Salvation is not elsewhere in place and time. It is here and now.
Happiness may be perceived as a heightened sense of aliveness attained through physical pleasure, or a more secure and more complete sense of self attained through some form of psychological gratification. This is the search for salvation from a state of unsatisfactoriness or insufficiency. Invariably, any satisfaction that they obtain is short-lived, so the condition of satisfaction or fulfillment is usually projected once again onto an imaginary point away from here and now. “When I obtain this or am free of that—then I will be okay.” This is the unconscious mind-set that creates the illusion of salvation in the future.
True salvation is fulfillment, peace, life in all its fullness. It is to be who you are, to feel within you the good that has no opposite, the joy of Being that depends on nothing outside itself. It is felt not as a passing experience but as an abiding presence. In theistic language, it is to “know God”—not as something outside you but as your own innermost essence. True salvation is to know yourself as an inseparable part of the timeless and formless One Life from which all that exists derives its being.
True salvation is a state of freedom—from fear, from suffering, from a perceived state of lack and insufficiency and therefore from all wanting, needing, grasping, and clinging. It is freedom from compulsive thinking, from negativity, and above all from past and future as a psychological need. Your mind is telling you that you cannot get there from here. Something needs to happen, or you need to become this or that before you can be free and fulfilled. It is saying, in fact, that you need time—that you need to find, sort out, do, achieve, acquire, become, or understand something before you can be free or complete. You see time as the means to salvation, whereas in truth it is the greatest obstacle to salvation. You think that you can’t get there from where and who you are at this moment because you are not yet complete or good enough, but the truth is that here and now is the only point from where you can get there. You “get” there by realizing that you are there already. You find God the moment you realize that you don’t need to seek God. So there is no only way to salvation: Any condition can be used, but no particular condition is needed. However, there is only one point of access: the Now. There can be no salvation away from this moment. You are lonely and without a partner? Enter the Now from there. You are in a relationship? Enter the Now from there.
There is nothing you can ever do or attain that will get you closer to salvation than it is at this moment. This may be hard to grasp for a mind accustomed to thinking that everything worthwhile is in the future. Nor can anything that you ever did or that was done to you in the past prevent you from saying yes to what is and taking your attention deeply into the Now. You cannot do this in the future. You do it now or not at all.
Eckhart Tolle — The Power of Now (pp. 145-147)
We have so many things in our lives that take us away from our present moment. Part of the problem is the culture we have been raised in—there have been so many distractions for so long that we don’t remember a time when our present moment was truly peaceful. As a result, we have skewed ideas of what a peaceful present moment really looks like.
Eventually, the conditioning we received takes over and then our mind grabs hold of the reins for the remainder of our lives unless we can see what’s going on. We habitually allow external circumstances to control our internal state of mind. When our minds aren’t right, we are pulled in all different directions depending on what’s happening that day.
I have spent many months and years flirting with all different forms of mindfulness practices. Some days, my mind feels like a wild pack of angry buffalo on meth. Anything I can do to corral my mind and center myself safely in the present moment is the goal. My present-moment emotions are constantly tugged and pulled by past memories and future concerns. Unresolved wounds from my past can grab hold of my mind and stampede all over my current mood. Fears of an unknown future can ruin an otherwise peaceful present moment if I let them.
Anything I can do to remain calm, centered, peaceful, and loving is my goal. Some days are easier than others. Hell, some minutes and seconds are easier than others. The one thing I repeatedly remind myself is mindfulness starts and ends with me. Nothing external gets to control my internal life. The storms may continue to come, but I get to choose what effects me internally.
Have a blessed day.
Peace and Love,