Is Advaita Vedanta the future

Here and now - and then ??

The famous here and now seems to many to be synonymous with enlightenment; the effort to get into the here and now therefore often plays a prominent role on the spiritual path.

The here and now is actually a relaxing thing, especially for anyone prone to the control patterns described in the last essay. And as I said, that is most of the people. Yoga exercises, meditation, running in the forest, concentrated work and learning, painting, music-making, tantra and much more help to shift one's attention to the here and now. This is very important on the spiritual path, because in the here and now there is little or no thought activity and therefore no worries or decisions. Therefore, the mind is relatively still and such a calm mind is very useful for the knowledge of the truth - it is simply not constantly occupied with matters that are meaningless to the knowledge of the truth.

Shifting your own attention to the here and now is therefore a spiritual exercise that is extremely useful in preparation for the search for the truth - or to accompany it. Hence the great importance attached to the eastern paths of meditation.


However, it does not always make sense to focus the mind on the here and now. The letting go described in the penultimate essay, for example, is of no use. But many others do not benefit from being focused on the here and now at all times and under all circumstances. When alignment becomes fixation, there is a standstill - quite apart from the inevitable frustration of the practitioner because the mind cannot be directed anywhere permanently. A fixation on the here and now can also become a dead end, as can the fixation on letting go [1], on silence [2], on meditation [3] and much more.

It is not for nothing that the Rajoguna is considered superior to the Tamoguna in Advaita Vedanta. Rajoguna is forward-looking, but it is clearly better to do anything at all than to be immobile, the tamasic tendency. Undoubtedly one is in the tamasic state in the here and now, but it is a relatively sterile state and cannot be compared with the sattvaguna, which is superior to the rajoguna (see the essay on the gunas: tissue of creation - gunas).

Depending on the mind level from which one “goes” into the here and now, this is presented differently and, above all, is differently helpful for the truth seeker. The let-go, for example, who is compulsively in the here and now and who completely lacks the “precaution” moment, benefits from directing his or her gaze to the future. Having an eye on the future has a lot to offer. If you are able to perceive negative future opportunities, then you can take care in good time that they do not harm yourself or others too much. And if you have positive future opportunities in mind, then it is enormously motivating and gives you the courage and the joy to improve situations.

There are people who are collected and mindful and obviously in the present, but who seem somehow boring. Or people who are completely in the here and now, but constantly revolve around themselves. Or people who rest calmly and lovingly in the now, but who lack a certain alertness or clarity. Or people who manage their lives really well because they always have everything in view and tackle it immediately, but with whom one would rather not swap because that would simply be too exhausting for them.

All of these people are in the here and now in their own way, and yet they are all missing something - which leads us to suspect that they are probably still on the way and not at the end of the way. In any case, they do not embody what one hopes for by focusing on the here and now. This means that, obviously, even if you call it that, it's not really the here and now that you are aiming for. What one strives for is “a life in timelessness”. In fact, the now is the closest thing to timelessness. But the now is still imagined somewhere between the past and the future, while the timelessness transcends all three concepts - past, present and future.


Hence, it is not entirely correct to say that the enlightened one is always in the now. It is correct that he lives in timelessness. Nor is it always here - it is beyond space and time.

Focusing on the here and now is a useful exercise at certain stages in the search and for certain people. But it is a mistake to believe that focusing on the here and now can induce enlightenment. You just put the mind in a more relaxed state, which makes it easier to see who you really are. Focusing on the here and now is not a panacea that everyone has to stick to under all circumstances. Rather, a fixation on the here and now can cement the here-and-now states described above, which block spiritual development and knowledge and otherwise somehow make you anemic and paralyzed in life. Some who have been on a spiritual path for many years now feel downright depressed because, without being able to name it, they are trapped in the here and now.

You need exactly the opposite of an orientation towards the here and now: you need a perspective for the future. This consists of two things: on the one hand, you have to recognize that your own practice, whatever it is, obviously doesn't get you any further. So you have to be ready to let go of them in gratitude. Second, and that is essential: you have to be ready to look for something better, and that means to start looking again. If possible with the joy of discovery, with personal responsibility, the ability to differentiate and the confidence that something better you are looking for is definitely waiting for you somewhere.