New Civilization News: Glimpses    
 Glimpses22 comments
picture 27 Apr 2004 @ 05:48, by Flemming Funch

For many years it has been my intention and my ideal to live in the present. Be here, pay attention, take time to smell the roses. Most that I've learned about myself, about others, about philosophy and metaphysics, about being organized, about solving problems, about dealing with conflict, being effective, and about health, happiness, and even enlightenment - it all adds up a very simple truth, the value of BEING right here right now. As opposed to getting lost in mental abstractions and worries about the past and the future; things one should do or that one must avoid; whether one is right or wrong; what other people think, etc.

Why is it so hard, then? I've experienced plenty of proof. The peak moments of my own life were when I was really there. Big complicated problems evaporated the moment one actually showed up to face them. In working with a great many counseling clients, the outcome that made a difference was always that the person actually showed up in the present, rather than going in circles about the past and the future and what they mean. The most inspiring and alive people I've met have invariably been those who basically just were present. The magic goes deeper than words can easily convey.

But currently, for me, it happens much too much in glimpses, rather than as an ongoing thing. For a down-to-earth example, my desk is usually a mess, as is the pile of stuff lying next to my bed. Most of the time I'm just frustrated that I might not be able to find the note I was looking for, and I just step around the pile, or deposit something else on top of it. But once in a while, like every six months or so, I suddenly look at the pile with some degree of shock. "How can anybody work with their papers like that?!?" And I dig into the pile and sort it out. Which isn't really a big deal once I get around to it. For that matter, five minutes of sorting it once in a while would probably take care of it. But when I look at it after six months I get horrified to find ridiculous items at the bottom of the pile, taking most of the space. You know, like, I've wondered for months why the papers always tip over, and when I finally look, there's a pair of headphones and an alarm clock lying at the bottom. Which is easy to fix, they don't even belong there. No problem once you actually look.

Maybe your desk is spotless and you don't have that problem. But I bet most of you, like me, do the same thing in many other less obvious parts of your life. Like, I have a great time just hanging out with my family, and I notice I hadn't done that for a while. I look in the mirror, and actually notice myself, and realize I hadn't done that for months. Or I think about a person I'm fond of and realize that I haven't been in touch with them for years. I go lie under a tree and look at the clouds, and remember I hadn't done that for several years.

Now, if it is years between that I actually show up in the moment, to be present with a certain chunk of life - life can zip by pretty quickly. I am, what ... I have to calculate .. 44 years old, and I'm not quite sure what I did the last 25 years. Oh, a lot by various counts, I'm sure. But I didn't entirely pay attention. It is a bit of a waste if it is weeks or months between where I notice where I actually am. But then, when I notice, despite that the circumstances are different, it is always the same Me who's there. That's at least some comfort. No matter how much I forget, *Now* is always here to get back to.

I suppose that noticing it and worrying about it is some way of dealing with it. But better would be if I actually stayed for once. There's obviously no other real place to be. It is always now, and it always will be. Everything else, however pressing it might seem at times, is flimsy and secondary in comparison to reality. Just mental mirages, an incestrual misuse of my powers of abstraction.

Some people never leave the mental world at all, and will to their last breath hold on to the belief that their self-referential ideas are what is real, and the magic of the present Now is just some fuzzy primitive myth. I don't plan on doing that. I know I exist. I will open my senses more to that. Glimpses are not enough. Life is an amazing thing - no reason to waste most of it by not paying attention.


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22 comments

27 Apr 2004 @ 06:31 by jstarrs : Nice essay, Ming...
I guess that, without being aware, mindful of our thoughts and acts, there's no way to know where we are...  


27 Apr 2004 @ 11:39 by Paul Hughes @134.197.93.78 : Yes
Thanks Ming for the reminder. :)

Being in the present moment is exactly what I teach all my clients, and it is precisely the key in which I always find the most joy. When I first read Be Here Now nearly 20 years ago, it was intuitively so obvious, but I never figured out HOW to do it. Now I realize, that regardless of what my mind is doing, it is my body that is always in the present moment, whether I want it to be or not! So my way of getting into the present moment is to deeply feel my body, the breathing, the tactile senses, the connection to the earth, the gravity, and so on. And when people ask me well, with all the sensations going on, which one do I pay attention to? I always say, just pay attention to the strongest feeling, because that is obviously what your body is paying attention to! Listen to your body, and allow it to guide you on your journey to healing and liberation.  



27 Apr 2004 @ 20:24 by maxtobin : Hee Hee
You and Daughter are looking Charming there Ming (but hardly now!!) I am sure that looks like a front garden we visited in California some time ago!!!
It is the mind as reflecting tool and vehicle to trap consciousness that tempts us out of the sacred now and into past or future drama. If we can hold the 'knowing' of heart and remember that mind is a reflecting tool to analyse experience there should be no problem to stay in the NOW. But is is a subtle trap for us civilized folk is it not! Good to dress the part and just Play as children in the sacred now. Thanks for keeping that out there for the mind(s) to consider.  



28 Apr 2004 @ 01:19 by Ge Zi @24.126.196.158 : The Power of .... the Middle Ages?
This is so cute: you are writing about the power of NOW and show us a picture of Nadia and yourself a few hundred years out of place!
I like Paul's thought about the body always being in the Now. Reminded me of an incident in my very early stages of my spiritual way (this lifetime). A scientology course where we ran a process called book and bottle. Your sparrings partner chases you between these two objects across half a room and makes you pick up the object and describe it - as it is now, right this moment. Described 'end phaenomena' are out of body experiences and other neat stuff. I was after that! But there also was one indication that the process was complete that was not so fancy: 'the person can just do it'.
I was probably disappointed to a degree that I did not get these out of body experiences but from todays point of view I know that I actually got the best of all those end-phaenomena - I just did it - without consideration and other noise in my head, and I'm sure that this is the secret (yeah, secret) behind being in the NOW - the absense of this ego-chatter in the head with always a different agenda. Amen!  



28 Apr 2004 @ 06:41 by ming : Then and Now
Heheh, yeah, maybe I'm cheating by showing a dress-up picture in renaissance costumes, taken several years ago, in my past life in another country. There's value, of course, in remembering times when we felt alive. But it is also part of the trap. That when we remember and reflect on things, we're probably to really there with what is going on right now.

I did that book & bottle process too that Gunter describes. For hours you're asked to do something very ordinary, but to treat it as if it is completely new in each moment in time. Like you've never seen this bottle before. And it actually works. Eventually you just have to be there, and drop all the mental overlay about it. And, yes, out-of-body experiences are likely. Both to avoid the tedium of repetitive action, and as a way of actually being able to be there.

Another place I learned some tricks for being present was in improv acting class. To do improv well, one needs to be able to be totally in the moment, and able to perceive, or imagine, new material endlessly based on a limited number of (often imaginary) props. We're so used to thinking we know all about common objects, because we just perceive them through a mental picture. "This is a pen" and I think I've said all there is to say. But if I really relax and look at it, there's all sorts of stuff I can perceive about it, and an endless number of things I can do with it.  



28 Apr 2004 @ 09:40 by celestial @131.191.34.60 : Smiling in the present
Ming, your beaming smile is just wonderful. The rags from another era seem to fit you well. That sword you're wearing, is that excalibur?
I always enjoy your posts and this one brought to mind a brief moment in my history.
I attended church one Sunday morning some twenty years ago and one of the deacons asked me where I lived. Being recently divorced at that point in time and moving my bed on frequent occasions, I replied, "Wherever I am is where I live." His response was, "Now you're speaking spiritualy." I thought I was speaking in the here and now, the present, so I replied, "Oh, you want to know where I sleep." He immediately seemed to get the idea as the conversation ended on that point.  



2 May 2004 @ 06:53 by Jon Husband @195.169.149.4 : The Price of Present-ness
Unfortunately for me, the price of being present for too long in Amsterdam and Berlin has added up to not booking 14 days in advance, so not being able to fly down to Toulouse for a day to have the luxury of meeting up with you.

My trip to and around Europe is drawing too quickly to a close, and I found yesterday and the day before yesterday that it will cost me in excess of 100 euros to get down to Toulouse, and then I would have to TGV back to Paris to use the return portion of my Eurostar fare, to get back to London Heath Row to catch my flight back to Vancouver on Wednesday.

Or, I guess one could say I wasn't present enough whilst in Amsterdam to make forward-looking enough plans to get me to Toulouse on time for a visit.

Now, you wouldn't happen to be in Paris on the 3rd or 4th of May would you ?  



2 May 2004 @ 08:23 by ming : Jon in the Present
Well, I could be, theoretically, of course. But a lot happening in the present here too. Like, my mom is arriving here tomorrow night from Denmark, to spend 3 weeks.

So, I guess it will have to be another good time in another good place.

It is not easy to piece together one's travels, particularly when one is trying to be flexible and in the moment, and one still hopes to check off certain outcomes along the way. There's always a way, but it often turns out one should have ordered some ticket weeks in advance, when one hadn't gotten around to thinking about it. I usually pull my hairs out trying to plan just one little trip at a time.  



20 Dec 2014 @ 01:43 by Bala @190.36.170.86 : rUcpmyNaqgjaYjbqyohQ
Yeah, where does PG&E get off trying to ugadpre their own equipment? This capitalism stuff is ridiculous, and private companies that provide invaluable services shouldn't be able improve their products! We need the government to run electrical utilities b/c they are much more efficient, aas proven in all other facets, ie USPS, Social Security, EPA, Medicare. Give me a break! God forbid one of the largest utilities in the nation try and provide a better service to its millions of customers, while be coming more green . You commi's can't have it both ways. By the way, what substantial accredited research has been done to support any of these anti-smart meter claims. It seems to me that the majority of studies conclude the meters are safe, yet these protesters continue to gin up fear in the hopes of their own empowerment. I mean think, who heard of this douche Josh Hart? This guy is an unemployed nobody, who is probably been on EDD assistance for the full 3 years, living off of the tax payers. Meanwhile, he's out building his own brand. An ego maniac who's skewed information for his own self-engrandizement, and power over hippie putty brains that have been living in homes with all kinds of RF. Yet, the meter on the outside of their home has caused immeasurable damage. Or, was it all of the drugs you guys did in the 60 s and 70 s? Hats off to Josh Hart, he's going to get rich on the backs of PG&e, and all of you wack jobs who call for progress, yet hate it when it arrives. No matter what PG&E does you guys will be mad, get a hobby.  


23 Dec 2014 @ 20:20 by Edgar @50.116.42.164 : jUFMvHfzuXUURGb
and done , about how the universe shloud be governed )Then there will be no fuss ( quarrels, arguements, fights and war )Settling conflicts externally ( by compromises, compensation, treaties ) while retaining and holding on to the principles of the matter would therefore not change the fundamental differences.That is like casting away the shadow but retaining the original object ( logically the shadow will be there with the object but that is not the point )With the same argument:When one ( ones heart ) is empty ( content, at peace from within ) it does not matter with the surroundings ( riches, fame, entertainment, food, external luxuries ) That would imply that when ones heart is filled up with surrounding matters ( things from without )Casting away all external matters ( going into the hills and live in a monastry ) will not help attaining a restful mind.It would be just like keeping flies away while heaping up smelly meat around yourself.There are certain truth in these teachings but then they always fall short of dealing with basic human problem - sinful nature in refusing the devine sovereignty of God ( denying existence of an almighty God and insisting that one can improve oneself to a devine status )  


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