The present contains the fullness of the world and the fullness of spirit at the same time. But the present is elusive. We all lead our lives by remembering the past and anticipating the future. Therefore, the real and unreal are inexorably blended. They are so entangled, in fact, that the present must be retrieved piecemeal; you cannot leap into it all at once.
The only way to retrieve the present is to clear out the past, which means whatever is routine, dull, knowing, calculated, anxious, and traumatic. You cannot manufacture innocence, for example, but by removing its opposite, knowingness, you leave space so that innocence can express itself once more.
Right now, the present moment is full for you, but in an unreal way. It is full of memories, expectations, projected beliefs, and past conditioning. The present moment could be full in a different, far more real way. You must challenge yourself to move from the unreal to the real.
When confronted with someone you think you know very well, whose behavior is predictable, don’t react at first. Leave a place for something new in your perception of this person. Ask a new kind of question, agree where you would normally disagree, without judgment, and see what happens. The same process can be applied to every other quality of the present moment. Distance yourself from past expectations, and in that way something unexpected can emerge.
Adapted from The Third Jesus: The Christ We Cannot Ignore by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 1995).