Oneness happens only in the present moment. The present is all there ever is. Everything else is either a memory of the past or a projection about the future. You are reading this right now. You may or may not remember these words as a memory in the future. It does not matter as your life happens in each moment and, in a flash, it’s gone. What you have identified as your life then, is just a collection of memories about all the moments you’ve experienced up to that point. That is the message of The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle, and the core of the one teaching. Remembering the past and planning the future, which includes worrying about them, are functions of our brains. They are only memories or projections and they are not real. You experience moments only in the now. Eckhart Tolle explains this concept so well in the book and I highly recommend it.
This concept of now is further explored through the concepts of present-self and future-self, which I first heard about from Dan Ariely, an author and professor of behavioral psychology. Your present-self is you right now in this moment! Hi there, present you! Your future-self is a mind projection of you at some point in the future. We often have high expectations of our future-selves. We say, “Someday I will do this or stop doing that, but not today.” We give these things to our future-self. These two versions of you are very different. More importantly, one is real and the other is made up. Eventually, the future-self becomes your present-self and you have to deal with the now, right now.
Have you ever been asked to commit to something, like a meeting for example, that you really didn’t want to attend? If the meeting were today and you didn’t want or need to go, you would likely decline. But if the meeting was far enough off into the future, you might agree because it won’t affect you immediately. Unfortunately, time passes and your future-self becomes your present-self and now it’s time to attend that meeting. You curse your past self, saying, “Why on earth did I agree to this meeting?”
Your future-self is a figment of your imagination and a projection of your ego. Your future-self is not you! He or she is a completely unreliable person in your life. Your future-self willingly takes on all sorts of obligations all the time. But then when the time comes to fulfill these commitments, future-self disappears leaving you to do it all. Future-self is so irresponsible!
The first time I learned that I had an imaginary friend called my future-self, I became much more consciously aware of the commitments I was making. My future-self is never going to do anything for me. So if I’m not excited about something to which I am about to commit to right now, I think twice about giving it to my future-self. I know he’s not going to do it for me when then becomes now.
We live in a society where busy is the norm, but busy usually does not equate to bliss. If you are busy being blissful then you are doing something right. But if you find you are constantly cursing your past-self for signing you up for things you don’t want to be busy doing, remember that your future-self is a fake. As Joseph Campbell says, “Follow your bliss,” and that’s a decision you can only make for your present-self right now.