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Right Away is the Opposite of Now

--by Jacob Needleman (Sep 12, 2016)


Some years ago, I was walking downtown San Francisco with a great friend and a learned Tibetan scholar. I asked him about one of the most striking ways that the Tibetans express the uniqueness of the human condition. Imagine, they say, that deep in the vast ocean there swims a great and ancient turtle who surfaces for air once every hundred years. Imagine further that floating somewhere in the ocean is a single ox-yoke carried here and there by random waves and currents. What are the chances that when the turtle surfaces, his head will happen to emerge precisely through the center of the ox-yoke? That is how rare it is to be born as a human being!

In the middle of our conversation, I pointed to the crowds of men and women rushing by on the street and I gestured in a way to indicate not only them, but all the thousands and millions of people rushing around in the world. "Tell me, Lobsang," I said, "if it is so rare to be born a human being, how come there are so many people in the world?"

My friend slowed his pace and then stopped. He waited for a moment, taking in my question. I remember suddenly being able to hear, as though for the first time, the loud and frenetic traffic all around us. He looked at me and very quietly replied, "How many human beings do you see?"

In a flash, I understood the meaning of the story and the idea. Most of the people I was seeing, in the inner state they were in at that moment, were not really people at all. Most were what the Tibetans call "hungry ghosts." They did not really exist. They were not really *there*. They were *busy*, they were *in a hurry*. They -- like all of us -- were obsessed with doing things *right away*. But *right away* is the opposite of *now* -- the opposite of the lived present moment in which the passing of time no longer tyrannizes us. The hungry ghosts are starved for "more" time; but the more time we hungry ghosts get, the more time we "save", the hungrier we become, the less we actually *live*. And I understood that it is not exactly more time, more days and years, that we are starved for, it is the present moment.

Through our increasing absorption in the busyness, we have the present moment. "Right away" is not now. What a toxic illusion!

excerpted from Jacob Needleman's book "Time and the Soul"

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14 Previous Reflections:

 
On Sep 16, 2016 Jodyne wrote:

 "Right away" suggests intention and action, and stress; "now" suggests only this spotlight in time, and life as it IS [right now].   "Right away" suggests 'working a system of knowledge' to go somewhere in a fantacy world, "now" has no words, no thought.. and therefore no stress.  

Right after my divorce several years ago my goal became to find another partner ASAP, my reasoning was, to find a suitable life partner who could complete the family circle, but I found myself instead drifting into one relationship after another without attaining my goal; but once I stopped stressing about it, and gave focus to the kids, the family I already had - thus enjoying the moment, my joy returned, and in the process I found the life partner I have been hoping to find.  

What helps me from becoming a 'hungry ghost' is being real, and living by life's truths.  



On Sep 15, 2016 Kristof wrote:

 When I wake up in the  morning  right away  I start getting ready for the day it takes me some time to truly wake up
then I sit down and I observe  the process of waking and falling asleep .When I sit down long enough I can see that process of turning into hungry ghost more clear ..



On Sep 15, 2016 luv4all wrote:

 Much grateful for the reading....
To me - while 'right away' is about getting lost in completing some task ; 'now' is about living this very moment with awareness.
i have personally chosen to spend few minutes with senior citizens - as moments of listening and feeling warmth of human connection. These are time spent in 'now' for me.
Silence sittings and the feeling of calm & content within help me to choose 'now' rather than 'right away'.

Thank you for the opportunity to share.



On Sep 13, 2016 Joan sewall wrote:

 Life is a series of continuous moments of now 



1 reply: Suroj | Post Your Reply
On Sep 13, 2016 Daniela Birschel wrote:

 Right away...is a demand, a condition we want to happen at this very instance, a confirmation of our efficiency to get things done in a hurry. Now...is flowing with what is instead of making  IT happen out there, I have to happen to be present, I have to put myself into the condition to be with what is. 



On Sep 13, 2016 Padma wrote:

Now, a settling in.  A spreading out into the spacious allowing of what is here.  Nothing separate.  
Hurry!, "right now,"...a mind-filled contraction pushing against an illusory sense of separation.



On Sep 13, 2016 Michael Uchebuaku wrote:

 "Now" gives me peace of mind and helps me find myself. But "right away" makes me lose myself and the purpose of my existence.



On Sep 13, 2016 Sunil,Bangalore wrote:

You hear more with less noise.Pineapple stands tall,wears a crown & is sweet inside.Now is unspoken inner balance with silent harmony.Right-away is disturbed unequilibrium. Arrival at peace within & without may be the parameter for NOW.Search for a living Guru opening the tenth door/third eye is the personal story to become a humane Now avoiding the human Right away. Finding "Who am I" brings satisfaction ending the hunger of this precious human birth. Cheers with Love


1 reply: Myrtle | Post Your Reply
On Sep 13, 2016 arun mathai marette wrote:

 Fantastic and Energized Reverence to Loving Avatars of Creator...

Now is the state where seeker becomes the sought..

i.e..seeker realizes and cherishes the intrinsic ability to reflect the actions and thoughts of  Self in the form of Love, Humbleness, Selfulness, Peace, Devotion, Courage, Fearlessness, Forgiveness, Acceptance, Justice Abiding, Gratefulness, Clarity, Transparency, Honesty, Listening, Learning, Compassion, Companionship,Empathy, Hope....................

In short- Now is Heaven and right away is hell...

Enjoy.

Love All...... 



On Sep 12, 2016 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

 Most of the time we live not right now and  not right here, in the flow of the present moment. We follow our habitual and conditioned patterns of living there and then, caught up in the past which is dead and in the future which is yet to be born. When I embrace the present moment fully, I feel more alive, vibrant, with me and with others in deeper way, more intimate way. It is a reflection of what is happening in me. I am more intimate with me, I am more together with me and that facilitates closeness and togetherness with what I am doing and with the people with me and around me. The ghosts of the past and the future evaporate and the loving feeling good and breathing self shows up on its own. Before I started reflecting on this wonderful writing, I had a counseling session with a client who has been going through depression. I led her through this mindfulness process by asking her to be present with what is always present , our breath. She spent a good amount o  See full.

 Most of the time we live not right now and  not right here, in the flow of the present moment. We follow our habitual and conditioned patterns of living there and then, caught up in the past which is dead and in the future which is yet to be born. When I embrace the present moment fully, I feel more alive, vibrant, with me and with others in deeper way, more intimate way. It is a reflection of what is happening in me. I am more intimate with me, I am more together with me and that facilitates closeness and togetherness with what I am doing and with the people with me and around me. The ghosts of the past and the future evaporate and the loving feeling good and breathing self shows up on its own.

Before I started reflecting on this wonderful writing, I had a counseling session with a client who has been going through depression. I led her through this mindfulness process by asking her to be present with what is always present , our breath. She spent a good amount of time doing belly breathing, deep and slow. feeling centered and grounded. When I sensed she was ready, I suggested her to let what ever was arising in her mind-thoughts- and heart -feelings and emotions and letting them go by each inhalation and exhalation. Ghosts from the past and the future visited her and she let them come and go without reacting, resisting or denying. I stayed with her compassionately and helped her process whatever was showing up  in her mind and heart and  to become mindful of the variety of bodily sensations she was experiencing.It is by feeling we heal, not by suppressing or denying our thoughts and feelings.  We need a compassionate and skillful guide to help us heal and get well.

It is an  inner work and it needs to be done regularly to work on ourselves. It helps us unburden ourselves from the  regretful grip of the past and the  worrisome net of the future. By working on the shadow, we see the glimpses of light.

May we daily carve some time  from our frenzy and overly busy life style to take care of ourselves and relate to others in a compassionate and constructive way.May we give such a priceless gift to ourselves and to others and realize that by giving we receive.

Namaste.
 
Jagdish P Dave



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On Sep 12, 2016 Kristin Pedemonti wrote:

 For me, Right away has a sense of urgency whereas now has a feeling of peacefulness. When I was in Belize traveling village to village learning and sharing stories as part of my literacy project I felt I was recalibrated by the local culture to look at the idea of 'right away' as "now." Belizeans for the most part move at a much slower pace and when they would say "right away I will come" that could mean 5 minutes, an hour or several hours later because they tended to be in the moment of now with whomever and whatever was happening within their immediate physical space. It was liberating. And yes, admittedly, a bit frustrating for me at first, especially coming from the Northeast of the US which often runs at breakneck speed. To protect from becoming a 'hungry ghost' I do my best to remind myself to be present now with whoever I am in physical presence and with the task at hand. Progress not perfection. :)



On Sep 9, 2016 david doane wrote:

'Right away' is rushing to get tasks done, frenetically being goal-directed and in the future, frenetically doing.   Being now is truly being in the present, goal-lessly and purposelessly, aware of and alive in the dynamic present.  They are two different states of being.  I am often aware of a need to be present and have times of being very fully present, but such times are seldom pure and are brief.  I have protected myself only partially from turning into a hungry ghost.  Awareness of now certainly helps.  I'm not fully hungry ghost and not fully now.  Hungry ghost and now are two ends of a continuum.  Sometimes I'm at one extreme or the other, and usually I'm a mix of the two, somewhere left or right of center.  Often, like right now, I'm preoccupied with 'right away' with some awareness of now while being to some degree hungry ghost, and sometimes I take a break from right away and settle into being present and being very fully human.&  See full.

'Right away' is rushing to get tasks done, frenetically being goal-directed and in the future, frenetically doing.   Being now is truly being in the present, goal-lessly and purposelessly, aware of and alive in the dynamic present.  They are two different states of being.  I am often aware of a need to be present and have times of being very fully present, but such times are seldom pure and are brief.  I have protected myself only partially from turning into a hungry ghost.  Awareness of now certainly helps.  I'm not fully hungry ghost and not fully now.  Hungry ghost and now are two ends of a continuum.  Sometimes I'm at one extreme or the other, and usually I'm a mix of the two, somewhere left or right of center.  Often, like right now, I'm preoccupied with 'right away' with some awareness of now while being to some degree hungry ghost, and sometimes I take a break from right away and settle into being present and being very fully human.  Being now is certainly more alive and fulfilling.  I ongoingly move along the continuum.

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