What Is Now?
June 29, 2014

Rupert invites us to take a direct look at the present moment. His succinct investigation leads to stunning revelations about the nature of pure consciousness.
00:04

Ask yourself the question: when does my experience take place? The answer is always: now. When we woke up this morning it was now. When we had breakfast it was now. When we went back to our rooms it was now. When we walked into this room it was now. As we are listening to this it is now.

01:33

What is the difference between all these nows? How many nows have you experienced this morning? Have there been lots of nows? And if so, how long, exactly, does each now last? Don’t think about this. Your experience is taking place now, so the now is available for direct investigation. How long does now last? Is the now that was present while we were having breakfast a different now than the now that is present now? And if so, what is the difference between them? When did the breakfast-now stop and this now start?

04:02

And if there is no difference between them, then it means that the now that was present at breakfast at eight o’clock, and the now that was present at nine o’clock, and the now that was present at ten o’clock, and the now that is present now must be the same now. And therefore, the now cannot share the limits of any of the particular times at which it is present. In other words, the now has no limit. Thus it has no duration in time.

05:23

The now is not a moment in time. This now is the only now there is. It has no limits, it has no edges, it doesn’t start and stop. This now hasn’t come from somewhere. It hasn’t come from a distant past, slowly moving along a line of time for millions of years to arrive at this moment in time. This now is the only now that ever is or has been. It hasn’t come from somewhere and it is not going anywhere. It is not moving along a line of time into an endless future. The now is still.

07:50

Thought cannot think of the now because thought can only know an object. And the now has no objective qualities with which it could be limited, and therefore it cannot be thought about. When thought thinks about now it turns it into time. When we buy a novel in a bookstore, the entire novel is present. But the mind cannot read the entire novel at the same time. Thought needs time to read the novel. But the entirety of the novel is always present now. It is not the limitations of the novel, it is the limitations of thought that make the entire novel inaccessible in every moment.

09:33

Our entire experience, likewise, takes place now. Everything that we have ever experienced takes place in this now, the only now there is. Nothing took place in a past, and nothing will take place in a future. The universe didn’t start millions of years ago. There is no “millions of years ago.” And it will not last forever. There is no “forever.” There is only eternity; the timeless now, this now that each of us is experiencing. Filtered through the mind, or filtered through thought, eternity appears as time. Thought superimposes a limit on the eternal now and makes it appear as time. Thus, what is for thought everlasting in time is for reality eternity now.

11:45

Don’t try to think of eternity. It’s not possible. Or, do try to think of eternity and, in doing so, the mind will bring itself to its own end. That’s why the Śaṅkarācārya said, “Real thinkers don’t think.” Real thinkers—the ones who use thought to go right to the edge of experience—find that thought naturally, spontaneously, dissolves. That is another form of self-inquiry: following thought to its own end.

14:20

What else is consistently present along with the now? Thoughts are not always present. Sensations are not always present. Perceptions are not always present. Therefore, these are not inherent in the now. The now is always present. So only something that is also always present could be inherent in the now. The only other element of experience that is always present is the experience of being aware, which shines in each of us as the knowledge “I am.” In other words, now is not a moment in time. It is our own being. It has nothing to do with time. It is always now when I am. And I am—not always, but eternally—now. The now is “I am.”

16:49

Time is consciousness objectified, or time is consciousness objectified by thought. But the stuff that is being objectified is pure consciousness; eternity. Eternity has no dimensions. Pure consciousness is literally without dimensions. In order to appear as the single dimension of time, consciousness must rise as the mind. In other words, the dimensionless reality of pure consciousness appears as time in the form of the mind. Imagine a dimensionless point growing into a line: that is how infinite consciousness grows into time. And it does so by taking the shape of thought. Thus, the stuff that time is made of is infinite consciousness; eternal consciousness.

20:04

Now ask yourself the question: where does my experience take place? The answer is always: here. When we woke up this morning it was here. When we were having breakfast this morning it was here. When we went back to our rooms it was here. When we came to this room it was here. And our experience is now taking place here.

21:14

How many different heres have you experienced today? Have you experienced innumerable heres? Or is it always the same here? If every point in space is here when it is experienced, then here cannot share the limits of any particular place in space. Therefore, here itself cannot have any limits. As such, it is infinite—not finite—unlimited.

22:56

Go now to the place where your experience is taking place. Can you find that exact place? Don’t say you don’t know it. Everybody knows that their experience is taking place here. But can you find a place, a point in space, where “here” is?

24:24

Just open your eyes a minute and ask yourself, “Where does my experience of space take place?” Does the experience of space take place over there, or is the entirety of this expanse of space experienced here? Obviously, all of space is experienced here. It is never experienced anywhere other than here. So “here” is not a point in space, but rather space appears inside “here.”

25:43

Close your eyes again. Is there anything in your experience that is always experienced whenever “here” is experienced? Is there anything in your experience that is consistent with the experience of “here?” Only the experience of being aware. “Here” is the experience of being aware. “Here” is pure consciousness that shines in each of us as the knowledge “I am.” “Here” is where “I am.” And that “where” is not a place or in space. “Here” is pure consciousness. Just as thought makes pure consciousness appear as time, so perception makes pure consciousness appear as space. That is the mind—and by the “mind,” in this context, I mean thought plus perception—thus the mind brings time and space out of eternal infinite consciousness into apparent existence.

28:33

Time is eternity filtered through thought. Space is infinity filtered through perception. Time is… thought is—time is eternal consciousness objectified by thought. Space is infinite consciousness objectified by perception. In other words, dimensionless consciousness expands to become a single line of time, and that single line of time expands to become three dimensions of space. But it is always the same stuff: eternal infinite consciousness that knows itself in each one of us as the experience “I am.”

31:39

If we forget the true background and substance of experience—pure consciousness—time and space are conceived in its place and are considered to be the background of experience. Hence we think—we, our culture, thinks—the universe appears in time and space. Thus, time and space are like two vast empty containers that mimic the true dimensionless container of experience. And having overlooked the true dimensionless reality of all experience we then have to invent two substances to fill time and space.

34:24

Events that appear in time are considered to be made out of mind, objects that appear in space are considered to be made out of matter. Mind and matter, thought and matter—these are the offspring of time and space. But they can only exist as such—we can only believe in their reality, the reality of these two substances; mind and matter, the inside self and the outside world—as long as our belief in time and space remains.

35:14

But if we explore the reality of time and space we just find our own being. Consciousness, time, and space are all the same stuff. If we look at consciousness from the point of view of consciousness, we see consciousness. If we look at consciousness from the point of view of mind, we see time. If we look at consciousness from the point of view of the body or perception, we see space. It’s like three people on a sofa watching television. One person sees a landscape, another person sees a movie, the third sees a screen. They’re all seeing the same thing, but the way they see dictates what they see.

36:35

Time and space, mind and matter are ways of seeing or knowing, not experiences or objects that are actually known. All that is ever known is pure consciousness, and it is pure consciousness that knows pure consciousness. In order to know itself as time, it must rise in the form of the mind. In order to know itself as space, it must rise in the form of perception.

Thank you.



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