In This Moment

by Josh Baran

From the Introduction to 365 Nirvana Here and Now

Before you dive into this book, I invite you to stop for a moment and let me guide your attention to your experience right now. Do this as if you are a newborn child, noticing everything for the very first time. Bring your attention to your breath as it moves in and out of your chest and nostrils. Hear the sounds around you, whatever they may be: cars honking, dogs barking, the wind in the trees.

Notice your eyes as they move back and forth across this page. Feel the weight of this book in your hands, the sensation of your back against the chair, your feet on the ground, and your clothes against your skin. As you read these words, you may be silently saying them to yourself. At the same time, thoughts appear—streams of words, images, bits of conversation. Be aware of these as they come and go, appear and disappear, one leading to the next.

All of this is being experienced specifically by someone—you. Who is this “you?”

Take a moment to explore this. Who is reading these words right now? Who is seeing and hearing? These questions might seem absurd and the answer obvious: “Me… I am, of course.” You might answer with your name, age, race, physical description, and so on. You might speak about your past, where you were born, or your credentials. But exactly who or what is this “I” that occupies the center of every instant in your life? In what ways does it seem special and unique, distinct from all the other “I’s” in the world? What do you really know about this “I?”

You may be so immersed in this automatic, habitual, and nonstop stream of “I” thoughts, that you are unaware of them. You may have never even considered what this ongoing drama really is. Can you begin to see that this “I” is a nonstop storyteller, spinning tales of the past, the present and the future—constantly editing, interpreting and directing this inner movie?

Take a few quiet minutes. Begin to notice how the “I” shows up (e.g. “I am… I feel… I want… I need… I should…”). Observe each thought as it arises. Now, ask yourself, “Who is thinking these thoughts?” Is there a somebody thinking them? Do not look to past experiences, assumptions, or anything you have ever read or heard. Rely only on your direct experience in this moment.

Now notice the awareness itself that is inquiring into this “I.” What is this? Where is it located? Where does it come from? Look closely. It is not “I.” It is not thoughts. It is not a state, a place, an object, or a concept. This knowing is clear and transparent, and contains and permeates everything. This sense of being is always present, unchanging, and does not come or go.

This presence-aliveness is intimately here and wholly now, with no past or future, beyond all concepts and opposites. You need not close your eyes, meditate, or try to see this. Simply observe this “is-ness.” It has many names: Nirvana, the Tao, No-Self, Buddha Nature, the Now, Original Mind, Enlightenment, the Unborn.

This book celebrates this awakened state—wide open and available in every moment.

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About the Author
Josh Baran is a former Zen priest, a contributor to Tricycle: the Buddhist Review, and currently a strategic communications consultant in New York City. For many years, he has managed media relations for the Dalai Lama's visits to the Eastern United States. In addition, he is a longtime student of the Dzogchen tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and now works closely with Byron Katie. Click here to visit his website.

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