Here & Now
Note this is a somewhat abstract but important concept in terms of selves-help for systems, because it's the antidote to a common issue that can increase distress for plural & multiple systems.
What is the Here & Now?
The "Here & Now" is where our body is. Our body is neither past nor future, it simply exists.
Being in the Here & Now is what happens when all factors of our consciousness or awareness are connected to or alongside and paying attention to our body and its surroundings.
With plurality or multiplicity, various system members can be in the Here & Now to varying degrees. So some may be fully present, and others may be stuck in the There & Then (aka "traumatime").
For some residents, shame New, regrets, confusion, and distrust of both the inner and outer world might hold them in the past of Then & There. Members who tend to live in the future, busy making plans and pushing through current circumstances, are in a different Then & There. Projecting, anticipating, waiting, dreading, anxiety about things yet to happen are all part of being in a future-based Then & There.
How does this relate to Dissociation?
There's a whole section of Multiplicity: The Missing Manual dedicated to various aspects of dissociation New.
Dissociation is a medicalized term for being disconnected from various experiences, feelings, or processes. Literally "dis-association" or not associated.
There are many ways to be dissociated: you can dissociate body parts, your whole body, your feelings or emotions, your memories, etc.
So being in the Here & Now is akin to presence, which is roughly the opposite of being dissociated from where your body is.
Discussing dissociation from the perspective of the Here & Now vs. There & Then is demedicalizing it, and making it more subjective-experience based. Telling someone that they're dissociating can be less helpful than explaining that they may want to get more into the Here & Now.
Presence and the Here & Now
Presence is the state of being in the present. It's mindfulness. It's the opposite in many ways to being dissociated. It's the connection to and awareness of wherever your body is, and what's going on around it, at this present moment. Presence can be helpful for maintaining safety, completing external tasks, and engaging with self-growth, among other activities.
Presence is a useful concept both because there are often residents who are NOT in the "Here & Now" and because practices New, including but not limited to mindfulness meditation New and grounding techniques, can help foster a sense of connecting or returning to "being in the Here & Now". It is possible to be in the Here & Now to varying degrees. In different states different presence techniques will be most effective for those residents who want to engage more directly with the Here & Now. Additionally, different members and residents will find different activities that suit them best. It is often important to have a list of several possible activities so everyone can find what works best for them personally.
See also Gaining Time: Developing a Mindfulness Practice (015) New for a podcast episode on this topic.
Internal Here & Now
Following the philosophy of "As Inside, So Outside", the Internal Here & Now is the awareness and connection with the state of the plural group as a whole. Members and residents sometimes operate based on the past internal circumstances or governance patterns. When this occurs, they may be unintentionally violating the current agreements in place within the system and creating tension with headmates who are operating under the updated rules. Just as engaging with the external Here & Now allows for greater engagement with the external world, engaging with the Internal Here & Now allows for greater engagement with the internal world. (Note, in this case we mean the sum total of all internal entities & processes, not necessarily the internal landscape as a visual/sensory/interactive environment.)
Connecting to the internal world of the system can help residents to connect with memories, connect with their fellow residents, update themselves on the latest policies (and gossip), and understand the ways in which system governance, worldview, and circumstances have changed. Members may forget or be unaware of these changes for many different reasons, such as going deep, time loss or being ungrounded from their present life due to trauma, grief, anxiety, etc.
Practices for developing a sense of the Internal Here & Now are discussed in-depth on the page concerning Communication Techniques because it is a concept that is inextricably tied to co-consciousness New, co-awareness, being a system resident, and mutual communication.
Here & Now as Avoidance
While much of the focus of this page is about how to achieve a focus on the Here & Now when stuck in the past, or future, there is also difficulty to be had if the Here & Now is the only place you live. This is a Here & Now that is blind to the lessons of the past and/or does not take into consideration the future, possibly because any future seems impossible.
Retreat into this very moment with no lessons learned, and no plans or hopes to look forward to can also be problematic. Everything in life is about balance. Which is why we talk about being "Stuck" in the There & Then. The Here & Now is a good anchor to have while also paying attention to or informing current decisions by a neutral, dispassionate, positive/hopeful or realistic view of the past & future.
This page has contributions from The Sandhill Cranes, 2020.
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- Communication Techniques
- Expanding Time Awareness New
- Full Merging, Unification, Alter Integration — Terminology, Controversy, & Issues
- Grounding Techniques
- Internal Landscape FAQ New
- Mindfulness Meditation New
- Panic Reactions New
- Presence Techniques New
- Rescue Missions New
- Self-Help Indexes (in progress) New
- Stuck Residents aka stowaways, lost souls, non-coaware identities, emotional parts, etc. New
- The House New
- What is co-consciousness? New
- Why do we seem to "fall apart" when we discover our multiplicity? New
- Your Support System: Professionals, Supporters, Helpers & Other Assets New