Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Presence in The Present

Looking for one's keys, wallet, or glasses is one thing. Wondering where the mislaid friends are is another. Did I neglect to contact you? Did I not send the card, the note, the letter I'm sure that I wrote (at least in my head)? Being present in the present requires more than presence, it requires a certain prescience of being too; an awareness of actions impacting the future. Just telling myself that I'm putting my glasses down 'here' allows me to locate them more-easily later, indeed. But for that ease of relocation I must needs be very conscious of the 'now'. Or else.

Or else so much energy is wasted. Time smudges into circular motions, going over and over the past. The steps one took. The pictures in the head. The emotions felt. The meanings meant but lost in translation. We pick up and put down and forget, or some things haunt at us. And we wish to be able to revisit, to reconnect, to re-find! But yes, most things slide by in our continuum; we can but hope for memory’s clarity. After all, the New Year makes for each one of us being older.

My Mum Joan did not know who I am any longer. She really is my stepmother. I spent a seaside summer holiday week with her and my father when I was fourteen. And for very many years in my father's biannual letter, Joan would tag on some news in his aero-grams. But when I did see her again, nearly five years ago, she was in her 80s, and I a grey old man. We are not actually connected, other than by circumstance. So too for the very many people and things that pass through our being-alive along the way? We can hardly be blamed for not remembering all the names in the pathways of our journeys. But not to remember where one puts one's glasses?

Vision is limited by our immediate. We make plans and we do not pursue them because of the distractions en route. We have New Year's intentions and then the reality of old habits, or of chance circumstances, or worse, of accident happens. If, as professed by some, there are no coincidences, then why is it that I may spend wasted time searching for my glasses? Or is the lessons really circulating and circulating until I come to the concrete realization of my presence in the present? (Often, I imagine I am waylaid that I might not meet with some other misfortune.)

We take ourselves wherever we go. And we are not perfect. Even the reaches of that last word is very much arguable. How possibly to be ‘perfect’?

I’ve a long-time friend whose stance is that we cannot control the future; we will get dementia if it’s in the genes. He would argue this contention in the decades before brain-plasticity was a fertile topic, and nowadays, with Epigenetics as a ‘new discovery’ (its probabilities for self-change exciting the populace as if there never was such a thing) many still retain a deep-seated disturbance that dementia or Alzheimer’s might be inherited. At present I’m reading Julian Jane’s book: The History of Consciousness in The Bicameral Mind. Impressive title! Impressive book. It would appear that evolution of the mind is indeed a historical fact. We once thought a certain a way, collectively, if not individually. And slowly our consciousness grew such that we individually formed a new collective. So too for now. We are at least a national if not a global consciousness, and our group-think is evidently responsible for our socio-political contentions.

The bell curve is much like an inchworm, progressing bit by bit. The outliers push at the edges of established belief, thought, and ideals. And very, very, very slowly we progress. Patience is needed, and compassion. We easily forget the lessons given by history. We easily forget the examples given by our parents. We easily forget the wording and the philosophy and the sentiments that stir our hearts. They are things that we but momentarily give focus to, and we continue with our busy lives. Even the keys to our doors go missing, let alone our glasses.

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