There is only now. Now is empty like a mist, but when seen as an I of the mist appears solid. In our experience, mist and smoke are dream-like, insubstantial, nonconformist in phenomenal experience. We learn to be afraid of the smoke that hides the truth, obscures clear seeing, serves no purpose, and is the telltale of something dangerous. We fear the monsters in the fog of night, the unseen consuming fire, the mystery behind the curtain, what we can’t touch and feel o confirm. When it’s thick enough, the smoke takes our breath away and starves us of our life.
When NOW is experienced, we see the misty dream as it is. Its smokey essence isn’t nefarious like the smoke that obscures clarity. The opposite is true. NOW is vividly present and luminescent as every possibility in time and space. Nothing is missing, incomplete, or divided. There are no questions to be answered or questions to be asked. NOW is void of anything, the space for everything, the arising of anything, and the potential for everything in the absolute stillness of a timeless moment.
When we re-identify with the phenomenal world, and our mind tries to make sense of what happened, solid concepts creep in, and like our creepy memory of smoke, the memory of NOW creeps us out. Our minds can’t accept insubstantiality as truth. Our minds must make real what is in its experience to protect itself from non-existence. The fact of our person’s smoke-like existence is hidden in a shroud of fear, ironically reversing the truth of what is. Smoke begets smoke to conceal its vaporous nature. A phenomenal I fears NOW because from NOW, I is only smoke and mist.
But this is why we practice. We don’t practice to be better, more worthy, achieve status, or even unlock the supreme chakra. We practice to be what we are. As awareness, all the smoke and mirrors are revealed as smoke and mirrors. We can see the temporal dance of the phenomenal ballet. We can watch it oscillate and shapeshift. We can experience with phenomenal eyes and phenomenal senses as a smokey world of transient phenomena. We don’t have to cling to the vapor and make real the mist. We don’t need to fear insubstantial, dream stuff that arises from and within the wisdom that manifests it. In the stillness of empty awareness, we can know what is at it is instead of as we think it is. From NOW, there is no fear of NOW.