ever do, however is to relax into life’s creative flow.
I want to share with you a wonderful parable from Peter Russell’s book White Hole in Time that tells about the power of opening into life and rediscovering the safety of being.
There once was a man who was holding onto a piece of rope for dear life, knowing that if he were to let go, he would fall to his death. His parents, teachers and friends had all told him this was so, and when he looked around, he could see everyone else believed this too. So he held on.
Along came a wise person. She knew that holding tightly brings pain and suffering, and that the security it offers is illusory. She talked about true security, deeper joy and true happiness. She told him this is available if he would release just one finger from the rope.
“One finger,” thought the man. “That is not too much to risk for greater peace.” So he agreed to take this first initiation, and he discovered that it was safe.
“Even greater happiness and peace can be experienced,” she said, “if you will release a second finger.”
“This feels more difficult. Can I do it? Will it be safe? Do I have the courage?” He hesitated. Then, flexing his finger, he felt how it would be to let go a little more and took the risk. Not only did he not fall, but he discovered greater happiness and inner peace.
But could more be possible? “Trust me,” she said. “Have I failed you so far? I know your fears. I know your mind is telling you that this is crazy, going against everything you have ever learned. But it’s safe.”
“Do I really want happiness and inner peace so much,” he wondered, “that I am prepared to fully let go?” With a little coaxing, he began to look at his fears and to consider their basis. Slowly he felt his fingers soften and relax. He is then hanging by one finger. Reason told him he should have fallen a finger or two ago, but he hadn’t. “Is there really something here beyond my controlling mind? Maybe it is truly safe to let go.” Trusting his inner knowing he gradually released the last finger…and nothing happened! Then he realized why. He had been standing on the ground all along!
If you really think about it, you will realize that this moment is safe. It holds all the clarity, peace, wisdom and communion we long for, and opening to life is not only safe, it is our home.
So how did you get so far away, lost in the maze of a mind that feels separate from life? How do you open back into life when you’ve been gone for so long, with only vague memories of being here? How do you cut through the shoulds and oughts of your educational and religious training that say what you long for is in some far-off place you will only get to if you do it right? How do you discover the wisdom, support and Love that are always with you and that are accessible in the living moment?
The key is to cultivate a curious mind and an inclusive heart so that you can not only make contact with life—here and now—but also learn to see the stories flowing through your mind all day long and notice how they keep you cut off from life. So, I invite you to nourish yourself everyday with something that reminds you to relax into life. If you are interested, I speak about this every week on my radio show and in my books which can be found on my website.
Also, there are many other wise people speaking the truth now – Adyashanti, Eckhart Tolle, Pema Chodron and Tara Brach, to name a few. I invite you to be willing to find ways to quiet your mind and open your heart so you can actually show up for your life and become a part of the healing that is possible for us all.