I haven’t been posting much lately, but that hasn’t meant that I haven’t had much to say. If anything, I’ve had rather more on my mind than usual. Because of that, I’ve often found myself going down mental rabbit holes, so to speak, as I explore various concepts. It’s been a relaxing counterpoint to the rather hectic schedule I’ve had of late.
The other morning, I was out for a nice, long walk at ~5 a.m. when it occurred to me that I’m spending a lot more time living “in the moment” than I have in the past. I think this is a very, very good thing. For example, being fully present in the current moment means that you’re placing more awareness on what you’re doing in the here and now. This has a profound influence on the outcome of whatever task with which you’re engaged. For me, an important aspect of that influence is fewer mistakes.
Living in the moment is also, I feel, another important part of living intentionally. When we’re fully present, we’re not worrying about the stresses (real or imagined) of the past or the future. We’re only dealing with the reality of the Now. This has a beneficial side effect of enabling us to deal only with current stresses. If we’re immersed in the emotions of a fight we had with a loved one, those emotions affect how we react to stimuli in the present. Similarly, fretting about issues coming in the future, whether it be dealing with final exams or worrying about how to pay the bills, those stresses will spill over into how we relate to our current experience. That means that we’re not presenting a completely accurate reaction to those around us, and it also means that our reactions may affect those around us in ways we didn’t intend.
Truth is not found in the past, as we can only review the past through our emotional filters of experience and judgment. Likewise, truth is not found in the future, as our view of the future is replete with speculation and expectation, created through our filters of what we think reality should be. No, truth can only be seen in the naked experience of the moment, prior to our emotional processing and reactions. Truth stands apart from our thoughts and our processing. Truth just is.
There are times when I’ll find myself replaying an argument in my head and becoming emotionally embroiled in an experience that happened potentially years earlier. Sure, it’s normal and all a part of our growth and learning, but if we spend too much time in that space, we begin to steer our future more and more into that direction upon which we dwell. It’s wise, therefore, for us to be mindful of getting stuck, of embroiling ourselves in the shenpa of our past experiences and worrying about future ones.
My walk the other day was strikingly profound because the truth that I found in the moment was the exquisite pungency of Fragrant Olives in full bloom all over the area. The scent was, and is, entirely overwhelming and intoxicating, and for long minutes during the walk, I was fully engaged in deep breathing and experiencing the scent as much as I possibly could. It was such a simple and beautiful moment that made me so grateful for being in Japan for yet another autumn.
Truth and beauty can be found in any experience and any moment in time. Photographers often spend much of their lives trying to capture and relay that truth to those who view their prints. As you learn to focus more attention on the experience of the Now and spend less time thinking about the past and future, you’ll find yourself recognizing more and more of the truth that is all around you.
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