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"It" is the NOW.


In his book This Is It, Alan Watts assert that people who have an enlightened experience get an overwhelming sense that everything now is perfect-that all is right with the world and that they are connected to the world and everything in it and life and all its experiences is perfect, right now and always. They feel like they "got it" when the awareness settles in that everything is as it should be, they can see the layout of all things and how it all fits together, how to perceive everything and how everything is divine and how oneness and uniqueness all exists together and plays off of each other. They can feel the energy of whatever divine force they relate to and it lifts and grounds the spirit all at once.

When they connect to this experience, it creates a feeling of a kind of ecstasy.


Of course, in the human world, ecstasy is kind of fleeting. People who are on the spiritual path searching for enlightenment often chase the ecstasy-having experienced it once or twice or whatnot, they are constantly chasing it to feel it again and some people feel fear they won't, despair that they aren't, or experience depression even worse than anything before because once you have that feeling, you never want it to end. Because when you have it, you know that "IT" (as Watts like to call it) is the real thing. It's THE thing- "it" is God, "it" is divinity, "It" is perfect imperfection, "It" is the purpose.


The trouble is, people confuse the FEELING of ecstasy with being "It"-instead of realizing that what was happening at the time they were in the FEELING, they were fully present in the NOW, the PERFECT NOW. The knowing that the NOW that they were in was perfect exactly for what it was, the way it was- and NOW is always perfect in the way that it is exactly, and it is always NOW.

"It" is the always perfect NOW-not the feeling of ecstasy that you are chasing. Being fully present in the moment, knowing that everything that is, is exactly how it should be and that it is perfect, IS "IT". You felt ecstasy because you realized "It". You held onto that awareness and it gave you a sense of connectedness, joy, bliss.


But listen, those things don't stick around forever like that. A grieving occurs when the ecstasy ebbs because you have incorrectly associated the ecstasy for having achieved "It". Feelings always ebb and flow.


The FLOW is realizing that "It" is always="it" is always present in the perfect now-whether you are conscious of it (connected) or not. If you choose to connect to it (like plugging into a socket), you get the energy. The energetic ecstasy of the now you are living.


Enlightenment doesn't mean that all of life is living this high of emotional, spiritual and mental ecstasy that is untouched by all things human-it means being fully buzzed in the ecstasy when it descends upon you and living your human life knowing that with intentional connection, you could plug into it again while simultaneously maintaining the awareness that the moment is always NOW should you choose to really "see" it-despite whatever is going on around you.


Watts also relates remembrance to the past, and anticipation to the future. If you consciously choose NOT to engage in remembrance or anticipation, you are in the NOW. If this is good enough for you, enjoy your PRESENT-but this doesn't necessarily bring ecstasy-but it does bring presence which is a heck of a good place to be.


"It" comes when you realize that the present, without attachments to remembrance or anticipation (past and future) is bringing you peace and ecstasy comes when you take that peace to an intentional next level where your mind has opened up, conceptual awareness is flowing and you are vibing with all of existence-things that happen often when you are turning up the "juice" with meditation or prayer.


Peace is in presence. Ecstasy is when you are fully connected to the whole, conceptual flow. "It" is always in the NOW-what you choose to do with it is up to you.



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ALLISON MCCLINTICK, M.A

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