We might want to know when it all began, you know, this whole cosmic existence and us little snowflakes within it.
Early in the Gita Krishna sets the record straight: Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be. 2.12
In his commentary on this verse, Srila Prabhupada reminds us - If individuality were not a fact, then Kṛṣṇa would not have stressed it so much – even for the future. Take a moment to digest that. The concept of each individual existing forever, past and future, is both exhilarating and alarming. What does one do with this information?
If we deeply contemplate this truth we’ll find that the effort to be in the ‘present moment’ is more than seeking relief from the torments of our mind. It becomes the experience of the ‘eternal now’. I’m alive and will always be alive. Being in the present moment means sensing that aliveness no matter where we are and what is going on.
It’s important to have enough experiences of being present in quiet times, and especially when we chant Krishna’s names (mantra meditation). Then, when our body and mind are going wild in times of stress, danger, and anxiousness, we’ll have enough reserves of ‘presence’ to be aware of our eternal individuality and manage through.
Presence is not about trying to enjoy. Presence is about consciousness and consciousness is life, the soul, who we are. Presence is about our consciousness (us) in relationship to others - be it our own body and mind, others living beings, the context of our life, or the source of our life, Krishna.
Krishna was assuring Arjuna with this verse, supporting him, almost saying ‘were are in this together and I’ve got your back.’ It’s also interesting that in that same commentary, Prabhupada says that Krishna is ‘alive in the hearts of every living entity’. Krishna is with us too. Lean in and walk with Him - now and always.