Uwais was asked, “How do you feel?”
Uwais is a Sufi master.
He said, “Like one who has arisen in the morning and does not know whether he will be dead in the evening.”
The other man said, “But this is the situation of all men.”
Uwais said, “Yes, but how many of them feel it?”
Now many things have to be understood. First, when Uwais said, “Like one who has arisen in the morning and does not know whether he will be dead in the evening,” he is saying many things. It is a very pregnant statement. You will have to go deep into it.
First he is saying that a Sufi lives moment by moment; he does not bother about what is going to happen the next moment. He has no plan for the next moment. A Sufi has no future. This moment is all. He lives in it, he lives totally in it, because there is nowhere else to go.
You cannot live totally in the moment if you have a future – a part of your being will be flowing towards the future, naturally. If you have a past you cannot live in the present, part of your mind will be flowing towards the past. You will become fragmented. The major part of your being will remain hanging somewhere in the past and the remaining greater part will have already moved somewhere in the future. Nothing will be left for the present. And the present is so small, so atomic, that you can miss it very easily. People are missing it. People have pasts and people have futures, people don’t have any present.
The Sufi lives in the present. To live in the present, the basic need is to withdraw yourself from the past, to withdraw yourself from the future. Then there comes a concentration of energies, then this small moment becomes luminous, you pour your total energy into it – then there is joy and benediction. If you are miserable, it is only because you live in the past and in the future. A miserable man has past and future, a man who lives in bliss has only the moment, this moment. He lives in the now.
Ashley Montagu has coined a new word – it will be very, very helpful to understand. He says that this newness, this constantly being new in the moment, this constantly dropping out of the past and not jumping into the future is a great art. He calls that art, neoteny. "Neo" means new, "teny" means stretched out, extended.