Generally, insights are proceeded by a certain train of thought. But once in a while they just plop into the mind like a raindrop falling from a clear sky. Yesterday, while meditating with the Ananda Assisi community, a perception popped into my mind without any preamble: “We need to move from ‘Nowhere’ to ‘Now Here.’” Plop!

Linguistically, it is fun—you just move a single letter to the left, which cancels the negating “no” and changes it into a positive “now.” The extra space allows “nowhere” to become “now here.” But what is easy to do with letters is harder to do with thoughts and emotions. How do we cancel our negative thoughts, create a little space for ourselves, and learn to live in the here and now? This, in itself, is a spiritual path.

When I first came on the spiritual path, a book called Be Here Now, by Ram Dass, was very popular. Its title sums up its message. Almost all paths and meditation techniques urge the practitioner to be focused in the present moment.

Be here now from nowhere to now here, yogananda

Saturn’s Streaming Hexagon. Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Hampton University.

What is “nowhere”? It is the unsubstantial mental territory located in the nether regions of our consciousness. Fears, regrets, vague thoughts about the past and future, and other nasty creatures dwell there.

The problems of the past can continue only in this nowhere land of your own mind. It is you, only you, who nurture them even though they continue to haunt you. Paramhansa Yogananda said, “Your memory will do exactly what you tell it to do, so be careful that you do not let it repeat any unpleasant experience. . . . Remember, in your consciousness there are all kinds of records, both good and bad. You must destroy all records that revive memories of unhappiness and evil deeds and unkindness. You must scatter them to the winds.”

Likewise, you create your own bucket of worries about the future. A friend told us that his mother had fretted about a potential problem for two weeks. When it never came to pass, she had the good grace to say, “Well, I wasted a good worry on that one.” Your worries, too, exist only in the nowhere land of your mind. The quickest way to overcome fear and worry is to take a few deep breaths and move your thoughts from Nowhere to Now Here.

We saw a talk by a very successful entrepreneur who was asked, “What is the secret of your success?” We loved his reply: “I am a visionary and have a very clear picture of the future. Unfortunately, my vision only extends for the next fifteen minutes. The rest of my success is due to hard work and perseverance.” And so it is with the spiritual path.

People enjoy any pursuit that keeps them in the here and now. Creative pursuits—playing music, painting, cooking something new—are wonderful ways to live in the present. Play is another way and is important not only for people but for animals too. A friend sent us a delightful video of a bird playing on a sprinkler. (We’ve included it at the end for your amusement.) Although the video is quite short, she said the bird continued playing this way for a full five minutes!

God exists completely in the present, beyond the twin delusions of time and space, and making the shift from Nowhere to Now Here brings us closer to Him. Yogananda wrote, “When storms of trials shriek, and when worries howl at me, I will drown their noises, loudly chanting: ‘God! God! God!’”

So, when your mind drifts and begins to cause you distress, bring it back immediately. Let your mantra be, “I need to move from Nowhere to Now Here.”

In joy,

Nayaswami Jyotish

Subscribe to the Touch of Light podcast. Download the audio recording of this week’s blog by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (5:19):

18 Comments

Post Comment
  1. Amazing. Great message ..to be remembered every minute of lifetime……The video was so lovely. I wish I were the bird …..Thank you JYOTISH JI..PRANAMS

  2. I love the wordplay and even more, the mindplay of your inspiration! Isn’t that great when something so perfect just pops in?

    Personally, I am still working on convincing myself that it is truly desirable to erase all negative memories (except insofar as they can help us to avoid similar mistakes in the future, as Yogananda advised). There seems to be a very fine, and dangerous, line between remembering only what one needs to remember in order for the soul-guided self to move ahead more positively, and “forgetting,” i.e., denying, aspects of our past simply because they do not reaffirm our own self-flattering and self-assuaging delusions. After all, the deliberate obliteration of evidence of various embarrassing or inconvenient periods and personages of the past has historically manifested among different leaders and political/social groups as a dishonest, self-serving, tyrannical denial of reality itself–“erasing history.” Therefore, for the abandonment of negative memories to have integrity, I think that we must make sure that 1) these memories are objectively negative by the standards of universal law, 2) this process does not come at the genuine expense of anyone else, and 3) it is accompanied by a conscious, active, selfless embrace of an opposite positive.

    On the other hand, I have also wondered, do I trust myself to decide which unpleasant things are important to remember for my own good rather than out of a simple perverse instinct to dwell on the negative? And can I remember that which is important and negative without arousing associated negative emotions?

    On another, much more trivial note–when you said, ‘you just move a single letter to the left, which cancels the negating “no” and changes it into a positive “now,” ‘ didn’t you really mean “you just move five letters (“where”) to the right?”

    That bird video is darling!

  3. This is a great article, that could help a lot of people, devotees or not. Has there been any thought of giving talks to church groups.
    Ananda has many good speakers who could modify their talks and gear them to the audience.

  4. Thank you, Jyotish…Perfect moment, .
    Lets see how this linguistic works as it gets written in Spanish…it is going to be fun.
    In His Joy,
    Anaashini

  5. Regarding the birds playing, in the late 1960s I used to take long walks on the beach talking to God. I would pass a big competitive swimming facility where the strong onshore winds created a powerful updraft. Gulls would play in the wind – one gull would hover with a piece of nondescript beach debris in its beak, then sudden drop it whereupon the gulls would swoop down and try to be first to catch it before it reached the ground. Very amusing!

  6. Your blogs are always great, but this one was extra helpful today…….so full of practical, everyday ‘now here’ advice! Thank you! Just this morning in meditation when worries were howling at me, I used God! God! God! It works. That simple chant, like Aum Guru or any name of God, can change one’s consciousness in a second! Again, thank you for such practical reminders that you both give us in these blogs.

  7. Great, difficult to do it, during the days routine, but when I realize the correct movement of the mind in present, I become happy. I practice anyway.. I hope to improve. Thanks joytish a lot
    Paolo Drona

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *