Greenleaf writes: To be aware, one makes the effort to see himself always in the center of a time span that extends back into the past and forward into the future. Thus, ‘now’ is not seen as only the present instant of clock time. ‘Now’ is the center of a sort of moving average that includes some history behind us, and some foresight ahead. It is a strong position to be in, in a tense troubled world. And one can choose to be there; one can choose to see what is called ‘now’ as a span from past to present to future, and to support this choice with interest and effort.

For a generation or so a number of folks have written about ‘Awareness’ and ‘Now’. Two books that I continue to return to include ‘Awareness’ by Anthony de Mello and ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle.

Greenleaf reminds us that in order ‘to be aware’ one has to ‘make the effort.’ For me, this means that I must choose to be awake, to be intentional and to be purpose-full and then I must put in the effort to actually ‘wake up,’ to become intentional and to become purpose-full. As we well know, we can ‘choose’ and not follow through with the ‘effort’ required to move us from the potential to the actual. In his other writings Greenleaf reminds us that ‘awareness does not bring comfort or solace.’ When one is awake and aware one is often disturbed by what one ‘sees’ – it is no wonder then that our culture continues to offer us a legion of powerful ways that help us ‘go to sleep’ and escape the disturbance that comes with being awake and aware.

On the other hand, the variety of social media available to us also ensures that if we choose we can instantly become aware of what is happening ‘now’ in almost any part of our world. As a close friend of my asked me many years ago, ‘How much awareness can one handle?’ As a result of my having access to both ‘the now’ and ‘the multiple sleep inducers’ I experience an internal dis-ease: I want to know, ‘now,’ and I want to escape the disturbance of the ‘now’ by engaging in sleep-inducing distractions. Often ‘being awake and aware and in the now’ causes me great disturbance – and a sense of powerlessness – and choosing ‘distraction’ enables me to obtain ‘relief.’ What it does not do is help me prepare.

Greenleaf advises us to be awake and aware and to be intentional and purpose-full when it comes to preparing for… (That is, we must prepare without knowing what we are preparing for – talk about a challenge.) So, rather than escaping into the sleep of distraction it might serve me well to spend my time and energy in preparing for. . . That is, choosing ‘now’ to be awake and aware and intentional and purpose-full while making the effort to prepare for. . .will help keep me become focused in the ‘now’ and will help me avoid the seduction of the ‘sleep-inducers’ and will enable me to experience being ‘power-full’ rather than ‘power-less’ (power = one’s ability to act rooted in reflection).

Greenleaf reminds us – his reminder brings comfort and discomfort at the same time: We have choice and we choose. It is our obligation to identify the ‘choices’ available to us and it is then our obligation to choose. Our challenge is to do both of these while being awake and aware and intentional and purpose-full.

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