Here! This! Now!

Ben Fathi
4 min readFeb 16, 2024

“It’s really time for you to see through the absurdity of your own predicament.” — Ram Dass. Be Love Now; The Path of the Heart. For spoken words set to music, see: Sit around the fire.

“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.” — William Blake. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.

“One of history’s few iron laws is that luxuries tend to become necessities and to spawn new obligations. Once people get used to a certain luxury, they take it for granted. Then they begin to count on it. Finally they reach a point where they can’t live without it. Over the past few decades, we have invented countless time saving machines that are supposed to make life more relaxed — washing machines, vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, telephones, mobile phones, computers, email. We thought we were saving time; instead we revved up the treadmill of life to ten times its former speed and made our days more anxious and agitated.” — Yuval Noah Harari. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.

The past lives nowhere but in the minds of men. The future is nothing but a figment of our collective imaginations. Our global consciousness includes not only these two realms but also, crucially, the present: Here! This! Now!

This moment in time, this unique instant in the history of the universe, will only ever happen once. Right now, playing in high definition, in technicolor, with surround sound stereo, and for free, everywhere, at all once, all around us. Never has there ever been a moment like this before nor will there ever be a moment like this again.

And yet… and yet… we’re all missing it, lost as we are in our thoughts, locked into the past, adrift in the future. Looking down at our phones, glancing out the window, staring at a book, watching a movie… anything, Oh God, please, anything but to have to actually live through this moment.

Hear this now! Unplug your TV, give away your son’s XBox, take that iPad out of your daughter’s hands, leave your phone at home, “accidentally” lose your headphones, and most importantly, get out of your head!

Now, take a deep breath. Take another one. And a third. There’s time for everything. Slow the fuck down!

Focus! Clear the cobwebs from your mind. Use your senses to actually experience the world around you. I know… it feels strange, doesn’t it. That’s because we’re so distracted all the time we’ve forgotten how to actually live!

Use your legs to dance around the room. Use your hands to touch the texture of your pants. Use your tongue to taste some ice cream but do it like you mean it… actually pay attention to the ice cream instead of distractedly wolfing it down. Try just living for a moment. This moment! This one right here! Now this one. And this one.

Here! This! Now!

And then another moment. And then another. And another…

It’s time you realize that you are one of the root causes of your anxiety and the only one you have any control over. Get out of your head, stop ruminating about the past and worrying about the future, and experience life as it really is for a change.

The movie will still be there tomorrow. The book will still be sitting right where you left it. Your Facebook feedback won’t disappear, I promise. That snarky comment on Twitter can wait. The thrill of Grand Theft Auto IV doesn’t change if you play it tomorrow instead of today.

But, then again, maybe you’ll decide none of these are worth your precious time after all. Maybe you’ll decide you have better things to do with your time. Maybe you’ll open the door and actually step outside… you know, like in nature. Maybe you’ll spend it watching the sun rise out of the east or playing with your kids. Maybe you’ll call an old friend and say hello again.

Maybe you’ll wake from this dream and realize, with a start, that there’s more to life than our recently acquired digital addictions, our petty differences, and our trumped up “historical” animosities. With enough practice, you may even let go, for just a Goddamn minute, and learn to just “Be here now!”, as Ram Dass used to say.

Welcome to the real world. Everything else is just in your head.

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Ben Fathi

Former {CTO at VMware, VP at Microsoft, SVP at Cisco, Head of Eng & Cloud Ops at Cloudflare}. Recovering distance runner, avid cyclist, newly minted grandpa.