Where We Are Now
Humanity is presently immersed in an extraordinary technological revolution. Connected instantaneously with friends and colleagues around the globe, we strive to cooperate as we watch the boundaries of our diverse native cultures rapidly fade away. Together, we are beginning to unfold the new possibilities and challenges provided by the integrated global culture forming before our collective eyes.
Through distributed scientific inquiry, we have called into question our deepest beliefs to re-establish our idea of the true nature of reality. We no longer receive guidance from ancestral traditions and community elders, relying instead on information compiled by highly specialized experts in every field of science and technology. Our species’ technological evolution provides us with an expanded understanding of the human body’s internal functions as well as closer glimpses of the surroundings outside our physical frame. From the smallest forms of existence (quarks, photons, atoms, and biological cells) to the largest mysteries of our convoluted universe (time and space, galaxies, energetic fields, and other unseen phenomena), we continually seek deeper knowledge for the sake of progress and to satisfy our natural curiosity. Using the data and innovation characteristic of this rapidly developing scientific era, we have not only changed the face of the Earth but also our understanding of ourselves: present, future, and perhaps past, too.
By contrast, our ancestors’ deep wisdom which guided them to create monumental wonders of construction and inscription that still captivate us today arose primarily from their ancient cultural knowledge and profound philosophical self-understanding. Many of these traditions teach that the human form contains three major components: “body,” “mind,” and “spirit” (which different viewpoints refer to as soul, higher self, essence, life force, pure consciousness, Chi, and Prana). Some advise limiting our physical needs and desires for the sake of the non-physical. Others teach techniques to develop our mental and physical body in preparation for the experience of higher states of being. Teachings from around the world and throughout time contain many similarities, but the specific methods and recommendations employed by each tradition vary widely. These inconsistencies, combined with the conflicting messages presented in today’s information-dense world, can make it difficult for the individual to define a personal path of growth.
The teachings available to us alive today will often separate body, mind, or spirit—seeking the maximum potential in only one plane of existence. Religions look to messages of the past, providing varying explanations of our history and presenting a story of personal responsibility for our spiritual growth. Science looks to the future, hoping to reveal the mysteries of our world and put them to work for our physical benefit. Societal pressures and keen marketing imagery vie to impregnate our subconscious mind with uninvited desires. Meanwhile, each of us engages daily in an all-encompassing life experience that never ceases to challenge every dimension of our being. While scientific objectivism may persuade many to dismiss mental, emotional, or “spiritual” (multidimensional) discipline and clarity as unverifiable, subjective—and, hence, irrelevant—traits, even cursory introspection reveals the health of these dimensions of our existence to be both fundamental and essential to the state of our well-being and the quality of our decision-making.
Despite their perceived differences, the fields of science, philosophy, and even spirituality have always shared a common desire to comprehend the true nature of this reality with which we interact every day. Science has demonstrated that, with increased comprehension of our physical reality, we can change the way we experience this world. Similarly, philosophical comprehension and understanding expands the domain of possibilities for the body, mind, and spirit. As the true nature of reality is intertwined with the wisdom of philosophy and the intelligence of science, our complete understanding cannot ignore the philosophical and spiritual wisdom of the past, nor the scientific intelligence of the future. Thus, the separation of philosophy and science is a superstition. It is the harmony of both viewpoints that is essential for mankind’s development. Although it appears that our possibilities are limited by the conditions of time and space, our rightful focus on the present moment will expose our true potential. As Baba Ram Dass would say,
“Be here now.”1
We have only one way to participate in the present moment: re-present all three dimensions of the whole human being as one. These three dimensions create one’s true self without any false perception of separation. Transpersonal psychologist Dr. James Strohl writes,
Human beings are considered multidimensional entities because, while living our lives on Earth, we simultaneously maintain physical and nonphysical presences or aspects of ourselves in many other realities. All of these presences, including our current human one, are conscious components or aspects of a larger, super-conscious multidimensional self which is sometimes called inner being or soul. Even though these aspects of our multidimensional inner being are manifesting innumerous different physical and nonphysical worlds, they can communicate and influence each other while also retaining a deep and abiding connection to inner being.2
As we begin to comprehend the relation between spirit, mind, and body, we inevitably feel a need to seek a path of practice for growth and development in all three aspects. To participate in the present moment with all dimensions of your self, you must find a path or make your own. The Book of Present is designed to support you, regardless of your belief system, through a deeper exploration of the true nature of your own consciousness, mind, and body, so you may reveal your own pragmatic path of experience and understanding to guide and support you through your life journey.
How to Use This Book
The Book of Present combines mental, physical, and metaphysical practices collected from masters and experts who unveiled their multidimensional true selves to be wholeheartedly present, balancing their human lives as a whole. The following chapters explore the principles of these practices and clarify their use as tools which bring balance to human spirit, mind, and body as a multidimensional being.
The main print of this book appears succinct because you create density of information internally with your own practice of awareness. Self-transformation can come only from within your unique self. As we will discuss in Chapter Two, conscious knowing alone cannot change subconscious patterns. Instead, a deeper understanding is essential—an understanding that can grow only from experience and repeated practice.
We all have different life situations, histories, and goals that we bring to the present moment. Each chapter of this book provides practices to be adapted to your own life. The written explanation of each practice serves as a foundation. Beyond that, you have the liberty to define your practice to suit your needs. If uncertain about the specific formulation of your practice, it is always helpful to look within. Ask your heart how to build your practice based on what you feel you truly need. Sometimes the practice you need is the opposite of the practice you naturally want. And because any rigid pattern breaks under stress, do not treat your practices as a chore you must complete or an inflexible framework that cannot evolve or change. Approach your practice with childlike wonder and ingenuity. With a true desire for understanding, you will learn as quickly and deeply as a child. Forge ahead in your present moment, as the process of self-understanding—understanding the deeper reality of your existence in this universe—will provide you with a greater sense of purpose, adventure, and joy of experience than can be found in any manmade distraction.
Your life experience is complex and ever-changing. For this reason, your journey will certainly require employing resources beyond this book, especially during Chapter One which explores physical concepts well-documented by our scientific society. We are fortunate to live in a time of connection. We can connect locally with skilled practitioners for services or support, and we can connect instantly to detailed, up-to-date information on the Internet. Both resources should be utilized as needed to support your practice. It is not possible to present the practices in this book as check-the-box exercises that provide you all the answers. This is simply because your answers will be unique to your own experience and situation. You are responsible for building and supporting your practice using any knowledge available to you. Connect with your world. Everything comes easily with the right connections.
To enhance your practice and research, register your book directly at the official website www.BookofPresent.com. The website expands upon each chapter, providing extended information that will evolve and remain current. It also includes additional practices, articles, learning materials, a virtual Development Log, helpful links, and more.
Dedicated application of the practices presented here, recorded faithfully in your Development Log, leads directly toward a fully integrated human experience. As such, the practices themselves are integrated and co-related. You’re asked to progress through this book sequentially, practicing under each chapter’s given instructions and discipline, moving forward only when you honestly feel suitably proficient and ready to move forward to the next chapter. Being honest with yourself is the first key to decoding the embedded patterns and beliefs that keep you from evolving beyond your current state of understanding. Proceed at your own pace. This is a process of natural growth. Savor all your practices as you explore your own story, chapter by chapter.
The first two chapters of this book contain physical and mental activities that bring your awareness more firmly into your body and mind. At the end of each activity the book provides space to record your first practice and shape your next activity. Use your Development Log to record continued experiences. Because your Development Log holds personal observations of your physical and mental development, is the most important part of this book. It is advisable to use the virtual Development Log on the book’s website, because it can travel with you anywhere you have access to the internet.
This is not the type of book you can put down for months with hopes to return later. This is not the type of book that can be loaned to a friend. This is your book and your story. It is asking to be read and written, without judgment or fear of being right or wrong. Your story will return to you all the attention and love you invest in it. You’re not reading to distract yourself from past or future events. You are writing your Book of Present.
Planting the Seed
Before you begin this journey, set your intention for your practice. Taking inspiration from the universe right outside the door, imagine yourself as a gardener planting a tree of inner health and balance. Your intention to grow a beautiful life experience plants the seed of your “Tree of Life.” Thoughts and actions can nourish your tree or promote weeds. Trust that your supportive thoughts and mindful actions will nurture your seed into a sapling that you will care for and enjoy as it grows into a distinctively beautiful tree.
Looking deeper, we see that the tree is grounded in your belief system existing as roots that absorb sustenance from the external world. Growing upwards, your spirit forms a sturdy or flexible trunk upon which your physical and mental health grow as bark and limbs. Branches, provided with strength and nutrition from the limbs, represent family, social life, hobbies, and your career. Many people dedicate substantial time and energy to fixing or perfecting the form of the branches while forgetting to take care of the trunk and the roots. It’s no wonder their branches sometimes dry out. Fortunately, when you focus on nourishing the roots and your spirit first, the branches will naturally flourish.
Chapter One focuses on our physical health to plant the seed of our practice in a positive environment. Once the sapling has taken root, we will see it flourish through Chapters Two, Three, and Four where we explore the workings of the inner self. Do not be discouraged if your sapling does not flower immediately, or even if it has trouble taking root. Patience and persistent care, especially during times of harsh climate, will inevitably allow your tree to grow at its natural pace, eventually presenting fruits of skill and wisdom beyond all expectation.