art by alicepopkorn
"What is the instant? That is what we have to discover through a moment of concentration. What is the moment? We all know what the past is--many people live in the past, over and over again, and they never catch up with the present. Other people live in the future--but of course when they do, they are really only living in the past, too, and they never find the present either.
Just as an example, how many times have you gone to the temple without being fully there? Part of you was there, part of you was living in the past, part of you was trying to live in the future; and there you were, emoting over the things that happened that should never have happened, and fearful of things that might happen in the future, which probably won't happen unless you continue being fearful of their happening until you create them!
Do you know that the ability to live right now, in the instant, is a spiritual power, reflecting the awakening of the soul and requiring a subconscious control of the mind? Your soul is never bothered with the things that disturb the rest of the mind! The mind lives in the past, and the mind tries to live in the future. But when you quiet your mind, you live in the present. You are living within your soul, or the higher state of your mind which is undisturbed by the things of time.
Also, when you live in the present, you eliminate fears, worries and doubts. Of course, you might feel a little out of place for a while, as if you weren't anybody, if for years and years you have been accustomed to making fears, worries and doubts your cherished possessions--more important to you than anything. There are people who just wouldn't know who they were if you took away from them their fears, worries and doubts. But if you want to be somebody, something, a state of being, you want to live in the eternal now.
There is a simple formula for attaining the eternal now. If you can remember it, you can center yourself within yourself very quickly and experience living right this instant. Imagine yourself now, worried, bothered and disturbed, and in the midst of your disturbance say to yourself, "I am all right, right now. Just this instant, I am all right." What a shock to the disturbed part of your mind! It will not only be shocked, it will be shattered out of its disturbance when you declare the truth that you are all right in the eternal now."
The Master Course of Himalayan Academy
by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami