The value of the present.
I’m trying to explain this to myself. I have gained a lot of knowledge through study, therapy and experimenting, trying, about how to manage the cards I have been dealt, The who I am thing. The where I am thing. The what is this whole thing about…..thing.
I have always been fascinated with time. It may be that I had no control of where I was in time at any given moment, that moment being the present. I could not control my place in time. I was unable to position myself to enjoy time. It was always the enemy. Then I read Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ ‘One hundred years of solitude’. He described time without really describing it, by telling a story that was not about time. From then on, time mystified me.
Understanding what something is about is a necessary step for me to do anything purposeful about it. The following is where I have gotten so far.
The past is fixed in time. I can only change how I look at events. I can conjure up different ways of looking at these events. I am changing the angle of observation. I move the lights around the scene to brighten and shade objects. They do not move. Their countenance remains as it was then. They do not hear or see. These events will never change. Visiting and revisiting the past is a denial of the present, a denial of who and where I am and the possibilities of the now. For every minute spent in the past an infinite amount of time is lost in the present. It is immeasurable. Time is only measurable in the past.
Yes, but what about memories and reminiscence? This is my mind at play, hopefully. Too much play with me becomes serious. The lights in the scene begin to move. A missed opportunity appears, a what if, I should have, just imagine. Rumination begins, again and again, over and over, around and around. My mind wallows in sorrow and pain at the end of this ordeal, and it does so every time. The past does not like to be disturbed, to be pressed for change it cannot provide.
I return to the present and see what I have really missed, the opportunities — now truly lost. Time that could have been anything now nothing, not even a reminiscence or memory.
The future is not certain in any way. The future may continue with or without me. I don’t have a belief about that. I may continue somewhere else after this place in time. It is all no matter. It would be nice but no matter. I cannot control anything in the future — only plan and hope. The future will happen if I am fortunate, nothing more. The future doesn’t have any feeling for who I am and what we want to be. I should, I will, I want to, these constructs push my place in the future further away from when they can happen, when they are supposed to happen, to a place where they will not happen. I put a milestone where there is no road. This usually assures that my plans will not ever appear. Plans and resolutions are hopes only. They have no form.
So, I am left with the present. The only time I have any control over. I can only act now. I can only manifest a reality right now. My life is a manifestation of a reality that is so momentary it cannot even be measured. It is small and fleeting, by design and form. There is no place mark for the present. Life itself is lived only here and now. Everything we build, everything that was built and now stands, is built in a moment. One moment becomes many and they dribble off into the past leaving a bridge or city to see. How I use the present determines how I live my life and who I am. I can’t hold onto it. I don’t control the shape or form. I don’t control anything except what I think and do right now. I can wait to see, but at what cost? The future will pass through the present to the past without making a mark, and I will just watch.
Isn’t it a waste to spend this time on meditation, exercise, art, song, dance, writing, cooking, reading, observing? No, these are are the only ways I can alter time — by being in it, being part of it, making it meaningful. Imparting meaning is the only reason for existence, for mind. These things exist in a dimension of their own. I say, time well spent. These are ways of living in the present. It takes learning and effort to do them, to really bring myself into the present and have them there at the same time, active. These things are the true nature, my nature. Meaningful things.
I will try, I am going to, I should, would like to — all impediments to my present. I must remove them from my present. I need to either do or not do. But I need to do only. Hopes and wishes create guilt and personal dishonesty. I know the uncertainty of the future will certainly render them, most of them, nil and erased, yet still I create these impossible constructs for the future. Promises that will surely not be kept. This is why I am so surprised when they do. It is so unexpected. They were not really supposed to happen, after all. They were excuses for not doing — then.
Take action. Do something now or let it be just a thought, a thought with no purpose. A thought with no conclusion. There are so many things I can do right now. Why put purpose on them for the future I know will be different, has to be different. I don’t control it, yet I fill it with shoulds and woulds and it is tainted with falsehood when it does arrive, if it does at all. It will become an, ‘I’m now supposed to do’, obstacle of a thought. Don’t spoil the future with a false present.
It will take some time and effort to live in the present. It has taken years and work to just get to the point of realization, an admission, that I need to be here. This is where sanity is. Either I do it now, take action now, or I let the thought go without meaning for the future that may never come. I release it from my time line, if I have one. If I don’t, I will make one and release it from that. No false promises for an uncertain future.
Emotions have drawn me to the past and future. That is their action. I use opposite action to place myself in the present. The more I do this the closer I will get to some sort of reality.