Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Present Moment

The present moment:

1.) the moment after the past, and before the future. An infinitessimal instant of time. Scientists are not sure that it exists. They are sure that our intuitions about it are wrong.

2.) All conscious experience, current, remembered and anticipated, from the perspective of "now." This includes the immediate experiences of sights, sounds, flavors, and physical feelings, as well as the presentation to consciousness of such memories, plans, fears, confusions, emotions and fantasies as arise. The content and beliefs that those memories, plans, etc. themselves represent, are not part of "now," so in the most basic, physical sense of existence, they don't exist. But the experiencing of them is part of "now". I think this is what the sages mean when they say, 'past and future do not exist.' It can sound like a tautology, but it is really referring to the fact that "now" is unburdened by so very much of what we think 'exists.'

"The content and beliefs that those memories, plans, etc. themselves represent" is a phrase that requires some expanding-upon. I might have a fear, the content of which is, "My spouse may be dead." The fear itself is an experience that happens to me; it exists at some period in time. The content of my thought is representational. It is a story, or a presumption. It may or may not correspond to reality in varying ways and degrees. But we can differentiate it from direct experience. We can realize that representational thought is a servant, not a master. Direct experience is that which needs to be welcomed for what it is, not for how it is represented in our minds. We can reject ideas, but not experience. The good news is that we never have to reject experience. That is also the hard news, still, for me.

I have been given the feedback that I need to be less presumptuous about my perceptions being the gospel truth. I know they are not. Sorry if they still sound that way.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a very AA sentiment. The idea that "now" is all there is is very powerful. I like the idea of "representational thought" and how it is servant, not master. Direct experience is primary -- good stuff! Just like a tool is something we use to get something done and then set aside when we no longer need it and we do not let our tools control us.