If, for one moment, we stop trying to understand or change anything, if we drop every belief, every answer, every story, every idea about the universe , what remains? This open aware presence is the only reality of which we are absolutely certain. It is obvious, unavoidable, impossible to doubt. Here / Now is at once ever-changing and ever-present, boundless and seamless. It allows everything and resists nothing. It is the common factor in every different experience, whether it is a contracted or an expanded experience. This here-ness or now-ness is the water in every wave. This seamlessness of being cannot be lost or found because it is all there is. When our attention is absorbed in thoughts, stories and beliefs, it seems that this openness is lost, that we are a separate fragment encapsulated inside an independent bodymind, steering that bodymind through life, like a ship moving forward in the river of time. We look for happiness out there‚ somewhere in the future. As this imaginary fragment, we feel driven to be somebody‚ make something of ourselves and get somewhere. But no matter what we do, something always seems to be lacking. When there is a waking up from entrancement, we discover the aliveness and openness of this timeless present moment. As this seamless happening of life itself, we discover that we are already free, already whole. We have never really been separate or lost. This waking up is not a past or future event. It is now or never. But awake or asleep, there is only ever this seamless happening that never comes, never goes, and never stays the same."
Joan Tollifson writes and talks about the ever-changing, ever-present
aliveness of Here / Now, that which is obvious, unavoidable and
impossible to doubt. She has an affinity with Advaita, Zen and radical
nonduality, but she belongs to no tradition or lineage. Her main teacher
was Toni Packer, but Joan has also studied with several Zen teachers
and has spent time with a number of Advaita and nondual teachers. She
has lived in California, New York and Chicago, and is currently living
in southern Oregon. Joan has been holding meetings since 1996.
the author of Bare-Bones Meditation: Waking Up from the Story of My Life
(1996), Awake in the Heartland: The Ecstasy of What Is (2003),
andPainting the Sidewalk with Water: Talks and Dialogs about Nonduality
(2010). A fourth book about death, aging and nonduality is coming soon.