When you look up into the night sky, you are seeing starlight… Well as long as you don’t live where there is too much light pollution… But work with me here.
So you’re looking into the night sky and you see the light from stars. For you, it’s now, it’s being in the moment. But is it really?
What you are in fact seeing, when you look up into the night sky, is the past. The light from stars, takes time to travel to your eyes. Specifically, light travels at, well, the speed of light. So if a star is 10 light years away, what you are seeing is light that left the star 10 years ago. You’re seeing the past. And for other stars that are thousands of light years away, you’re seeing the ancient past. So when you’re looking up into the night sky, you’re seeing the universe as it was, not as it is. In fact, some of those stars may already be gone. Burnt out from used up fuel or exploded from instability.
So now let’s translate this down to our daily world. Your mind is constantly processing the past. The only thing in the present moment is your body at your location. Everything around you, radiating out from you as distance increases, is farther and farther in the past. So your mind and your senses are all designed to take in things that just happened. We are constantly recording history. So what our mind perceives as the thing that is happening now, in fact happened then.
It reminds me a surreal scene from Spaceballs by Mel Brooks, where they’re trying to find where the hero has taken the princess and instead of looking for him directly, the discover that the movie they are filming, Spaceballs, has already been released to video. So they put in the tape and fast forward to find where the hero is. As they fast forward they accidentally end up at the exact moment in the movie that they are filming.
“We’re at now now.” – General
“What happened to then?” – Dark Helmet
“We missed it.”- General
“When?” – Dark Helmet
“Just now.” – General
“When will now be then?” – Dark Helmet
“Soon.” – General
And likewise the moment we are in, is in fact the moment that just passed. Our bodies are designed to process the recent past.
And this is our constant cycle. This is what we were designed to do. This is how we process the universe.
So you could argue, that in order to be in the moment, we have to actually step outside of the moment. Because what we perceive to be the moment, is in fact history.