Lesson 10 – There is Only Now
The only kind of time that deserves your attention is the fact that it’s time for you to come Home, now. To come into your true Self and rest in what’s already here, Now. Bentinho Massaro
In Lesson 10 you will discover another major truth about Presence-Consciousness—the fact that there is only ever Now.
As a bonus, this truth will help you spot some of the misperceptions of “you-as-a-person-trying-to-become-enlightened.”
The clearer you see the shenanigans associated with the idea that you are a separate, un-enlightened person, the more naturally you will strengthen your association with that which transcends the person: Already-Enlightened-Presence-Consciousness.
Perfect, Pervasive I-AM
The idea that future and past exist as real realities, independent of the all-embracing Now, is one of the core perceptions that generates and perpetuates the sense “I am a person inside of a world of time and space.”
To realize the truth of Now is to cut off the power supply to the unhealthy identification with the person and its endless string of petty-minded, unoriginal, conditioned concerns regarding past and future.
What remains is freedom.
How much remains of the sense “I am a person inside of a world of time and space” when, for just a moment, say 2 to 5 seconds, you tune into the actual presence of the here-and-now moment—and refrain from thinking about a past or future?
Just tune into now—here, now…
Do you see how the sense “I am a person inside of a world” disappears—for at least the duration of your moment of non-engagement in thought?
The Now is free from the illusions of time, as projected by your mind. You cannot think about the true Now; you already are Now. You can only observe and recognize that this is true: that you are (the) Now.
The true Now—Presence-Consciousness—can only be recognized, as already here, inescapably so.
This Worry-Free Moment
The person in us is trained to perceive time as a real and linear thing. It regrets or enjoys things that it says happened in the past; it is worried or excited about things it projects into the future. But before the dream-illusion-energy of time can be utilized joyfully and creatively, we must first realize that we’ve never left the Now, and we never will. We must let that realization settle us into our Presence-Self and have it absorb the majority of our delusion—that there is a past and future to be concerned with at all.
So, right now… Relax and give up your choice to see life through the projector-tunnel of thoughts for 2 to 5 seconds, and recognize the effortless Now-Presence that is here.
Feel it? I AMness…
Existence exists… Isness is… Presence is present… Here and Now.
Alive. Free. Conscious. Awake. Aware.
Now, can you see how there is an innate absence of the ability to worry about the future when you’re sufficiently tuned into the Now that’s already here?
Can you see how suddenly your personal concerns take a back seat, and a sense of trust comes into your experience naturally? A sense of ease is here.
When you clearly recognize the Now-moment, an absence of referencing things outside of this moment—outside of you—arises. With this absence of referencing external things, a relaxation sets in that takes a load off of your chest and shoulders. You can breathe easier, your body relaxes, and your mental tendencies start to become transparent, less dominant, less controlling.
Have you noticed that the Now is naturally at ease? That’s because the Now doesn’t know any time, and it doesn’t know any lack, anger, threat, or any other reason why it should be concerned.
And neither will you. You are about to become more convinced of Now and see as Now sees.
“The Now” Sounds Familiar—Are You Teaching Mindfulness?
A very important distinction to make between what I share and what you may have picked up from mindfulness teachings or other popular works regarding the Now, is that, in Trinfinity Academy, the Now is pointed to as always already here—without exception—and is therefore innately free of needing any special means to recognize it, nor does it need to be maintained.
There are subtle but crucial differences. Once you fully get those differences, you can never truly go back to your old conscious-presence practices (if you had any) without seeing more clearly into the nature of freedom and feeling at least somewhat liberated from your perceived need to “be mindful.”
Our aim is not to imitate the truth by trying hard to be-here-now when the Now is already here.
Our aim is much simpler than that: to repeatedly notice—even if just for 2 to 5 seconds—that Now is always already perfectly fulfilled, achieved and inescapably present, until this truth sinks into the very root of our being and is as naturally known to our consciousness as breathing is performed by our bodies.
Most mindfulness (and the like) practitioners and teachers I’ve met, emphasize the need to remain in the present moment, as if there is a possible alternative.
Now, I’m not saying that by keeping one’s attention fixed on the “now-sense,” one cannot deepen one’s recognition and conviction of the fact that it’s always already here, unobscurable, and all-inclusive. I am simply saying that most people don’t effectively utilize these practices to come to greater conviction—they just keep repeating the practices, as if they are an end in themselves, and believing they have to maintain this repetition.
People seem to continue to believe for many years (even decades) into their practice of mindfulness and the like, that it is about imitating the present moment with one’s conscious attention; that it is about remaining in, or somehow maintaining, the Now and having few, if any, thoughts anymore.
This belief and conduct leads to what I call suppression by stillness. At best, it trains the mind to be quiet, which seems nice, but can induce a state of pseudo-enlightenment and leave one immobilized in many areas of life.
We don’t want a quiet mind; we want clarity bursting with aliveness. At least I do, but I think you do too.
If anything needs to be maintained, it cannot be Life Itself, for Life Itself cannot and does not need to be maintained by anyone. And if what is being maintained is not Life Itself, we don’t want it because enlightenment implies the discovery of Life Itself.
Now, this is not always the case, but often, what slows down the average mindfulness practitioner in their recognition of Life Itself are limiting notions regarding the Now, which often underlie the practice that is suggested to them: that the Now is a thin slice of reality between illusory slices of past and future, and that one must remain in between the slices of past and future thoughts in order to attain the Now, in order to reach nirvana or Enlightenment.
This limited, isolated way of seeing the Now leaves one still believing in separation (that the Now is something other than past and future), and thus, one will attempt to silence the mind and maintain clarity, not recognizing that clarity is already all there is, and that the Now includes past and future.
There is no separation and there is no escaping Now. We want to fully realize this, otherwise we’re not liberated, we’re stuck in the practice of having to be present and suppressing portions of our natural spontaneity.
I made a distinction earlier regarding the difference between “recognizing the Now” and “thinking about the Now,” only to sharpen your ability to recognize the Now as the actual freshness of this moment. It was not shared to reinforce the idea that you can somehow not be here now, and that you need to retain attention on the Now, away from thoughts permanently, or for as long as you can.
No self-judgmental delusions allowed
I don’t wish to leave any room—here in Trinfinity Academy—for self-judgmental nonsense regarding not yet being enlightened. So let me reiterate some facts and refute this possible assumption (that you’re not yet enlightened):
The Now is already free, always here, and all pervasive.
Do you see this??
Know it now more closely than you’ve ever known anything in your life before.
Fall in love with the always and the already principles of this/your Perfect Existence.
Whether you get it or not does not even affect this all-inclusive Now.
The Now includes you seeing it or not seeing it, getting it or not getting it. All states of mind are happening inside of Now, and arise by the power of Now-Energy only.
The fact that the Now is already free, always here, and all pervasive, means that every single thought you have, even when you’re deeply worried about a future outcome, is an energy already rested in the eternal Now of Presence-Consciousness.
There is presence-ease at the heart of your every anxious emotion. Presence-ease, or Enlightenment, is the essence of everything that is. There is perfect acceptance of whatever appears. All is allowed to appear as part of Now.
Presence-Consciousness is always Now—whether it thinks, doesn’t think, recognizes itself or doesn’t recognize itself, feels good or doesn’t feel good.
Presence-Consciousness cannot escape the Now, just as you cannot escape you. Presence-Consciousness is the Now, and the Now is Presence-Consciousness. You have never not been Now, and you can never not be Now.
Now is the only moment you’ve ever experienced.
Many judge themselves for not being in the here and now enough. They judge themselves for being too occupied with past and future; too distracted. They punish themselves internally for perhaps not meditating enough, for not being present enough.
Well, if you really desire freedom, there is an easier solution than to beat yourself up about your mind’s daily distractions, while hoping that “someday you will start practicing being here and now, like a real Buddha.”
There is a way around this need for the endless practice of being present. There is a short-cut…
Early on in my practice of recognizing Existence, thoughts became very transparent to me. This simply means I realized that thoughts, too, appear in—and as part of—the Now-Energy I was searching for.
I, too, had believed there were distractions or obstacles to becoming enlightened. I believed my thoughts were the main obstacle or distraction, and that I had to somehow put in effort to bring my mind to a complete stop, all the time.
The belief that my thoughts were distractions on my way to enlightenment caused tons of internal struggle and self-criticism for me every day. This self-imposed stress and judgment went away, or was at least softened by 90% right away, and then later for good, when I saw clearly that thoughts did not actually distract from the present moment; they simply confirmed it!
So, whether or not labels, thoughts, words, ideas, etc. are presented to me in my mind-space today, these appearances don’t fool me into believing I’m not yet Now, not yet perfect, not yet awake, enlightened, or present enough.
All they do is show me more of how present I am to perceive them, and how present they are to be able to present themselves. I am not “being present” all day long—in fact I couldn’t care less whether I am present or not. I simply stopped doubting that my beingness could potentially not be perfect already.
In other words: I don’t force myself to have a silent mind or try to eliminate distracting thoughts except on rare occasions when I simply resonate with being in such a space.
I can always see, with ever-expanding clarity, that all is Now, including what I would formerly have judged to be “distractions.” Distractions are perfect appearances reflecting Presence-Consciousness.
In short: distractions no longer distract me because I stopped believing they are distractions. The shift from seeking enlightenment to finding more of it every day, with ease, is as simple as understanding this basic principle: that distractions are simply more confirmations of what you’re looking for.
By looking at the facts. Whenever you’re confused, just take a deep breath, relax your mind, and look at the facts. Start from scratch. See afresh.
When I look at the facts, I see irrefutably that the nature of Now is always already present, all-inclusive, and unobscurable:
- The experience of being distracted by the future is happening now.
- The experience of regretting what I did several years ago is happening now.
- The thought, “Oh, I have to practice to be more here and now,” is happening now.
- The thought, “I am distracted from now,” is happening now.
- None of the above appearances or thoughts prevent me from recognizing that I exist here and now.
- Appearances don’t have any power to obscure or distract from anything; they are simply appearing in, and as part of, perfect Presence.
We cannot do or not do the Now, and we cannot practice being here now—for it’s already here, now… regardless of action or no action on our part.
Our purpose is not to be here now; we are only to recognize that we already are, until this truth is naturally understood and our perceptions are automatically realigned.
Seeing clearly the many truths of Now, convinced me of its all-inclusive nature. When you are truly convinced of something, no appearance can move you into doubt.
Note: For me, conviction is not a mere idea I believe in and then use it to try convince the world that I’m right, or that I know the proper God or path to follow. True conviction has nothing to do with beliefs, and although it unlocks true passion and authenticity, it is not aggressive in nature, nor does it feel the need to convince others.
I have nothing to prove to anyone, including myself, regarding the nature of Presence. Natural proof has set me free from needing my beliefs to be right.
In my case, conviction is a matter of simple and continued observation, to the point of no longer needing to confirm or deny what’s true and what’s not; it has become naturally obvious, beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Conviction is not something I identify myself with. It’s not a stick I hold onto tightly so I can beat other people’s sticks with my “superior stick.” True conviction transcends vanity, belief, and claiming knowledge of any kind. True conviction sets you free, and doesn’t leave you with the need to hold onto some type of “truth” to make you feel safe or better about yourself. If it did, it wouldn’t be freedom.
True conviction leaves no trace of doubt or pride; it leaves you in ease—in natural confidence—and reveals, in an ever-expanding and ever-humbling way, the infinite connection you have to All-That-Exists.
I am free because I allowed myself to recognize repeatedly that Existence never stops existing, no matter what, and that this truth is always already available for me to recognize, no matter what.
This is another way of saying that I allowed myself to recognize repeatedly that ease, well-being, satisfaction, non-neediness, transcendence, joy and love are always already continuous, cannot be stopped, and are ever-available for me to sink into as deeply as I want.
I simply started paying attention to what’s always already obvious, and I set myself free because I was more interested in freedom than in holding onto my doubts, fears, pride, and arrogant ideas of being unworthy of existence, love, bliss, or enlightenment.
If I ever get confused regarding the nature of Presence-Consciousness again, I shall simply gaze at the facts and be set free once more by natural proof.
This is what I mean by true conviction: To let Existence cleanse your vision until you naturally see as IT sees.
If you have any remaining doubts about the already-achieved nature of Now, then perhaps the Now Detector Test below will be your friend.
To let the obviousness of Existence cleanse your vision and transform your doubts into natural conviction, allow me to ask you a few questions…
“When Do Past and Future Occur?”
The above question in the title is the short version of the Now Detector Test, explained below. Remember this question and take it with you into everyday life.
When it comes to your doubt regarding the attainability of Now due to the interference of past and future thoughts, the question above is an immediate internal conversation killer.
The Now is not something in between the past and the future; it is the only reality there is. And it is already perfect, complete, and here.
Both past and future are projections of the Now. In no time, you will come to see that the Now is not only the only moment you will personally ever experience, it is the only moment there is in all of Existence.
The Now is the mother of any and all experience, space, time, dimension, or thing. Now is time-inclusive as well as time-transcendent. Bentinho Massaro
Where—or when—does the thought, and the corresponding imaginative experience following it, occur when you say, “I am having lunch with my friend tomorrow?”
Have you ever had a thought occur outside of the present moment—even if it was about some distant moment in time and infused with anxiety?
Just as you discovered in Lesson 8, that every experience confirms its own—and your own—existence, doesn’t a thought about the future only confirm the fact that it is appearing now?
It’s so beautiful—and almost too simple to be taken seriously—when you realize how universally applicable and liberating this “already” way of seeing life is.
This is the power in the word Already: it liberates your many assumptions and lets you see as Existence sees. It is “the gift that keeps on giving” when it comes to your Self-Realization.
You are Already perfect, complete, whole, and enlightened. Simply notice this until you know it as fact.
The Now Detector Test
Note: This is a variation of the Truth Detector Test from Lesson 7.
Imagine a future scenario for a moment… Got it? Feel it? Really picture it.
Now let’s examine three different ways of looking at this thought about the future:
- We could look at this “thought about the future” through its own story-filter and be completely absorbed by whatever the story includes. In this way of seeing, there is the experience of a lack of clarity. We indulge in the blindness of believing in the thought.
- We could then look at “the thought about the future” through the filter of certain types of teachings, or misunderstand the Now and come up with a judgment: “This thought takes me away from the Now; I should still my mind and practice being more in the here and Now.”
- But since at Trinfinity Academy, all we are interested in is liberation by clarity of natural truth, let’s just look at the facts again, instead:
Question 1: When and from where is this thought about the future arising?
Answer: Here, now.
Question 2: Could it arise anywhere else (outside of Presence-Consciousness)?
Question 3: To whom or what is this thought about the future appearing?
Answer: To me, Presence-Consciousness.
Question 4: When is that “whom” or “what”?
Answer: I am Now.
Based on your answers in the Now Detector Test above, can you truly believe that a thought about the future or past denies you access to Now?
Below are some additional examples of how to look at the facts of life, which should get you in the habit of asking yourself questions like these whenever doubts or self-judgments arise:
Can a thought be anywhere but Now?
Can a thought have derived its energy to exist from outside of Presence-Energy?
Is a thought about the future happening in the future?
Is a thought about the past happening in the past?
When you’re “lost in a future-thought,” is that happening outside of this moment?
Clearly, after you answer questions like these (and those in the Now Detector Test) a few times, practicing with different types of thoughts and beliefs, you start to become more naturally convinced—simply by looking at the facts—that nothing can escape being inseparable from Now-Presence-Energy.
You will find, over and over again, that thoughts about the future or the past only confirm The Now’s unobscurable nature, and are therefore not to be labeled as “enemies” or “distractions,” but rather, as “friends, teachers, and reflections of the truth of your being.”
The purpose of this lesson—and this entire chapter—is to transform your subconscious and conscious mind to the point where it has no grounds from which to judge itself, when it comes to not yet being perfect, present, awake, at ease, and enlightened.
You see, the Now shines forth as everything it creates, and is thus expanding upon itself, upon Creation, through anything that it makes move, crawl, expand, contract, or otherwise exist!
End of discussion—that is, unless you wish to insist on a lifetime of seeking, striving, general discomfort, and ignorance regarding the hidden-in-plain-sight truth of your amazing existence.
“Am I worthy of Liberation?”Ask yourself this right now. Ask yourself the question above and the questions below, and take five minutes to instinctively answer them honestly for yourself. Feel into your reactions and write these feelings out in whatever format happens. It doesn’t matter if you write coherent sentences, whether you write in Q&A format, story format, poetry format, or simply compose a list of beliefs or statements about yourself.
Don’t overthink your answers. Respond to the questions immediately, and let your hand do the writing, or your fingers do the typing.
The point is not to judge what comes out, but to simply let it be all right. Give what emerges the space to be a part of you; look at it with a loving gaze, and don’t try to change anything for now. The purpose of this exercise is just to gain greater clarity into yourself, which often results in greater freedom. Ask yourself these questions:
- Am I willing to look at the facts of Existence, and have these obvious truths transform and clarify my beliefs about Presence-Consciousness? Can I receive and allow the goodness, the simple beauty, and the resulting ease and self-love of Existence into my being?
- Can I accept that I am already perfect as I am, inseparable from All That Is?
- Or, do I insist—with the use of my petty mind—that I know better than the obvious truths of Existence Itself, believing that there must be more to it than that, or something other than that, or that I must be different in order to earn the goodness that’s already here?
- Do I insist upon doubting the obvious and perpetuating more strife and suffering for myself?
- Or, can I let these beautifully simple, non-mystical truths of Existence cleanse my vision, empty my heart of confusion, and then fill it back up with a loving fulfillment so pure that I cannot even begin to describe it?
Using the “Now Detector Test,” run through a few beliefs you have (or used to have) that suggest that the presence or absence of something can obscure your access to Now. Get in the habit of looking at the facts by asking yourself questions like these more often.
Reread this lesson, and let it sink in, at least twice more before you start your next lesson.
Consider sharing your answers with the rest of us in the corresponding Study Group if you want.
Now that you have had your initial recognition of Presence-Consciousness (Chapter 1), and now that you have become (more) convinced of its always-already-present nature (Chapter 2) and its innate qualities of Being (its truths), you are ready to dive even deeper into being Presence-Consciousness.
This will significantly loosen and soften your identification with the human appearance (body-mind inside of a world) that you have created for yourself.
Since this signifies the end of an extensive chapter containing lots of transformations of your brain and consciousness, I again suggest you take your time to digest this information, take it with you into everyday life for a bit, perhaps re-read some of the lessons and ask anything that’s unclear about it to you in the corresponding Study Groups.
When you feel sufficiently rested and established in this new way of understanding your Self, you may proceed with Chapter Three, which functions almost like a bootcamp, and is very practice/meditation/observation oriented, to help you really experientially shift your sense of self and attain the realizations of deathlessness, or eternity being what you are.
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