Dan Gilbert is on the faculty at Harvard. His TED talk was just on NPR. One thing he said was that the present does not really exist, at all. His picture was of a tide and the shore. Gilbert says that the past and the future are real, but that edge between the water and sand, does not really exist as a third entity.
Well, and despite my animadversions about binary thought, Gilbert has got it almost exactly, reversed. My gloss on the source of his confusion is that, along with anglophone 20th century philosophy, he assumes that reality must be verbal. Although he didn't put it this way, this idea, that something is not real if it cannot be stated in words, is quite common, and of course, if true, would mean that self-observation is impossible. Because self-observation, while not completely eliminating language, is, a means of turning down the volume, and is that third entity.
Self-observation, or remembering the Work as Jan Cox sometimes referred to it, is, very nearly, impossible, and certainly, once one reaches a particular age, unnatural.
Dear ones, this particular activity, which explains the whole history of mysticism, is, possible.