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Richard Jefferies: The Present Moment

True happiness is experienced in the present moment, not in the past nor in the future.

Even if we look forward with pleasure to some future event, that pleasure is experienced now, not in the future. There is a lot to discover about the present moment.

There are two aspects of time. One may be called ‘passing time’ and the other the ‘eternal present’. This can be shown in a simple diagram:

present moment

Passing time is never still, it is continuously moving. Because it is always moving there can be no rest in it. The eternal present is another dimension of time. In that present there is no movement and there are no desires. It is simple existence. What may be known or experienced in that present is without limit.

  • How much of the time are we ever really present?
  • How much time do we spend absorbed in passing time ?

In the eternal present there are no worries or fears, no doubts or agitations. At this time we are connected with the still centre of our being. Here we experience the deepest and most lasting happiness.

This is described by the nineteenth century English novelist and writer, Richard Jefferies :

It is eternity now. I am in the midst of it.

It is about me in the sunshine ; I am in it, as the butterfly floats in the light-laden air. Nothing has to come ; it is now. Now is eternity ; now is the immortal life.

Here this moment, by this tumulus (ancient burial mound), on earth, now ; I exist in it.

The years, the centuries, the cycles are absolutely nothing ; it is only a moment since this tumulus was raised ; in a thousand years more it will still be only a moment.

To the soul there is no past and no future ; all is and will be ever, in now.

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