We’ve discussed a great deal about the now and staying inside it. I don’t want to imply though that the now is a zone of total safety. It’s not.
Worries about the future and regret over the past are phantom dangers. Dangers in the now are quite real; indeed, they are the only dangers that are ever real.
The past is unchangeable; the future is always shifting and turning. I’ve said many times, we are powerful in the now. It’s a good thing, too, because the now contains danger. Am I talking about fire, flood, storms from the seas, Global Warming, hooligans? Sure.
They’re in there. We can face all those dangers on our feet. There’s another danger that exists in the now.
That danger is autopilot. It’s a complacency that occurs when we simply attend to the now instead of experience it.
Yes, we value detached observation in the now. Mindful awareness works best when we detach ourselves from our constant engagement in battles that don’t need to be fought, plans for things that won’t happen, and contingencies for losses we’ll never face.
Detachment is necessary. Numbness and complacency are not. Mindless, dulling routine for the sake of routine is not only unnecessary, it’s harmful. It’s a false crutch.
When we pull our entire self into the now, there is a form of mental and emotional blindness that can occur you need to be aware of. You can defeat it, you can prevent it from happening, or you can go around it.
That blindness occurs when we think the now is a steady-state, ongoing “drone”. The now can seem to be dulling if it’s not experienced correctly. It can appear to be a bomb shelter; it can look like a retreat.
I assure you, living in the now is none of those things. Instead, it’s the best way to stay mentally and emotionally fit to meet all challenges that come before you. Being in the now is not being on “autopilot.”
Remember, the now is a state of increased awareness of yourself and what’s going on with you. It’s not a retreat into mental oblivion.
I think we all see people who talk about meditation or other mindfulness practices with a forced attempt at a detached, glazed eye serenity.
Remember, if you’re being mindful, you’re going to be far more aware of life—life as it really is—not less.