“Both past and future are activities of the present.”

June 18, 2010

Quoting from and responding to Paul Wilson, The Quiet, Sydney: Pan Macmillan, 2006: 77-78.

“The one thing the entire universe experiences simultaneously and identically is this moment. Think about it. It’s pure awareness. It’s only when we pause and reflect (that is, after the event) that the differences emerge.”

My cynicism regarding the uniformity of the temporal experience throughout the universe and all beings aside, this is a massive thought-fuck (in the elusive half-second of abandoned consciousness that it takes for the brain to even try to comprehend something so conceptually enormous as the unity of time in the first place).

“…When you are completely focused on this moment, there is no movement of thought.”

This is true. And it is wonderful.

“…When you are focused on this moment, you become wholly aware of, and open to, what you are experiencing. It can’t be compared to anything you’ve experienced before (reflection), or evaluated according to what you might experience in the future (projection), or analysed according to whether this is the correct way for it to be unfolding. …

When you focus on the present, you eliminate anxiety, fears, doubts and worries (future), all time pressures (future), and all guilt and regret (past). When you are focused on this moment, everything happens from an innocent, unconditioned, unmediated viewpoint. The notion of ‘from this moment on…’ is inconceivable. The belief that ‘something needs to happen before [I will be happy, content, satisifed, enlightened, or whatever]’ no longer holds water. This moment is all there is. It would be a pity if you overlooked it because you were thinking about something else.”

‘Innocent’ and ‘unconditioned’ have too much psycholinguistic and definitional baggage to be used effectively, I think, in describing such a state of now-ness, but ‘unmediated’ perhaps serves the purpose well. It is difficult to transcend the filters we use to censor and envision the world. The few times I’ve felt during meditation something approaching this ‘newness’ (it does feel new, and clear, and clean, and so, so real and strange at once), the sense has vanished a micro-second before I even can form the conscious intention to grasp it.

***

Ah, but yes, this moment. This moment, now. Typing, reading, this word. But how to hold it? How to remove our awarenesses from the tick-tocking of second-by-second time by which each of us runs and rules our lives [/is runned; is ruled]?

A ‘moment’, for me, is a second, now passed. It is difficult for me to comprehend an understanding of a ‘moment’ as encompassing anything longer. And so I yoke myself to the past constantly: ‘that moment, there, it has gone. And that one, just then so close–it has flown, too.’ But this is to conceive of a ‘moment’ in the traditional, temporal sense: as a unit of contained time that distinctly begins and ends. And there lies my problem.

I need to develop a consciousness of ‘moment’ closer to that of Wilson’s: that of ‘moment’ as continuum. That is, of ‘moment’ as now, and now, and now now now now now, onwards, always. That is closer to a real, experiential, conscious sense of time – if such a thing is even possible. I need to stop thinking of things as passing, and to start thinking of them continuing, instead.

Perhaps I make no sense. Now is the now for vegemite and cheese on toast and a spot of abandoned lazing. Now, oh yes.

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