“Be Here Now” comes to us from the modern Mindfulness movement, but the concept is much older than that. The origin of this ideal lies in the 1971 work of Ram Dass, an American yogi and spiritual teacher whose work focused heavily on spirituality, yoga, and meditation. In his book, Be Here Now, Dass describes his own journey from a PhD psychologist working out of Harvard to his spiritual awakening in India facilitated by Guru, Neem Karoli Baba.
While very few of us will embark upon such a journey, his story offers remarkable direction for how we can embrace our own lives with a “living faith in what is possible.” The Be Here Now concept readily lent itself to those who wanted to move beyond the limitations placed on them by others, and its adherents include Steve Jobs, Wayne Dyer, and George Harrison.
Since then, his meditation practices, associated with the foundational concepts of being present with the Now, fueled a movement we all know as “mindfulness.” Like Be Here Now, Mindfulness practices teach us to focus on the present moment, including our own feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, in an open awareness of what is going on around us. Mindfulness meditations guide the individual to focus inward, but the practice is not meant to stop there! The goal is to be able to focus our awareness onto a situation, including not only our own thoughts, feelings, and physical reactions, but also those of the other person.
When we Be Here Now with one another, we give them our undivided attention and actively listen to what they are saying. We focus on the individual, see their facial expressions, read their body posture, and meet them in their fear and concern with compassionate attention. We do this, because we also want to be heard and understood in this way when we others are attending to us. In order to foster this level of understanding, we must strive to speak clearly, such that we are saying what we mean and meaning what we say. We cannot speak in ways that expect others to read between the lines to grasp our true meaning.
Further, with the amount of technology and social media we use, the concept of speaking plainly and making clear points must be applied to our writing, as well. This careful attention to communication, both verbal and nonverbal, will allow us to truly understand the thoughts and feelings of those around us, whether they be coworkers or members, and lay the foundation of true compassion.
Be Here Now calls each of us to be fully present with the person in front of us, to set aside distractions, and to actively listen and attend to their needs. Most of all, Be Here Now calls us to invest in what and who is in front of us and to give the best we have to offer to every situation.
Ram Dass. (1971). Be Here Now. San Cristobal, New Mexico: Lama Foundation.
“Be here now” is a core concept that challenges every one of us to give our undivided attention to our colleagues, friends, and family; to actively listen to understand,;and to speak and write clearly in a professional and direct way.