Now.  Here.  This.

Artwork - tree coming from a hand with all sorts of patternsRecently I learned of an off Broadway musical titled “Now. Here. This.”.  I first took it as “now hear this”, but quickly recognized that it was a wonderful play on words that required a shift in perspective.  As is often the case for me, I was in need of a new perspective on something and these three little words provided it.  They are an invitation for attending to the present moment in a way that expands experience dimensionally.

“Now” offers a reality check.  If we are not present to this moment, caught in our past as we assess something or projecting into the future as we worry over an outcome, we’re missing what is actually going on and therefore our ability to respond authentically.  The other day, I caught myself missing an opportunity to connect with my husband because I was going over something that happened a few hours earlier and internally fussing about it.   One of the most common complaints I hear from couples is ultimately about not being present with each other, but caught in old patterns or projections of the past and causing a great deal of pain and suffering.

“Here” is about location – as in “I am here in this body – in this place – with this person.”  It might seem obvious that we are where we are, but it’s a conditioned reaction to take ourselves away at times in order to avoid what we fear or dislike.  This always leads to repeating old patterns.

How many times do we leave our bodies because we don’t like what’s going on in there?  How many times do we daydream because we don’t like where we are?  How many times do we ignore the person in front of us?  The saying, “I’m busy, can I ignore you later?” speaks volumes to last question.

“This” bids us to notice the experience of the moment. What is happening right now in this time and place? If we aren’t aware we are out of touch and not free to take helpful actions. Helpful questions are: What is your bodymind state?  What is your mood?  What physical sensations are calling to you?  What is the thought stream of your mind?  How are you interpreting what is going on?  Does your perception lean to the negative or the positive side of seeing something?  There are many possible questions for our self-reflection.  A good basic one is “What is my experience right now?  The more we drop that question in, the more sensitive we become in identifying and being with “this”.  And when we are with the experience of the moment we discover one of the most basic truths of life – that everything is subject to change and change can be kinder when we give it kind attention.

Wisdom teaches us that when we let go of whatever has taken us away and stand in the moment we have, life opens up and unfolds freely.  It may not always be easy to face, but it is the only way for the best possibility to be revealed and created.

Consider living into your day with this attitude:  Now at this moment, Here in this place, This is my experience.   See what opens for you.  Sense what feels alive.  Touch your life fully.

About the author

Suzanne Kilkus

Suzanne Kilkus is a Soto Zen meditation practitioner and teacher and has practiced as a therapist and counselor for over three decades. She is dedicated to assisting people in expanding their capacity for giving and receiving love, and for recognizing and expressing their basic goodness in everyday life. Her path to live with wholehearted compassion and care is an invitation to everyone. She is a teacher with Open Door Zen Community in Madison, WI.

One Response to Now.  Here.  This.

  • Greg

    As I read this post, I found myself waking up to this moment. The sun seems brighter, I’m breathing more easily and enjoying the way my fingers feel on the keyboard as I type out these words. Thank you!