There is no greater miracle than being present.
Everything begins and never ends from this.
What does the term self-remembering mean? It
means that your dormant self is remembering to be
Endings are an illusion, because the present is
eternal. To be present where one is is the simple
story of one's life.
Each inconspicuous moment is our life; just
sitting, trying to be present.
It's difficult to be present, yet throughout our
life everything remains uncertain except the
present. We look to the future, thinking there is
more there than here. Man bypasses the present by
pursuing the elusive future or dwelling on the
past. What we should want is the present, but what
the machine wants is anything but the present. We
have to keep endlessly retrieving the present-we
have dedicated our lives to that.
You can't be present at your destination if
you're not present en route.
When I have `I's that wish to be somewhere else,
I have learned to immediately convert them into
being present, because the machine is never
satisfied with where it is. In a way, we're
fortunate that the `I's repeat themselves and are
so clearly insubstantial. They make the substance
of life obvious, because the most absurd things
will try to take us away from the present. The more
absurd they are the better, because then we know
there's no point in pursuing them.
The machine cannot be present, so it searches
for alternatives; that is its lot. Although the
machine is usually displeased with the present,
this day is as important as a day thirty years from
now-at least today is certain.
An interesting `I' came during the concert:
"What do you want?" And the answer was, "Just to be
present, that is all." Nothing compares with
self-remembering and nothing truly exists without
it. Sometimes, with self-remembering, everything
one sees turns into poetry, echoing heaven: the
flowers, the light falling on the grass. Just think
how many subtle shades of green there are in
Our dinners are like being on a ship at
sea-there's nowhere to go, and we just settle down
into the present. One of the most enjoyable aspects
of dining together is being here and not having the
machine discontented with the moment, not wanting
to be anywhere else. The four lower centers are
more agreeable now to the presence of something
higher. Consciousness has degrees, and our
consciousness is higher now than perhaps at any
other time today. We are still trying to be
present, and this moment will never present itself
We haven't mentioned self-remembering tonight,
but it consistently looms behind our actions. When
one is trying to be present it doesn't matter if
one is speaking about Rilke's Duino Elegies or a
student's wheelchair, as long as self-remembering
permeates one's actions. This is why the Fourth Way
primarily occurs in the midst of ordinary life.
We work hard each day to be present, and you
should never make light of your efforts at the end
of a day. We have each done all we can for our
self, our school and Influence C. We can't change
events, but we can change ourselves. Focus without
words; don't identify with events-transform them
and be present.
Everything is relative and subjective except
one's self. When one is present, one is objective;
that is, one has no other object but one's self.
It is important to work diligently on being
present, but not to press too hard, because you can
stand in your own way. Do everything you can to be
present, but don't become too tense because that is
another way to thwart self-remembering.
What was the most important thing you learned on
your recent journey?
To be where I am-and to accept it. If I were not
present when I travel, there would be no need to
travel, because there is truly nowhere to go but
the present. When one travels one objectively
witnesses the subjectivity of man.
How can one stop hurrying? - By
realizing that the next moment is not greater than
the present moment.
How can one keep from criticizing oneself
about not being present? - Self-deprecation
`I's are not self-remembering. They are yet another
waste of time and in reality reflect a lazy mind.
Emotional upheavals provide an opportunity to be
present and make progress. While you are
experiencing a strong negative emotion, remember
that it will subside. We often wish we had
remembered this during, rather than after, the
storm. You do not exist when negative emotions
engulf you. Also, remember that the noble king of
hearts is designed to fail eventually so that your
divine higher centers can emerge.
Try not to twist the present into something it
is not; accept it on its own irrefutable terms.
Plutarch said, "The present offers itself to us
only for the second and then eludes the senses."
The present eludes the senses because consciousness
is not functions. Our higher centers are not of the
senses, but we try to use the senses to create
higher centers. Just looking at an arrangement of
flowers, remaining aware of your self, produces
One gains many treasures as one changes one's
level of being, and the greatest treasure is the
ability to penetrate the present more frequently
and deeply. One can have everything if one is
content with the present, nothing else is as
exciting. There is a great victory to be attained,
and we are winning.
The present is eternal.
One reason it is so difficult to remember
ourselves is because the present is so near to us.
We rarely look in front of ourselves for what we
In certain respects I have a terrible
memory-from trying to be present and not in the
past or future. Many things are forgotten, but this
is a small sacrifice compared to being present. We
don't sacrifice anything of value when we try to
awaken-death is the miserable lot of life, but all
the moments in which we penetrated the present are
indestructible. As for the rest, it is only wasted
time. I try not to be enticed by reminiscence. When
pleasant or unpleasant memories try to occupy the
living present, one can glance at them for a few
seconds, or ignore them, and then return to the
Our lives are no more than each step we take and
each moment that passes, but our machines persist
in thinking that life should be other than the
present. At times I pause, and wherever I find
myself, in familiar situations or unusual ones, I
think, "The events of this day constitute my life."
Behind all questions looms the enigma of how to be
present, and the greatest happiness for a rational
man is the ability to be present to his own life.
This moment offers as many possibilities as any
other time of the day, or any other time in your
life. You must work well with whatever the present
offers. Don't be deceived-the next moment is not of
greater value than the present one. Indeed, you
can't experience the future without penetrating the
present, for the present is the future.
Each age offers the present, which is all it can
ever offer. How sweet and clear the present is; how
perfectly contented it is with itself.
Ironically, one can add to one's false
personality if one acquires the act of
self-remembering, rather than self-remembering
As the years go by one lives more and more for
each day, and self-remembering and friendship
become the ultimate achievements. Horace said,
"Happy the man and happy he alone who can call
today his own."
One of the best ways to be present is to listen.
As I was listening to the music and working with
self-remembering, no useful thoughts came along
until an `I' said, "It is enough to be present."
William Shakespeare's statement, "To be or not
to be," is composed of six words, five of which
contain only two letters. This economy of language
represents the idea that awakening is an essential
process. The highest dimension of being occurs when
one's self remembers to be.
Tonight is not a bridge to anything, tonight is
itself. The words we have spoken don't lead us
anywhere but to the present.
Self-remembering means embracing the present,
whatever it contains; that would mean tasting one's
wine or looking at the beautiful arrangement of
white tulips. Mr. Ouspensky said that "all the
ideas of the system revolve around this one idea."
Self-remembering is the hub of the wheel, all the
other ideas are spokes.
Influence C has cast us together-let us try to
enjoy ourselves. Anyone can be in imagination,
anyone can be despondent, anyone can be negative.
Try to avoid imagination, identification, negative
emotions. We have the present.
Johann Goethe had a remarkable life, and is a
conscious being. He completed his task on the first
day of spring, symbolizing that he had found the
eternal fountain of youth. During his last days, he
seemed to an observer to be free of many illusions
and to no longer live for the future or the past,
but in the lucid present.
The purpose of meditation is to be present, and
being present is not reserved for special occasions
or special environments; it must occur wherever one
is, regardless of one's circumstances.
One definition of success is being present as
much as you can each day. You also must measure how
much you were able to externally consider others.
Take this idea simply, as all profound ideas are
simple. If two people are passing through a door,
and you choose to be the second to pass through it,
you have been externally considerate. A day is a
long unit of time, and there are many small
opportunities like this to apply the different
tools of the system. External consideration is one
work tool; you can be using it, and a moment later
be struggling with keeping accounts against the
same person. Our lives are composed of
moment-to-moment struggles to be present and we
grow in proportion to our ability to give, which is
why conscious beings are characterized by
compassionate actions that elevate humanity.
There is no greater activity than presence in
silence-it cannot be imitated.
Whole groups of `I's on alluring subjects try to
draw one away from the present.
Everything but the present is illusion.
Most men think they don't have time to be
present; they imagine that it's designed for
special circumstances. Try to be where you are and
not allow the past to permeate the present. The
past is but a word, while the present is a shifting
reality. You can only leave the past through the
present, and through the present you work for the
future. Our work is always now. We have nowhere to
go but the present, for all roads lead to the
Relentlessly focus on the present as best as you
can. If it is a few seconds or a moment each day,
be grateful. The present need not be more, nor
other, than it is. As we grow older, we have to
separate from our inability, at times, to be
present. One of the best ways to be present is to
separate from the disappointment that comes from
realizing we have not been present. Our hearts are
When I first started to be present, I couldn't
speak and be present at the same time. It took a
while to be able to do that. When self-remembering
began appearing, I didn't concern myself with which
state it was, I just let it be and experienced it.
I did not want to be pulled away from it. I wish
nothing more than to be present in this moment.
As long as one can breathe it is time to
remember oneself. One's self-this common word
belies the incredible nature of the achievement.
Can you tell us what we need to do to be
present? - You have to find the environment
more interesting than imagination.
It is important to fill centers, but not as
important as being present.
Be grateful for the present.
Will-that is the best power, and the rest is
just mechanics. Will is self-remembering, and being
present is will power.
You must reach a point where you stop expecting
to receive messages about being present. You must
grip self-remembering and stop talking about it;
you must be present!
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Friends 2001 - All rights reserved.