The unnamed 13th century mystic in his private, little book wrote, “Be attentive to time and the way you spend it. Nothing is more precious…God, the master of time, never gives the future. He gives only the present, moment by moment, for this is the law of the created order.”

Alan Watts wrote, “I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.”

I write, “Oh shit.”

I’ve just turned 51 and I realize I’ve been living all wrong, not as in what I have done or failed to do, but in the way I’ve been caught in a dizzy spin, as if in a giant wave, between the past and future.

So, what does it mean to live in the present?

It means there will be no more pining for the past, spending hours skirting the balloon of memory, peering through the blurred skin of what was.

It means there will be no trying to predict and control the future.

It means moving from high entropy to low entropy in my head.

The same circle of thoughts that have been heating up my brain lately– Venezuela, divorce, my children, the destruction of our planet– I’ll have to let float on by like emotions (or clouds), and not bother giving them names.

It means no more trying to figure out the schemes and motivations of others. They will do what they will do.

It means forgetting the big questions, forgetting the ideologies. If a question must be asked, make it a simple one: Who is being hurt? Who is suffering?

Then, feeling the footfalls of every aging moment, push up against that which causes harm and embrace all that doesn’t.

And, in the end, we will all emerge with our hearts intact.


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