Christopher Titmuss Dharma Blog

A Buddhist Perspective

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THE PACKAGING OF THE NOW

Are we living in a period when the quest for something profoundly spiritual has formed itself into a marketable package; a package that is rapidly becoming an agreement in certain spiritual circles, shaped by an unquestioning obedience to a definition of enlightenment?

It would appear that several key standpoints and the definition of the determination of these standpoints determine what enlightenment is. If you have the experience of Oneness, Being, Consciousness and Non Duality, while abiding in total acceptance and complete surrender, with no thoughts of the past or future, then this means you know your True Self and are enlightened. Being enlightened, you are abide effortlessly in the Now knowing that there is nothing to do and nowhere to go, and all effort is ego.

 This is complete unexcelled enlightenment. Are you sure? Are you really sure this is the fulfilment of all human aspiration? We do not have to look far to see why it is such an attractive package and why people are prepared to pay $$$ €€€ £££ for a retreat, a workshop or $$ €€ ££ for a couple of hours teachings and dialogue on the Now.

When the mind is running up and down the three fields of time (past, present and future) and stressed out with thinking about everything that is inconsequential, then the ideology of the NOW and non-thinking must hold great attraction. After all, we are urged to believe there is only the Now and the Now is eternal. Or, are the high priests of this spiritual package deluding themselves and deluding others into clinging to the Now as enlightenment?

Have these spiritual teachers simply called a halt to deep inquiry and have settled for Being-in-the-Now as the answer to everything?Well, is it enlightenment? Or, at best, is it a pseudo enlightenment, a kindergarten enlightenment that, for starters, doesn’t require a single change of lifestyle, an exploration of a vast number of ethical issues, an investigation into dependent arising circumstances, fearless compassion, insights into wider sphere of  global consciousness and heaven forbid, any kind of real renunciation, or even questioning of the so called reality of the Now, let alone surrender to it?

It appears that certain spiritual teachers steer away from vital issues; they have adopted another standpoint namely that these matters are irrelevant from an ‘enlightened perspective’ since they take us away from the Now. Frankly, when the self (with or without a capital S) lands in the Now and stays there it is stuck, truly stuck.Anyway some teachers tells us the above concerns has nothing to with enlightenment.

Excuse me, some of us beg to differ.  Perhaps we all need to wake up and realise the vast circumstances that make up our life. Of course, there is an immense value in knowing the immediacy of things but it would be a great tragedy if in any way consciousness became restricted to the Now and defined itself by the Now.

A truly enlightened life has surely to address major issues and not be afraid to enter into discourse about them.  

Extract from 4000 word article “Is the Here and Now a Myth?”

A small footnote: I suspect the Buddha would feel totally bemused at the new lightweight determination of enlightenment on offer in the West.




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