Present Moment: “… The now is the bridge between time and eternity …” ~ Francis Lucille
Francis Lucille is persuasive and compelling in expressing The Presence we are. He does so patiently and thoroughly while teaching a methodology that permits us to deconstruct deeply held subconscious assumptions that cage and camouflage the Truth of Our Experience.
in his classic book, Eternity Now, Francis Lucille speaks about one thing: awareness, our true nature, the Absolute. This is the ancient teaching of nonduality, the common ground of Advaita Vedanta, Ch’an Buddhism, Zen, Taoism and Sufism, the same common ground which is at the core of the message left behind by the founders of all great religions. In a loving, open, blissfully peaceful manner, Francis leads us to a deep understanding that what we are is love, the pure awareness behind and between all the activities of the mind.” ~ excerpted from the Amazon page for the book.
In this series we will explore Eternity Now … through some of its chapters while also including pertinent Francis’ teachings from other sources (e.g., his retreats).
… this 1st part offers some of Francis’ remarks on Present Moment and includes the entire Foreword from Eternity Now. The post provides Francis’ framework for the “presence of this witnessing background.”
This post is an edited migration from the old Stillness Speaks (pre June 2016 “REDO”) archives plus it adds more content as part of deeper exploring of Francis’ book, Eternity Now. All text below (except for the blockquotes) is either from Francis’ retreat or the book … and is published here with his permission. The subsection headings were added only for this post.
The Present Moment is Never a Problem
We are all hardwired for happiness. It’s absence is the driver of action. The search for happiness can not occur without unhappiness, or suffering. It is this desire to complete ourselves, to make ourselves whole and complete, this notion that we are incomplete as we are, that motivates us to “do.”
Think about this.
It is ultimately a rejection of the “now”, the present.
And what about this rejection of the now? Do we ever experience anything but the present moment? Is there a future beyond a thought that arises in the present moment?
If the answer is no, then, our seeking is nothing other than a perpetual chasing of a moment that will never, ever exist.
This awareness allows us to realize that if we are ever able to locate happiness that it will only ever be discovered here in this present moment. There is no point in avoidance of what is. The portal has always been right here… and by welcoming the now, we uncover the simple fact that what we have always sought is what we are…. right here, right now. Ignorance is discovered to be just that..ignoring what actually is.
In the end, it is realized … that happiness can never be found in an object, that this search for happiness is the exactly the same as the search for our true nature, which was always right here, right now. The reality of all of our seeking, be it for money, fame, relationship, sex, vanity or, more subtly enlightenment is simply misdirected love for our true nature.
In the end, it is the realization that the seeker itself is the illusion, apparently separating the seeker from the sought. It is ALL the only journey ever occurring: the journey home.
Go deeply into the Present Moment
The only cause for suffering is our refusal or rejection of that which the present moment is offering.
We want it to be different.
We want it to be according to our own projection, to our own personal plan. We reject everything that goes against the personal plan and we want everything that is in accordance with our own personal plan for happiness.
The problem is that the personal plan for happiness is flawed and doesn’t work. We have had enough experience with it in the past to know that it is flawed and that it doesn’t work. We have inherited the personal plan for happiness from our parents, from our friends, from our surroundings.
And if we look at them, did it work for them? And if it didn’t work for them, why would it work for us?
If we welcome the present moment, we will discover that in the present moment there is never a problem.
The problems and psychological suffering arise only in relation to the past and to the future of a personal entity. In the now there is no such personal entity. That’s the beauty of it. Only the now is real. The past doesn’t exist any longer and the future doesn’t exist yet, so only the now is real. In the now there is no personal entity. The personal entity exists only as a rejection of the now.
Ask yourself, “What is so unbearable in the now?”
We assume that the now is unbearable only because we have never experienced it to its fullest. In fact, it is quite bearable. In fact, the now is at peace and free from problems, free from suffering. All we have to do is to meet the now in our welcoming.
The now is the bridge between time and eternity.
When we stop oscillating between the past and the future we start walking on that bridge. The bridge is extremely narrow for the now is like an extremely narrow interval between the past and the future. At the other end of the bridge there is Presence, timeless, eternal.
When we stop rejecting the now, things become simply neutral. It is not that they become pleasant. Appearances are neither pleasant nor unpleasant. They are somehow irrelevant in terms of peace. They become neutral. We become indifferent to them. They become as neutral as the ‘tick’ and the ‘tock’ of a clock, ticking away in the room, measuring the silence, measuring the Presence. Because the rhythmic sound is so neutral, it doesn’t grab our attention for too long.
Our attention gets liberated from the object and meets itself as Presence.
These words are like the sound of the clock. In and by themselves, they are just vibrations of little importance, revealing the timelessness from where they came, to which they return.
You cannot make an object out of this timelessness.
If you do so, you lose it. You lose the freshness, the immediacy, the intimacy of it.
You cannot rest on any sensation. You cannot even rest in the present moment.
Your eternal repose is in the Presence which is already here, which you already have because you already are it. We are that which we are looking for.
Remember to always take your experience to its true level, which is the level of Presence. Take it back to Presence, because that’s where it takes place.
Remember that no matter whether there is a world outside or no matter how many worlds, subtle or gross, there are, still the reality of our experience is unavoidable, undeniable, totally certain.
If you abide in the reality of your experience, which is your true nature, your true being, what can happen to you?
Everything that arises in the mind and in the world is this Presence exercising its infinite power to create, to sustain, to dissolve.
So take the experience of your mind, the thoughts, to their true level, which is Consciousness, this Presence. There is no mind at that level, only thought arising in Presence. During the presence of the thought, the thought is the Presence. The thought and the Presence are one, because there is nothing separate from Presence, nothing outside this Presence, nothing that is not this Presence.
In the same way, take your bodily sensations to their true level. Their true level is not the body; that’s not where they take place. Their true level is not the mind. Their true level is the Consciousness.
And when you do so, there is no mind and there is no body. When you do so, you go straight to your deepest Being, to your true Being.
In Eternity Now, Francis goes deeper into Presence … and sets the stage of this exploration in the …
We usually identify ourselves with a mixture of thoughts, perceptions, and feelings. This identification with a personal bodymind is deeply rooted in us. The people around us—our parents, teachers, friends, and so on—believed that they were personal entities, and we have found it quite natural to follow in their footsteps without challenging this belief, which, upon closer scrutiny, will be shown to be the origin of all our misery.
If the body-mind is an object, a personal and limited collection of mentations, there must be a witness to which it appears. This witness is usually referred to as consciousness or awareness. If we investigate what we are, it becomes clear that it is this awareness that is precisely what we call ‘I’. Most people identify this witnessing consciousness with the witnessed mind, and in doing so they superimpose the personal limitations of that mind onto consciousness, conceptualizing it as a personal entity.
When we make a deliberate attempt to observe this witness, we find an unusual situation: Our attempt seems to fail, due to the subjective nature of consciousness, and the inability of the mind to recognize something that is not objective; but mental activity, made up of the current train of thoughts and sensations, seems to stop for a moment. Although this ‘stop’ doesn’t leave any memories at the level of the mind, this non-experience generates a strong feeling of identity and an ineffable certitude of being that we describe using the words, ‘I’ or ‘I am.’
After a while, the ego resurfaces with the thought, ‘I am this body-mind,’ projecting once again the space-time limitations of the personal entity onto the limitless ‘I am.’ The limitlessness of the ‘I am’ can’t be asserted from the level of the mind, but remains with us as an ‘aftertaste’ when the objective world reappears.
Having been informed of the presence of this witnessing background, and having had a first glimpse of our real self, a powerful attraction, which brings us back again and again to this non-experience, is born. Every new glimpse reinforces the ‘perfume’ of freedom and happiness that emanates from this new dimension.
As our timeless presence becomes more and more tangible, our daily life takes a new turn. People, distractions, and activities that used to exert a strong appeal to us are now met with indifference. Our former ideological attachments become weaker for no apparent reason. Our focus on investigating our true nature intensifies without any effort on our part. Higher intelligence sets in, deepening our intellectual understanding of the truth and clarifying our ontological questioning.
Many personal conflicts and antagonisms are reduced or resolved. Then, at some point, the ego is reabsorbed into our witnessing presence, which reveals itself as the eternal beauty, absolute truth, and supreme bliss we were seeking. Instantaneously, we are established in the certitude of our primordial immortality. This sudden revelation of our non-dual nature can’t be properly described through words to someone who is still under the illusion of the duality of subject and object. Such a person will understand those words in relative terms, as an objective experience. It is the only kind of experience he can conceive.
How is it possible to convey the feeling of absolute happiness to someone who only knows relative experiences? Given any relative experience, no matter its intensity, there is always the possibility of an even more intense experience. But this is not the case when we are referring to the bliss of our true nature.
How is it possible for someone who knows happiness only in relation to objects to comprehend the autonomy, the causelessness, of this bliss? How is it possible to convey the non-localization and the timelessness of this unveiling to one who only knows events in space-time; its absolute certitude to one entangled in relative truths; its divine splendor to one for whom beauty is a relative concept?
If we say that our universe, with all its richness and diversity—the apples in the basket, the loved ones around us, the Beethoven quartet on the stereo, the stars in the nocturnal sky—at every instant emanates from, rests in, and is reabsorbed into our self-revealing presence, our words still fail to adequately describe the immediacy of this unveiling.
They fail to do so because they still convey the notion of a transcendental presence from which this universe emanates as a distinct entity, whereas such a distinction is nowhere to be found in this unveiling. Our self-luminous background, which is the common thread of the dialogues in this book, constitutes the sole reality of all that is.
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Like other, similar series (e.g., Rupert Spira’s views on our True Nature), this post is meant to just whet your appetite – give you a sense of Francis’ teachings … and if it draws you then we invite you to undertake a deeper exploration by purchasing his book Eternity Now.