Often spoken about by the masters, living in the now, or being present is a state of being. It isn't something to be achieved. To achieve something means it will occur sometime in the future. Though one's enlightenment may take place in the future, it happens in the present moment. It takes a paradoxical outlook to understand this.
What is enlightenment? It is a state of being in which acceptance of ones current surroundings, mental processes, and internal and external stimulus is perceived without the lens of thought. Enlightenment is a peaceful state of being. With no need to control or manipulate the environment in which one may find them self.
Having no internal desires, struggles or negative lens of perception is in itself a great way to experience peace. How can this happen? Usually it is through suffering, mental strife and lack of clarity that we blossom into our enlightenment. Knowing that one exists, right now and only in the moment eliminates much of the mystery of life. What I mean is that by having one's own personal experience, no longer looking outside oneself the mystery had always been oneself. More accurately the mystery had been caused by the lens of the mind.
Think of the mind as a blanket, And consciousness as a young child. Of course the blanket offers the child a sense of security. The mind does the same thing to our consciousness, it offers it a secure place where everything will be comfortable. However the blanket eventually gets old and it gets holes in it. Now our sense of security and comfort isn't quite the same as it used to be. This is when the spiritual search begins. To seek outside of oneself can be beneficial in these beginning stages. Eventually the blanket, or mind rather is no longer there to comfort us. By losing our egoic mind we realize that we never needed the mind in the first place. We understand through spirituality and in enlightenment that our mind was actually the cause of most of our problems.
Through understanding ourselves and our experience alone, we can understand the deeper meanings of sayings, teachings and spiritual reality.
Atley A. White