An excerpt from Krishna Prem’s soon to be published book, Aloneness: A Love Story.
One of the reasons people don’t meditate is because they don’t understand the concept of being in the moment. When I say, “Be here, now”, they don’t get it and neither did I for a very long time until I pierced the question.
Here, in the present moment, time does not exist. Theoretically, like Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan, and other popular scientists have patiently explained to us, time exists as a continuum: flowing from the past, through the present and into future.
In reality, this flow is just an appearance. It appears in the mind, because the mind has the ability to recall the past and think about the future. Beyond this shadowy realm of mental construction, neither past nor future exist. No, really. Trust me. They don’t. There is only now… now… now….
“Excuse me, Krishna Prem, what time is it?”
“Are you shitting me?”
One of the big concepts in this book is: be here now. Sure, you can schedule your life, make appointments, pretend that time exists – everyone else is pretending, too, so it’s convenient to tag along.
Time is mind. I forgot who said that, maybe Albert Einstein, but anyway it’s true. Past… present… future… are crammed into your mind, together with all the stress and pressure that time, or lack of it, creates in you. When you think about it, it’s truly bizarre: first we invent time, then we complain there’s not enough of it.
Like the White Rabbit said, as he glanced at his watch while hurrying past Alice, “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!” Chances are he got so stressed he developed a stomach ulcer and died of a heart attack.
One can’t help conjecturing that he’d have been better off getting totally ripped with a hookah-smoking caterpillar. Grace Slick and Jefferson Airplane could have shown him the way – insider’s joke for those of you old enough to remember the 1960s.
But I digress. Here’s the bottom line: this whole book is about how to get your mind to work for you, instead of your mind being your boss, stressing you out and creating stomach ulcers.
People don’t meditate, because they don’t know about the concept of being in the moment. Eckhart Tolle keeps telling them to appreciate the “power of now” but somehow they don’t hear him. They actually think the past is their life – can you imagine?
We don’t need to deny the past. We need to become friends with the past. We need to thank our past for teaching us enough to bring us to the point where we can kick the past in the butt, preferably over a cliff, and then take a jump into the present.
What I want to do in this book is show people how the past can become a teacher. So that when you look into the past, you can say “Thank you, fuck you… and fuck off!”
Once the burden of the past disappears and you can live in the present, you can shrug off the emotional weight you’ve been carrying all these years. When you can really be in the present, this moment feels so brand new to you, that you know it can’t possibly be a continuation of something old.
You find yourself saying “What is my situation this morning? How can I make my life work for me? How can I be creative? How can I respond freshly, innocently, immediately to this moment that’s opening up in front of me?”
You forgive your ex-wife and thank her for teaching you what love is, by teaching you what love is not. Then there is a possibility not to simply meet somebody new, but to do things differently next time instead of repeating your old mistakes, entering into a new adventure.
People ask me what I am still doing in India after forty-five years. What is wrong with me? And what is wrong with me is that I love Osho. I think he is a genius. Beyond being enlightened, I simply love what he put together and what he did for me – or rather, what I allowed myself to do to myself with his guidance, encouragement and support.
I will never forget that feeling, the first time I did Kundalini Meditation – one of his inventions. I cried aloud, “Oh, my God! How did I not create this meditation myself?” It was so simple: four stages lasting a total of one hour: shake for fifteen minutes, dance for fifteen minutes, stand or sit for fifteen minutes listening to music, and then lie down and become enlightened again, every day.
I want to suggest something to you: get out your old CD, or your old audio cassette tape if you are as old as me, and try the Kundalini Meditation again. Or, if you don’t have it, or have never tried it, look it up on Spotify. I will share the link.
You can be at home, turn on Spotify, press Kundalini, and have the shake of your life. This meditation brings me in the moment. I call this meditation ‘getting divorced’ because when my wife was with me and I was about to begin Kundalini Meditation, I would mentally grant myself a legal separation from my significant other. When you meditate, you can’t bring anyone with you. In my imagination, I whispered in her ear “Guess what? You are not with me right now. Our relationship is over. Finished.”
Then I would shake, dance, sit and meditate. And then I would go out looking for my wife, looking forward to seeing her, because I’d become a brand new person, involved in a brand new relationship.
For me, the shaking is dropping the past, dropping my marriage, dropping my parents, being alone and as the result of being alone, you might find that you enjoy your wife, you enjoy your parents, you enjoy your friends. So funny, you need to get divorced to find your wife again.
Many people think that, when they have completed Kundalini Meditation, they have meditated for one hour. Strictly speaking, that’s not true. Yes, you’ve done the technique for an hour, but the shaking is not meditation, the dancing is not meditation, the sitting and listening to music is not meditation. It is all preparation for that final stage, when you finally take the risk, “I am alone. I am lying here, on my back, eyes closed, doing nothing and it feels okay. I feel brand new in my life right now. I feel relaxed.”
For those previous 45 minutes you were preparing yourself to slip into the present moment. It may feel a little weird to lie down and do nothing, neither active nor sleepily passive, neither speaking nor snoring. Just think: Zen monks do this all the time, so fifteen minutes isn’t going to kill you.
Give it a try. Take a risk, take your clothes off, take your parents off, take your beloved off, be alone and see what comes out of it, or, more accurately, into it. It is brilliant. It is called life. Enjoy.
Excerpt from chapter 1 of Aloneness: A Love Story by Krishna Prem
Image credit: Hijinx Theatre