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Question for April 6, 2014: Be Here Now
Medivate — 4 years ago — in Question of the Week
"Be here now" — the best meditation instructions? The worst? In between? Why?

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Formlessness — 4 years ago — permalink
It captures some of the spirit of meditation. Most of our unhealthy, wandering thoughts are about regretting the past or fearing the future.
But it's pretty vague. I'm here now already. I guess it means focus on the present. That's one type of meditation, but others are more specific: focus on breathing, focus on a mantra, etc. But whatever it is that you are aware of, there is always the awareness itself, underlying all thoughts. All thoughts have that awareness in common. Observe thoughts as they come and go, and the background of awareness will start to jump out at you.

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fredclaymeyer — 4 years ago — permalink
Really well said--thank you!
What does it feel like to you when the background of awareness jumps out at you? In my experience, I'd say it feels a bit more like realizing everything is submerged in awareness.

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Formlessness — 4 years ago — permalink
"What does it feel like to you when the background of awareness jumps out at you?"
It's difficult to put into words, because while a thought can be like something, the awareness is just the "isness" of things. It's just grasping things as they are.

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davidbhayes — 4 years ago — permalink
I think you really hit it on the head with the point that it's vague. It's good instruction if you're already really sure of what each word in it means in the context of meditation, but doesn't really work for someone just coming to it. They'd maybe understand it, but only to the level of "so I can't move?" The idea of thoughts and attention and patience and awareness are all not expressed.
I have this idea — it's really becoming a bit on an old saw for me — that everything that's really important to know can be (and is) packed into simple common-sense phrases that everyone knows (a cliche) and just looks past. I wrote an essay (which I don't love) about it a few years ago, but I think this phrase is a potent example of what I meant. For someone who's already familiar and comfortable with the idea of meditation, "be here now" may be a sufficient and potent reminder. But for most people most of the time, the idea just blows past them as something too simple to be worth considering.