Enjoy Now

Enjoy Now

When are you?

The Practice:
Enjoy now.

Why?

There’s a profound and miraculous mystery right under our noses: this instant of now has no duration at all, yet somehow it contains all the causes from the past that are creating the future. Everything arising to become this moment vanishes beneath our feet as the next moment wells up. Since it’s always now, now is eternal.

The nature of now is not New Age or esoteric. It is plain to see. It is apparent both in the material universe and in our own experiencing. Simply recognizing the nature of now can fill you with wonder, gratitude, and perhaps a sense of something sacred.

Further, by coming home to now, you immediately stop regretting or resenting the past and worrying about or driving toward the future. In your brain, this rumbling and grumbling – called rumination – is based in networks along the midline of the top of your head; while this helped our ancestors survive, today, most of us go way overboard, and rumination is a big risk factor for mental health problems.

Additionally, through an intimacy with the present, moment after moment, you develop a growing sense – visceral, in your belly and bones – of:

  • Impermanence – you see the futility and foolishness of trying to cling to any of the ephemeral contents of this moment as a reliable basis for deep happiness.
  • Interconnectedness – you feel related to a vast network of causes that have shaped this moment, including to other people, life, nature, and the universe altogether.
  • Fullness – recognizing the incredible richness of this moment – its sights, sounds, sensations, tastes, smells, thoughts, memories, emotions, desires, and other contents in the stream of consciousness – you relax craving and drivenness since you already feel so fed.

How?

For most people, the subjective present is an interval one or two seconds long. It contains the last second or so of the immediate past as well as the emerging present often infused with expectations about the immediate future. It’s OK, therefore, if your sense of the present usually has a kind of temporal “thickness” to it. You will probably also have flashes of intuitive recognition of the infinitely thin duration of now that boggle and sometimes stop the mind.

The present moment is continually passing away, so if you try to hold onto it in any way – such as by remembering it or forming ideas about it – you are no longer in the present. Therefore, relax. Open to this moment. Not planning, not worrying, not lost in thought.

Instead of seeing yourself moving through time, explore the sense of being an ongoing presence, an awareness, through which time moves. Let the world come to you. Recognize that sights and sounds and all other mental phenomena appear without effort. You don’t have to do anything to be here now; you’re already here now. Let go some more.

Be aware of a single inhalation. Don’t try to sense or understand it as a whole. Allow yourself to be with this moment of sensation without remembering what was or wondering what will be. The same with a single exhalation, and then with breathing altogether.

Letting go, letting go.

Be particularly aware of endings, of sounds changing and thus disappearing in the instant of hearing, of each moment of consciousness-altering and thus ending to be replaced by another one. (If you get frightened or disoriented by a growing sense of the vanishingness of each appearance of reality, focus on something concretely pleasurable and reassuring, like the sensation of flannel against your cheek or the touch of someone who loves you.)

Then be particularly aware of emergings, of the arising of matter and energy in the world and the arising of appearances – perceptions, thoughts, longings, etc. – in the inner one. Let go into feeling buoyed by the uprising swelling of this moment congealing into existence, endlessly renewed by the next emerging. Open to trusting in this process, like a wave continually carrying you even as it continually breaks into foam.

Above all, open to the enjoyments available in this moment, even if it is a hard one. No matter how bad it is, it is nurturing remarkable that it is at all. I don’t mean this in any kind of sentimental, rose-colored-glasses kind of way. Sometimes what the moment holds is awful. But the nature of the moment – its transience, its interconnectedness with moments before and to come, it’s simultaneous emptying out and filling up – and the awareness of it and its contents is never awful itself and is in fact always unsullied and beautiful.

And much of the time, the moment will be filled with rewards overlooked in preoccupations with past or future, such as a dense incoming stream of sights and sounds, tastes and touches – even a sense of beautiful qualities of heart like warmth, compassion, sweetness, friendliness, and love.

So nourished, so full with the riches of now, who would want to be anywhen else?



Dr. Ramani Durvasula is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, and expert on the impact of toxic narcissism. She is a Professor of Psychology at California State University, Los Angeles, and also a Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg.

The focus of Dr. Ramani’s clinical, academic, and consultative work is the etiology and impact of narcissism and high-conflict, entitled, antagonistic personality styles on human relationships, mental health, and societal expectations. She has spoken on these issues to clinicians, educators, and researchers around the world.

She is the author of Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving a Relationship With a Narcissist, and Don't You Know Who I Am? How to Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement, and Incivility. Her work has been featured at SxSW, TEDx, and on a wide range of media platforms including Red Table Talk, the Today Show, Oxygen, Investigation Discovery, and Bravo, and she is a featured expert on the digital media mental health platform MedCircle. Dr. Durvasula’s research on personality disorders has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and she is a Consulting Editor of the scientific journal Behavioral Medicine.

Dr. Stephen Porges is a Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, and Professor Emeritus at both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland. He is a former president of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and has been president of the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological, and Cognitive Sciences, which represents approximately twenty-thousand biobehavioral scientists. He’s led a number of other organizations and received a wide variety of professional awards.

In 1994 he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that links the evolution of the mammalian autonomic nervous system to social behavior and emphasizes the importance of physiological states in the expression of behavioral problems and psychiatric disorders. The theory is leading to innovative treatments based on insights into the mechanisms mediating symptoms observed in several behavioral, psychiatric, and physical disorders, and has had a major impact on the field of psychology.

Dr. Porges has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers across a wide array of disciplines. He’s also the author of several books including The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation.

Dr. Bruce Perry is the Principal of the Neurosequential Network, Senior Fellow of The ChildTrauma Academy, and a Professor (Adjunct) in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago and the School of Allied Health at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. From 1993 to 2001 he was the Thomas S. Trammell Research Professor of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine and chief of psychiatry at Texas Children's Hospital.

He’s one of the world’s leading experts on the impact of trauma in childhood, and his work on the impact of abuse, neglect, and trauma on the developing brain has impacted clinical practice, programs, and policy across the world. His work has been instrumental in describing how traumatic events in childhood change the biology of the brain.

Dr. Perry's most recent book, What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing, co-authored with Oprah Winfrey, was released earlier this year. Dr. Perry is also the author, with Maia Szalavitz, of The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog, a bestselling book based on his work with maltreated children, and Born For Love: Why Empathy is Essential and Endangered. Additionally, he’s authored more than 300 journal articles and book chapters and has been the recipient of a variety of professional awards.

Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith is a child clinical psychologist who specializes in trauma and issues of race. She earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard and then received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. She performed postdoctoral work at the University of California San Francisco/San Francisco General Hospital. She has combined her love of teaching and advocacy by serving as a professor and by directing mental health programs for children experiencing trauma, homelessness, or foster care.

Dr. Briscoe-Smith is also a senior fellow of Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and is both a professor and the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Wright Institute. She provides consultation and training to nonprofits and schools on how to support trauma-informed practices and cultural accountability.

Sharon Salzberg is a world-renowned teacher and New York Times bestselling author. She is widely considered one of the most influential individuals in bringing mindfulness practices to the West, and co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts alongside Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein. Sharon has been a student of Dipa Ma, Anagarika Munindra, and Sayadaw U Pandita alongside other masters.

Sharon has authored 10 books, and is the host of the fantastic Metta Hour podcast. She was a contributing editor of Oprah’s O Magazine, had her work featured in Time and on NPR, and contributed to panels alongside the Dalai Lama.

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