Question: I have been working at becoming more present and have made a lot of progress. Are the new levels of awareness I have achieved, permanent?
The gains you make in increasing your level of consciousness are not permanent. In fact, nothing is permanent because at the metaphysical level, everything is in a constant state of motion and always changing. Hence the Taoist saying, “You cannot step in the same river twice.”
When you live in the Present, you realize that the current moment is all that exists. And, you are either engaged in the Present and consciously awake, or you are in your imagination or having a negative emotion and experiencing a lower level of consciousness. It really is that simple.
Any gains you make in raising your level of consciousness will diminish if you don’t work to maintain them. It is no different than the gains you make should you begin to exercise, diet, learn a new language, or develop a new skill.
For example, suppose you are overweight and decide you want to lose 20 pounds. You start dieting and exercising in order to lose and burn more calories. Two months later, you have successfully lost 20 pounds. What happens next? If you don’t continue to make the effort to eat healthy and exercise, you will start to gain back the weight you have lost, negating all your hard work.
In the twenty plus years I have been in a spiritual practice, I have observed many individuals begin to awaken only to fall back asleep. This can occur for many reasons, however, often it is due to the fact that awakening is not a permanent state, and these individuals didn’t realize the amount of work needed in order to remain awake.
Don’t let that discourage you. Living in the Present becomes easier the more you do it. Just be careful and don’t let the ego convince you that you no longer need to make efforts once you become more consciously awake.