shell

Introduction

Where We Are Now

Humanity is presently immersed in an extraordinary technological revolution. Connected instantaneously with friends and colleagues around the globe, we strive to cooperate as we watch the boundaries of our diverse native cultures rapidly fade away. Together, we are beginning to unfold the new possibilities and challenges provided by the integrated global culture forming before our collective eyes.

Through distributed scientific inquiry, we have called into question our deepest beliefs to re-establish our idea of the true nature of reality. We no longer receive guidance from ancestral traditions and community elders, relying instead on information compiled by highly specialized experts in every field of science and technology. Our species’ technological evolution provides us with an expanded understanding of the human body’s internal functions as well as closer glimpses of the surroundings outside our physical frame. From the smallest forms of existence (quarks, photons, atoms, and biological cells) to the largest mysteries of our convoluted universe (time and space, galaxies, energetic fields, and other unseen phenomena), we continually seek deeper knowledge for the sake of progress and to satisfy our natural curiosity. Using the data and innovation characteristic of this rapidly developing scientific era, we have not only changed the face of the Earth but also our understanding of ourselves: present, future, and perhaps past, too.

By contrast, our ancestors’ deep wisdom which guided them to create monumental wonders of construction and inscription that still captivate us today arose primarily from their ancient cultural knowledge and profound philosophical self-understanding. Many of these traditions teach that the human form contains three major components: “body,” “mind,” and “spirit” (which different viewpoints refer to as soul, higher self, essence, life force, pure consciousness, Chi, and Prana). Some advise limiting our physical needs and desires for the sake of the non-physical. Others teach techniques to develop our mental and physical body in preparation for the experience of higher states of being. Teachings from around the world and throughout time contain many similarities, but the specific methods and recommendations employed by each tradition vary widely. These inconsistencies, combined with the conflicting messages presented in today’s information-dense world, can make it difficult for the individual to define a personal path of growth.

The teachings available to us alive today will often separate body, mind, or spirit—seeking the maximum potential in only one plane of existence. Religions look to messages of the past, providing varying explanations of our history and presenting a story of personal responsibility for our spiritual growth. Science looks to the future, hoping to reveal the mysteries of our world and put them to work for our physical benefit. Societal pressures and keen marketing imagery vie to impregnate our subconscious mind with uninvited desires. Meanwhile, each of us engages daily in an all-encompassing life experience that never ceases to challenge every dimension of our being. While scientific objectivism may persuade many to dismiss mental, emotional, or “spiritual” (multidimensional) discipline and clarity as unverifiable, subjective—and, hence, irrelevant—traits, even cursory introspection reveals the health of these dimensions of our existence to be both fundamental and essential to the state of our well-being and the quality of our decision-making.

Despite their perceived differences, the fields of science, philosophy, and even spirituality have always shared a common desire to comprehend the true nature of this reality with which we interact every day. Science has demonstrated that, with increased comprehension of our physical reality, we can change the way we experience this world. Similarly, philosophical comprehension and understanding expands the domain of possibilities for the body, mind, and spirit. As the true nature of reality is intertwined with the wisdom of philosophy and the intelligence of science, our complete understanding cannot ignore the philosophical and spiritual wisdom of the past, nor the scientific intelligence of the future. Thus, the separation of philosophy and science is a superstition. It is the harmony of both viewpoints that is essential for mankind’s development. Although it appears that our possibilities are limited by the conditions of time and space, our rightful focus on the present moment will expose our true potential. As Baba Ram Dass would say,

“Be here now.”1

We have only one way to participate in the present moment: re-present all three dimensions of the whole human being as one. These three dimensions create one’s true self without any false perception of separation. Transpersonal psychologist Dr. James Strohl writes,

Human beings are considered multidimensional entities because, while living our lives on Earth, we simultaneously maintain physical and nonphysical presences or aspects of ourselves in many other realities. All of these presences, including our current human one, are conscious components or aspects of a larger, super-conscious multidimensional self which is sometimes called inner being or soul. Even though these aspects of our multidimensional inner being are manifesting innumerous different physical and nonphysical worlds, they can communicate and influence each other while also retaining a deep and abiding connection to inner being.2

As we begin to comprehend the relation between spirit, mind, and body, we inevitably feel a need to seek a path of practice for growth and development in all three aspects. To participate in the present moment with all dimensions of your self, you must find a path or make your own. The Book of Present is designed to support you, regardless of your belief system, through a deeper exploration of the true nature of your own consciousness, mind, and body, so you may reveal your own pragmatic path of experience and understanding to guide and support you through your life journey.

...