Virtually all belief systems require some measure of faith in their tenets.
Many belief systems (which include religions, philosophy, spiritualism, atheism, scientism, etc.) refer in some way to the afterlife, either to what awaits us or to what does not. The more traditional systems focus either on the past, or on the future, the afterlife (or afterlives), and their primary manifestations in the Now are to make distinctions and separations between them and other systems, or to justify their own.
One primary tenet of Nowism is that one requires no faith to experience the Now. It is often more helpful and practical to focus on the present moment than to direct energy towards faith in other imaginary or unlivable moments (unlivable since they are not in the present Now, which is the only place we can possibly live).
Another primary tenet is that no one can possibly know the future, to include the afterlife (or afterlives). We all share this (blessed) ignorance of the future, and no person can conclusively and empirically ‘prove’ the existence of an afterlife, much less experience it while in the mortal sphere. There are no butterflies in the land of caterpillars—no one alive can speak with authority on the afterlife. We are completely in the present life, moment by moment of pure Now.
To waste one’s energies focused on the unchangeable past or on the unknowable future is to waste the gift of Life, of the present moment, of the Now in which we all continuously live. To base one’s personal or spiritual development on things that cannot possibly be known is not the most solid base for this important journey on the path of self-development and enlightenment.
As no person or institution can honestly claim to know (by experience, which is the only way we can truly know things) what happens in the afterlife, all belief systems that base their tenets and philosophies are equally deserving of respect…and skepticism, since none can prove themselves right or the other wrong. The mere attempt to do so indicates a turning from the Now and from the harmony and integration they claim to have the sole knowledge of.
If there is a God or Goddess, the only place they can be manifest to us is right here and now, in the present moment.
If there is to be a hand of God in the world, it must be us, and now. This is no problem to God/Goddess, as all times are here and now to the Divine, and thus God/Goddess is indeed present in every moment, and in all times, eternally, as the fundamentalists claim. Yet it is not that this God/Goddess lives in a remote future or a distant past, or far away in an ephemeral place called heaven (or enlightenment or godhead or whatever). God/Goddess (if He/She/It lives) must live within each and every one of us, within each cell of our being, within each boson and fermion in the multiverse, and in the space between, in the depths of the quantum foam…and Now, this very moment and every moment.
Nowism is beyond creed or religion. It acknowledges the one thing that brings us together, the one thing we all share; the Now—perfect being in this present moment, and the breath we all share as it allows us to continue to share in the eternal Now. We can choose whom to associate with, what to believe, and how to perceive and react to the Now, but we cannot escape it. We can divide ourselves into endless imaginary distinctions in our minds, and wall ourselves off from others, but we cannot avoid breathing together. We can split ourselves into countries and clubs, groups, and gatherings, but we cannot refrain from sharing the planet’s air in the present moment, even if we wanted to.
That is a beautiful thing, ingrained and unavoidable intimacy and togetherness. A beautiful thing indeed, one we can appreciate and glory in—Now!
Mark-Francis Mullen is a Nowist monk, the only one in the world who claims this distinction. He is lucky enough to live in Boulder, Colorado amongst a vibrant yoga community. He is called to be a guide to those who think they are ‘too something’ for yoga (too old, too sick, too fat, etc.). He loves to live, laugh, practice/teach yoga, and write. He prays that all beings experience peace and serenity.
Prepared by Soumyajeet Chattaraj/Edited by Tanya L. Markul
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