3 Things You Have to Give Up to Get Closer to the Present


People talk about being more present or wanting to “be here now.” But few are willing or able to pay the necessary fare to get “here now.”

There are three things you must give up to experience the present.

1. free choice
2. separateness

It is likely you don’t wish to give up any of these. You hold to them like a child to a best blanket or a teen to resistance.

If you have explored yourself a good deal you may have loosened your grip and may only hold to them addictively not existentially. With progress toward who you really are you will hold this trio like an addict does heroin or a lover does love.

But to get anywhere near the present you will release all three, or, all three will release you.

Without these three you won’t recognize yourself. You will simply meet who you really are. You will experience unconditional love, acceptance and freedom.

You will discover what all the gurus are smiling about. Everything changes when you wake up… everything. You can walk without the crutch of free choice, glow without the fear of separation and relax without the stress of control.

To wake up into the present you have to release what seems to make your life worth living and what you wouldn’t want to live without. It isn’t the stuff you want to get rid of that keeps you out of the present. It is the stuff that you want.

Lets take a closer look at these three little buggers.

1. Free Choice



Free choice is a common delusion which seems to set you free but actually oppresses you horribly. Free choice has you imagine you have options where there aren’t any. It forces you into past or future, way out of the present.

In the present you simply do what you do. No choice. When you distance yourself from NOW you get to choose which now. But none of the choices available to you are now.

The simple solution to this age old oppression that has caused people endless suffering, blaming and justification is to “always perceive that you have a choice and never make it.”

When you don’t make choices you will discover the flow of life. Choices are already made for you. Only “no choice” is free choice. I know that doesn’t sound right or true. That is because you have been oppressed by the myth and delusion of free choice for so long you don’t notice that the door to your cell is unlocked and swinging open.

You remain incarcerated with your lovely cell mate “free choice.” Until you don’t. I wonder how soon that will be. Get curious about what life would be like without the illusion of free choice.

2. Separation

On a fairly shallow layer of thought and experience you are separate: an individual. You beat your chest proud of yourself or weep ashamed of yourself.

One cost of the illusion of separation is being haunted by loneliness. A huge cost.

Another spiritual cost is having to continually compete and compare yourself to others.

Yet another is perceiving nothing, the void, as your individual responsibility to avoid.

Wholeness disappears as you, the individual, step forward into the agonizing spotlight of life as a performance/act.

Ouch, it hurts, but you don’t notice the pain because the show must go on. You are too busy trying to be you, stand on your own two feet, prove yourself and dance your own beat up dance.

The deeper you go into who you are the more wholeness you will experience and the more subtly you will experience being specifically you as You.

Separateness melts into wholeness and you are alone together as universe and universal you.

Your motivations change as no matter where you go or what you do there you are. Its all you baby.

Wholeness! Your birthright.

3. Control

Control is a particularly nasty common delusion. It has you think you can help or influence things which has you constantly experience being responsible without being able.

How it really is: You are falling into the present. You have no more, or less, control than you might having just jumped off the top of the Sears Tower. You have a limited, but you don’t know how limited, time until you splat on the pavement of the present.

Until your demise you can make up junk, try and be in control, or enjoy the outrageous life affirming sensations of the fall.

If you are fighting for control then you are fighting. If you are simply enjoying the ride then you are simply enjoying.


To focus attention on fighting over entertainment is to try and control. Both are happening simultaneously. Mastering attention so it includes more rather than less allows you to expand your experience of yourself.

to master attention you have to confront free choice, separateness and control so you can answer the really important question “Who’s attention is it anyway?”

If your answer to the question is anything but “not mine” you have a lot more to learn and experience about love and life before you touch down into who you are: splat into the pavement of the present and wake up. Enjoy the ride.

It’s OK

I had a women in a course who asked “How do I have my child stop using a pacifier?”

A friend of mine spoke up. He said “Who gave him the pacifier?”

You need a pacifier until you don’t. The pacifier doesn’t provide you with any nutritional value but it does support you until you can support yourself. It has you imagine that you are safe and well taken care of. But this safety is only imaginary.

Free choice, separateness and control are pacifiers. They have you image that you are safer than you really are. You need these pacifiers until you don’t. Having them will stop you from discovering that you really are OK that the universe really is perfect just the way that it is and that you are exactly as you should be.

Your pacifiers are hollow representations of the wholeness and presence available. But they are what you have. Well meaning parents, teachers, friends and lovers give you this pacifier to keep you quiet, stop you from seeking and for your sake and their sake.

Releasing the pacifiers is as simple as getting really curious about them. Focus attention on them. Get curious about what is true under what you think is true. Question your thoughts, question your solutions. While curiosity may have killed the cat it makes a human being more human, open, loving and real.

Get curious about what you already know and what you don’t yet know. Ask way more questions than answers. Question all of your answers, tickle them, look behind them and you will find the perfect you waiting patiently in the present: awake.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Marty May 3, 2013 at 8:44 pm

What is easier, being “present” or “not an inch to stand on”?


Jerry May 10, 2013 at 11:47 am

Present isn’t easy or hard, it simply doesn’t have that sort of quality. It is when you don’t notice your presence that you seek easier or complain about harder.


Kathy December 3, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Dear Jerry
I want to understand, but I just don’t! You seem to be on the right path but my little mind cant comprehend exactly what you are explaining to me.
Can you help me to understand?


Jerry January 1, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Hi Kathy,

I’ll offer you a shortcut here because it sounds like you’re driving yourself crazy trying to understand.

Rather than trying to understand what I’m saying, what does the article bring up in you?


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