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How to be social when being in the now?

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 9:31 am
by immersion
When I talk with others, I find it difficult to make conversation when trying to be in the now, and not to focus on the past or future. A question like “what did you get up to last weekend?” leaves me struggling for words. Either that or I’d say something not interesting, such as “oh nothing” and make the conversation rather stale. The topic of meditation doesn’t do so well in conversations.
I remember Eckhart saying something about its only interesting to the mind, but isn't it to be social is to be interesting and to talk of the future and past? Maybe it’s ok to talk of the past or future, but not identify with it? How do I be social and make conversation about the Now?

Also, what do I do if someone starts complaining of their past or future to me? If I engage in the conversation, am I only just feeding their ego of being the victim? If I call them out on it, and give them advice to be in the Now, aren’t I just resisting to what is? What do I do?

Thanks a lot

Re: How to be social when being in the now?

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 2:53 pm
by Webwanderer
Hello immersion, welcome to our forum.
immersion wrote:When I talk with others, I find it difficult to make conversation when trying to be in the now, and not to focus on the past or future.
The goal here is to live consciously in the present moment. Recognize, that in reality the present moment is all that exists. Living from the ego/mind perspective gives one the impression of time, but in truth our memories are only present rememberances of past events. So in your conversations, and even in your own private thoughts, recognize those thoughts for what they are.

Will you still get drawn into them? Probably. But don't get to hung up on it. As soon as you recognize the mental grip on consciousness, release the present thought and return to clear awareness of the present moment.
what do I do if someone starts complaining of their past or future to me?
Do the best you can with life as you understand it. There is no pat answer here. Generally speaking when people complain they are caught in their own ego/mind story. Your clear presence will help more than any platitudes. Most people who complain are not looking for answers anyway, they are just reinforcing their mindset. Until they are ready to give up their victim mentality, words will do little to help. Open compassionate presence effects others beyond words. It is in this natural state that freedom is realized.

Re: How to be social when being in the now?

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 5:44 pm
by kiki
Welcome to the board, immersion. Webwanderer gave you a great answer. I know in my own life that I find social situations have changed dramatically. I used to always be on edge, hoping I wouldn't appear weird, wanting to be clever and amusing, wanting to make an impression and all that sort of thing. Now I find myself rather amused at what I see going on around me and just sort of sit there and take it all in. I see in others what I saw so clearly in myself and sometimes I just want to "slap" them, figuratively speaking, to wake them up. Instead, I just remain present because that is the best testimony I can give. There are times, however, when you can speak about this but you have to be alert to them when they arise. This cannot be forced on anyone.

As for speaking about the past and future, what's holding you back? That arises in the present moment, does it not? As for myself, I only speak now when I actually have something I want to contribute - so for the most part I am silent, and content with that. I no longer care one way or another how I am perceived by anyone. If "chit chat" seems appropriate I can do that too, but not for myself so much as for the sake of others who haven't come to terms with simply being silent in social situations. To me it all has become this huge "show" that I sit and watch, sometimes even watching as I assume a particular role to play, but no longer getting lost in that role.

Re: How to be social when being in the now?

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:50 pm
by immersion
Wow, thanks for the quick and great replies.
Open compassionate presence effects others beyond words.
So what does it actually mean to be present, when someone is caught up in their ego and complaining to you? Is it to remain silent?

Re: How to be social when being in the now?

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 12:44 am
by Webwanderer
immersion wrote:So what does it actually mean to be present, when someone is caught up in their ego and complaining to you? Is it to remain silent?
Not necessarily. Each situation has its own dynamics. Being present simply means to be open to whatever content each moment has to offer. Whether you remain silent or choose to engage the other is not the issue. What matters is whether you can dialog with that other without getting drawn into you own ego/mind perspective.

Don't labor over your response, just learn to recognize and make the distinction between an ego/mind separate-self identity, and clear presence awareness. What you may say is always secondary to the consciousness from which you say it.

Re: How to be social when being in the now?

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:00 am
by immersion
Oh I get it now. Thanks for your clear responses.

Re: How to be social when being in the now?

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 2:21 am
by kiki
Whether you remain silent or choose to engage the other is not the issue. What matters is whether you can dialog with that other without getting drawn into you own ego/mind perspective.
Don't labor over your response, just learn to recognize and make the distinction between an ego/mind separate-self identity, and clear presence awareness. What you may say is always secondary to the consciousness from which you say it.
I was going to write a response but Webwanderer beat me to it. The above statements say it perfectly, and in a much more economical way than I could have put it.

Re: How to be social when being in the now?

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 3:49 am
by blueviceroy
Needless to say I'm on board with our mods, in particular Kiki

I'm blessed with interacting without identifying myself with anything that is happening , I'm seperate from activity even though I'm completely in tune with whatever person I'm interacting with.

I lurk like a alligator , waiting for an opening to inject a pointer to awarenes , a chance to use a turn of phrase or and incident to illuminate on a facet of our greater reality.

I completely present myself to be imposed on by whomever is in my current sphere of influence.

I'm am completely present and at the same time completely detached , utterly engrossed while I'm also disinterested.

Being present is for me a paradox, seems like the simplest things are the most profound.

Re: How to be social when being in the now?

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:50 pm
by weichen
Tolle repeatedly states that he is a hermit at the core: i.e. he prefers to be alone. Tolle also said that every encounter is divine.

My understanding is that the more joy you have being alone, the clearer your mind is, and therefore, the more meaningful the social encounter with another individual. Social encounter is an expression of who you are. If you want to be a spiritual teacher, even revolutionize the spiritual teaching, then surely you would enjoy social situations and know what to say.

Everytime I meet with someone (on the street or at a group gathering) who likes to chit chat, I always ask that person: are you happy? Most people like to discuss this topics. I don't offer unsolicited advice, but I paraphrase what they just said and feed it back to them (and hide my comments inside the feedback as if they implied that :lol: ).

For example, one guy gave a lengthy display of his knowledge about the Bible and said that this is the foundation of his happiness. He seemed, to me, to be more excited about his knowledge about the Bible than about true happiness. I would say "...so you are saying that some of the text in the new testament allow you to catch a glimps of what happiness is really about, but you are not satisfied with just catching a glimps of happiness, you want more..." My feedback may seem outrageous, as that guy was beaming with joy and showed no sign of dissatisfaction. But he quickly agreed and started to complain the confusions he encountered in studying the Bible.

Re: How to be social when being in the now?

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 10:24 pm
by erict
immersion wrote:When I talk with others, I find it difficult to make conversation when trying to be in the now
Is there really any point to "trying to be in the now"? Isn't that just another goal of the ego? Why try to be in the now, what for?

This is a bit unrelated, but maybe you guys will help me gain some clarity.
Is there any point whatsoever, to all this trying to be present and all that?

So somehow you end up reading The Power of Now, and while reading it, you encounter all these things about past and future and being present. And somewhere along the way your ego sees an opportunity. This enlightenment business seems like the best strategy towards feeling good / being free, all that... The ultimate goal - Enlightenment. So the ego figures, now I'll focus on the present all the time, I will avoid past and future, bla bla bla... So your ego is still trying to be in control, manipulating reality... Is there really any difference between this and, for example, focusing on your career and money?

There are definitely some practical benefits to focusing more on the present. But does any of this have anything to do with enlightenment?

Re: How to be social when being in the now?

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:01 pm
by blueviceroy
Being free of future and past is a tool to clear the mind of unneccessary work and distraction , thus allowing total focus on what is currently active. This equals peak performance of the mind.

I find that in itself a sufficient reward , that being said it also allows us to view the world unemcumbered by predisposed thoughts and baseless judgments and we see things as they are, including our own true nature,

I would have to say "Very beneficial"


The strength and certainty needed to traverse this life as an undamaged entity is considerable,
So all metaphysics aside is just makes good healthy people


Being present is a side affect of being a whole person, I hope that made some sense.

Re: How to be social when being in the now?

Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 1:03 am
by shappy
erict wrote:Is there really any point to "trying to be in the now"? Isn't that just another goal of the ego? Why try to be in the now, what for?

This is a bit unrelated, but maybe you guys will help me gain some clarity.
Is there any point whatsoever, to all this trying to be present and all that?

So somehow you end up reading The Power of Now, and while reading it, you encounter all these things about past and future and being present. And somewhere along the way your ego sees an opportunity. This enlightenment business seems like the best strategy towards feeling good / being free, all that... The ultimate goal - Enlightenment. So the ego figures, now I'll focus on the present all the time, I will avoid past and future, bla bla bla... So your ego is still trying to be in control, manipulating reality... Is there really any difference between this and, for example, focusing on your career and money?

There are definitely some practical benefits to focusing more on the present. But does any of this have anything to do with enlightenment?
Some interesting points, erict.

"Practicing the Now" is a really strange concept because it's implying that you are not already in the now. You cannot not be in the now! If you wave your hand in front of your face and notice it, then you are already enlightened... hell, even if you don't notice it, you are already enlightened. Your existence is enlightenment itself.

It's all about the direct experience. This is basically what the Now is.

Having said that, a shift away from separateness will have to take place in some capacity. And all one really needs to do is let go of trying to resist what is. Because the ego is simply the compulsion to resist. The ego is not some separate entity inside of you that needs to die... that's fairy-tale land. The more you understand this compulsion to resist, the more you become aware of how this resistance happens. It can be obvious or it can be extremely subtle.

We need to strip away all the excess mind-clutter. This includes practices and techniques. The practice of Buddhism, for example, is quite funny because in a way, it sort of forces you to become completely wrapped up in techniques and stories. And guess when enlightenment is realized? When you realize that you don't need any techniques or stories or anything! (I'm convinced this was designed on purpose). It works because it doesn't. At the end of the day, everything you need is inside you.

Re: How to be social when being in the now?

Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 1:14 am
by kiki
Is there any point whatsoever, to all this trying to be present and all that?
Perhaps its greatest value is in showing that "trying" doesn't work. Ego/mind doesn't quite believe it, and it's probably a rare thing that it ever would, so it goes about the business of effort despite what anyone else says. And then it wonders why it gets frustrated! Hilarious!

Re: How to be social when being in the now?

Posted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 6:04 pm
by tikey
hi there

I didn't read all the answears, because I was so fast to write my own, that now I can make mistake and write something that someone had already written :shock:
hah, no problem.

Look at this like this: when you are trully in the now, you are in a state with NO PROBLEM. There are no problems around you. All there is is the now. here
and now.... the situation which is unfolding right now.... it is exactly like you would have a comic book full of illustration, I mean every page is divided
into "windows". And each of this windows is exactly this moment. It is Now. Imagine Your life is a comic-book - you know there is a story, which has a
past or future - and you cut out only one window.... from one page.... and EVERYTHING ELSE IS GONE.... wellcome to the now.........

Re: How to be social when being in the now?

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 5:13 am
by Suzanne
immersion wrote:Also, what do I do if someone starts complaining of their past or future to me?
This happens to me all the time at work. I know what you mean. Everyone loves to complain about the weather, and I don't think they appreciate it that I often disagree: "Actually, we need the rain." "I wish it would get colder." "I love the winter." These kinds of responses don't win me any friends, I have to admit.

I'm ambivilent, too. I want just go along but my heart's not in it. I don't want to complain. But I do remember, like the song "What A Wonderful World" says,

"I see people shaking hands, saying How Do you do? They're really saying, I love you." and I assume the best, that they bothered to say anything at all to me.

But I really do enjoy solitude, now. My job is a little easier because I work with kids. They're so straight and honest and full of life. Nothing they say is really negative. The adults are definitely more challenging! :)