One of the main differences between Phase 1 and Phase 2 is that in Phase 1 it doesn’t matter what you learn or how much you “try” to “achieve” higher consciousness. By it’s very nature, every solution in Phase 1 must fail, because we haven’t recognized the illusory nature of our reality yet. And, taken from a Phase 1 perspective – that everything that is happening is real and apart from you – using “The Power of Now” will ultimately not give you the results you want. However, in Phase 2, it gives a powerful example of how to use the process effectively.
Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” concisely points out the fact that we only ever live in the present. It’s overriding thesis is that our true power is in our present experience – and by focusing our power into the past by dwelling or into the future by speculating ultimately diminishes our effectiveness.
There are some amazing exercises similar to Buddhist meditation wherein you simply feel experience moving through you. To demonstrate how to know you’re in the now, he says just think to yourself:
“What am I thinking now?”
We don’t talk about it much in “real life” where we are often dominated by calendars, time, events, troubling pasts, regrets, and so forth. Yet the the fact remains true that the only real thing is right now. If I am preoccupied with the past, it is my choice to bring feelings and thoughts of the past into the present. If I am concerned or excited about the future, those feelings can still only exist in the present.
Is the Power Really in the Now?
So essentially the past and the future are an illusion. No matter how real they are to you, they are no more real than a highly impressionable book or movie. Furthermore, your memory is not so different than your imagination as it’s widely understood that your memory tends to be selective and can be changed through methods such as suggestion.
I once had a past-life regression and the whole time while under hypnosis I wondered if I was just making the whole thing up. Then I wondered what would be the difference? As Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
So if we can assume that the past and future are merely constructs of our mind – ideas that make our living in reality much smoother – is it that hard to extend this idea to now? What if now is just as imaginary as then, or when? What if, by focusing all our power into now, with slogans such as “live in the moment”, we are fiercely reinforcing the idea that now exists? This can’t help but strengthen the illusion – that everything is real and separate. “Now” is a wonderful aspect of the Phase 1 game.
Reclaiming the Power of Now
Robert Scheinfeld also believes that many of the Phase 1 “tricks” include pieces of the truth. So it goes with “The Power of Now” It is true that our power to progress in Phase 2 exists now, but it’s not our ill-focused mind on the past or the future that disempowers us – it’s the logical progression of Phase 1.
Here’s what’s really happening – this entire world is your consciousness. Before playing the game, you decided to have a focal point of your consciousness as a persona. This you commonly refer to as yourself. I’m Chris the limited human being, for example. Along with your limited playground universe that is an extension of your consciousness (even this writing is your consciousness) is your persona’s experience of the passage of time. Thus the key here is the only “time” to experience your infinite nature is “now”
What I’m trying to say is that the belief that “someday” you’ll “achieve” enlightenment or whatever the Power of Now seeks to give with enough “effort” or “knowledge” is an illusion. And thus what the Power of Now claims – life is freeing when lived in the present unburdened by the past and future is correct. Through this lens, does it make sense to worry about the future?
If you’re having trouble, think of time not so much as passing in a linear fashion. Think of it as an unfolding. Did you know that our tectonic plates are actually like large conveyor belts? That means that every second another piece of new Earth (Eckhart Tolle pun) rises from its center. No piece of Earth is ever in the same place. It’s all subtly moving.
Your consciousness too slowly unfolds as you realize more and more. Time seems to pass because no matter how limited you are – you’re still infinite underneath and new experience will continue to be manifested in consciousness. Nothing is ever the same. Now is simply the leading edge of your consciousness.
The opportunity you – the persona – have is to embrace the call to connect with your infinite nature. By doing this you are telling your consciousness to expand more. And as the unfolding continues while playing the human game, your infinite nature will become more and more fully realized. You will have revelations. You may find your relationships with yourself and others changing. You may become clear.
And eventually, you will begin to know at a very deep level – not just accept – the experience of now as perfect no matter how imperfect it may seem to your persona. Good or bad, angry, sad, ecstatic, bored, hurt, hopeful, distraught – all just unfoldings of your consciousness – only the finest pure experience for the life connousieur that you are. You will understand that “now” – how you feel, what you think, even what you do – has no bearing on the past or the future. And time is just a story your expanded self chooses to live in the unfolding.
Imagine a piece of paper. Crumple that paper up. Though it may seem to be smaller and insignificant now that it is crumpled, if you unfold it, it becomes just the same as it ever was though it seemed when crumpled to be different.
The paper is the Human Game. In Phase 1 your life can easily seem like a crumpled piece of paper. It’s got obvious limitations. It doesn’t seem to change. But the process of awakening and shifting into Phase 2 is the process of unfolding that paper. Once you bust loose, the paper can be made through origami into a crane, a heart, a plane, or a treasure box.
Feeling the Game in “The Human Game”
What I invite you to do is to feel the present through the lens of your expanded self. Just imagine if you were a creator that lived in constant bliss (what Scheinfeld calls joyfulness) and you decided to live in this limited reality. Can you see that you feel two levels of consciousness here? On one level there is your current emotion – guilt for example. One another level there is an absolute non-judgmental feeling of incredible joy that you are feeling just for the fun of playing the game.
Have you ever played a video game where your character is in extreme circumstances? Most games have these kinds of situations. If you were really fighting hundreds of enemies you’d probably be feeling intense forms of fear, rage, shock, pain, and who knows what else. But instead you who is playing the game, are having fun because you just got the game, it’s got the newest best graphics, and it’s not real.
If you die, it’s no big deal. But maybe you’re at the end of the level and you just have to defeat the boss. You’ve played this level many times before and now it’s personal. You experience many similar emotions of distress to your in game avatar. “I almost beat him!” you think. Maybe you throw the controller across the room. This is what happens when we forget we’re playing the game. We take it personally. But that’s the point.
If anything should charge you with purpose it’s this: you came here to experience right now. All the “failings”, “mistakes”, “should-haves”, and “could haves.” Now is not always “happy” and it’s not supposed to be. Just like you’re not supposed to eat your favorite food all the time. The emotions and experiences that many believe you should avoid – as though focusing on the “now” was an instant morphine drip – are exactly what you came to experience. And experiencing limitation (or Phase 1) is part of the unfolding.
In the beginning you can only experience now on one level – the face value of the illusion. The limited world. All of your thoughts, emotions and, actions. All of your attempts to “fix” the illusion. All the conviction you can muster to believe this is all there is. But now you know there’s more than that.
Now you can begin to experience the second level of now. The level of the player, playing you. That is the real and eternal present. That is the “real” now. You’re not a puppet. The player is you as well. Every spiritual experience you’ve had up until this point has been placed there by your expanded self to support you in moving into Phase 2 – to bust loose. And for the sheer joy of experiencing it.
Ever given up something you love? I love Cinnabons and I intentionally don’t eat them often. I do this so every time I will rejoice and remember how delicious they are. In Phase 1, your expanded self does the same with the feeling of bliss or spiritual connection in order to deepen your palette of experience in the illusion.
But now you have the opportunity to move into Phase 2. To see “The Matrix” for the code. To see the illusion for the unimaginable power that created it. This power is you and always has been. If you have made the decision, I urge you to reclaim your power from now. To see it as your expanded self sees it. And as you say “Marco” your expanded self says “Polo.” Only now, you can begin to open your eyes.