I went shopping in Dallas this past weekend and was excited to take advantage of all the stores’ “end of season sales.” Although I couldn’t help but wonder – is it really the end of the season? It wasn’t even August yet. I looked it up on my iPhone and discovered that the first day of fall wasn’t until September 23.
So about a week shy of two months left of summer and it was already the end of the season. We observe the same phenomenon in reverse come the holidays – retail items adorn the shelves months before the holiday begins.
I think all too often that this collective sentiment permeates our individual consciousness. So frequently we’re on to the next thing and failing to be in the moment that’s presently happening. There’s a guy named Richard Alpert. He was a psychology professor at Harvard University. He was studying human consciousness and was interested in finding peace, happiness and spiritual liberation.
Along came another professor named Timothy Leary. He was experimenting with mind-altering substances in a clinical setting to determine their therapeutic effects. He and Richard Alpert joined forces.
Together they began engaging in man’s eternal search for meaning, which lead them to traveling the globe. They went to India together with the drug known as LSD and took it to a spiritual leader known as Maharaji. Leary and Alpert told Maharaji that this substance held the key to enlightenment, or something like that.
Maharaji proved to them that there was no substance one could take that would ever give them the peace, serenity and heightened consciousness that they were so desperately seeking. Indeed the key to everything was to find present moment awareness using the power of your own mind and psyche.
Alpert came home and thought long and hard about what he wanted to do professionally, believing his career was an impediment to his ability to reach enlightenment. Maybe he should be a chauffeur, he opined. He could be of service. Do honest work. Leave it there at the end of the day, and go home with an empty mind.
But life doesn’t work like that, as he would find. You see, it ultimately doesn’t matter what you are doing so much as how you are doing it. The revelation turned Richard Alpert into spiritual leader Ram Dass, who went on to write the famous text “Be Here Now.”
Ultimately the LSD experiments got the professors fired from Harvard, freeing Ram Dass to lead countless folks on the journey through their own mind without the use of chemical inducement. “Be Here Now” has sold over two million copies and Ram Dass has lead thousands upon thousands of folks in yoga, meditation and the search for self-actualization over the course of the last five decades.
All revolved around the singular thought that there’s nothing more important than learning how to be present in this current moment.
A saying: The past is history. The future’s a mystery. This moment is a gift. That’s why they call it the present.
As always, I’d love to hear from you and can be reached through my criminal defense firm’s site at www.shanastein.com/contact