the past can only be remembered now

Reflecting on your day, hundreds, or thousands, of things happen. In fact each day of your life this is so. This moment, Now, is therefore only one of many, many moments.

Yet this moment, Now, is as it is. Indeed, it cannot be otherwise.

Moments of the past are merely as we recall them. Moments of the future are dreams, creations of thought. The division of moments, the division of our lives, into past, present and future is mind-made and ultimately illusory. The past can only be remembered, now. The future only imagined, now. So in essence all there is that is real, is Now.

When your attention moves into the Now, there is space, clarity, simplicity, peace. There is also an alertness.
Many people confuse Now, with what happens in the Now. But the Now is deeper than what happens in it. It is the very space in which it happens.

This moment, Now, is the one constant truth. No matter what happens, no matter what changes, one thing is certain … it is always Now.

Makes you wonder why we dwell on the past and worry for the future, doesn’t it? Wasting Now.

Don’t waste it, embrace it. Now.

just gathering

image

“I’m just gathering my thoughts”

A phrase we use on occasion. Gathering them, like they might be scattered, lying disconnected from each other? Like gathering the facts, assembling them into knowledge or insight.

Or gathering them like we might gather the harvest? Reap the product of our endeavours. Or gathering them like we might gather the troops? Amassing them so that they might have more power, more force.

Maybe we gather them to untangle them? Or maybe we use that phrase to describe abandoning our thoughts for a moment. Leaving them to themselves so that we might be still. Present in the moment. Not with our thoughts at all.

So much variety in our language. So much room for misinterpretation.

Art by Susan Lenz

 

is there a hole in my bucket list?

The bucket list idea has been around for a few years now, popularised by the film of that name from 2007.

Essentially the notion of a list of the life experiences to have, or life achievements to attain, before you die. Before you ‘kick the bucket’.  For example, ‘making this trip ticks one thing off my bucket list’.

You can even download suggested bucket lists – with places you should visit and experiences you should have whilst you still can.  Someone else’s idea of what you should do, to live a rich and fulfilled life.  Interesting concept.

Often these lists contain far flung places to visit or high octane adrenaline fueled experiences. Many cost a lot of money or take a lot of time. Visit Machu Pichu. Skydive. Swim with dolphins. Run a marathon.

What if we lived for the moment instead?  What if we identified the day to day things that bring pleasure, happiness, joy to our lives and just do more of them?

Drink tea with a biscuit to dunk. Sit in the garden. Have a bath. Walk in the woods. Bake brownies. Buy those orange shoes we covet. Listen to a thunderstorm. Hold hands. Laugh.

Too few people notice the little things they enjoy and then set out to do more of them.

It strikes me the bucket list idea has a hole in it.  If we’re focused on our death and on large scale, time costly, expensive big events, then life is leaking out of the hole every day.

 

going…

image

We spend a lot of time going.

Going places.

On a bus the other day, gazing backwards out of the rear of the vehicle as it trundled up Park Lane, I noticed this. All around me were cars, buses, bikes, vans, lorries. All the occupants, driver or passenger, going. Where wasn’t clear, but they were all going. As was I. Glancing to the side there were pedestrians and cyclists on the path. Also going. An inline skater eased between these goers, also going? Peering skywards, an aeroplane could be made out, high in the clouds, going. Going further perhaps, but nonetheless going.

We are not often still.

When we’re not physically going, we’re mentally or emotionally going.

Going from here to there. There to here. Going forward, going backwards. Sometimes going sideways. Going round and around. Sometimes going, in order to go. Going to familiar places and to new places. Going to be with, going to be away from.

Or maybe we’re coming?

What’s the difference?

Are these people around me going or coming? Coming or going?

However they might describe their orientation of travel, of movement, one thing is clear. They are not still. They are not simply being. They are not just in the present. They are going, or coming, from or to. Past or future. Was, will be. Then, when.

Not… now.

 

 

auto pilot takes me the wrong way

be here now

I’ve moved desk over the weekend.  We have had an office re-organisation and one result is I now have a different desk position in the office.

Today I have been confused. I have entered through the wrong door, headed for the wrong part of the office, gone the wrong way for the toilet. Several times. I have been, and seemingly continue to be, befuddled.

I haven’t lost my ability to think. I still know where doors and facilities are. I can still see. Yet I keep going wrong. Ending up in the wrong place. Going the wrong way.

It serves to demonstrate how much we do on auto pilot. Without thinking; without conscious thought at least. We just set off. Our heads filled with other non geographic, navigational stuff. Thinking instead about what we will do when we arrive, or about something we mustn’t forget.

I’m sure I’ll re-calibrate. Might take a day or two. Eventually though, a new autopilot route will have been programmed. I will be free again to wander without thought, arriving at my destination with no need to engage brain or use up some of my thinking bandwidth.

Life can be like that.  Something we take for granted changes and we are momentarily discombobulated. That which needed no thought, now requires some – for us to even function. These changes aren’t always physical; about our surroundings. They can be emotional too. A new emotion emerges. An unfamiliar one. Just like a new desk position, we need to adjust. Take note. Become familiar.

That way we stay flying.

Turn off autopilot and live with presence.
Live with attention.
Live with intention.

the joy exposed through presence

image

We’ve been for a walk this morning. Through woodland, around lakes, past meadows.

Nature is glorious.

A little red backed beetle scuttling across the path in front of us, speeding on his way at a pace seemingly unfit for stoney terrain and his diminutive proportion. A swan family with six brand new cygnets wafting gently across the water, staying close, staying safe. A robin resting on a gate post, observing our approach with head cocked, inquisitive and remarkably trusting. A heron majestically soaring above a copse, with just the odd beat of its wings, on the search for an impromptu meal. Cowslip reaching up through long grass and nettles to peek at the sun. A long since fallen tree, performing a new role in its deadened state, home to moss, fungus, a myriad of insect life. Water on a lake, gently gliding left to right, the merest ripple inspired by an unfelt breeze. A lively chiwawa, out for a stroll with its owner, racing ahead, standing proud and telling us what’s what, with a big dog syndrome beyond its stature. Little fluorescent blue dragon flies flitting in staccato jerks beside our path. An unseen fish, stealing a morsel from the watery surface, leaving an expanding story of ripples. A coot, nesting beneath a swooping bough, preening and tidying, busy and private.

Being present in our world is such a privilege.