Back to the Moment? Which moment?
Let me try this one again.
What is your moment to moment anchor? The thought or ‘mantra’ you often come back to.
It changed over time, and has become less and less explicit — or maybe it didn’t.
- Used to be “Everything is ephemeral” (and still is in some sense), or maybe it didn’t.
- Used to be “Life is purposeless” (with that very peculiar nihilistic aroma), or maybe it didn’t.
- Used to be “You can think without words”, or maybe it didn’t.
- Lately it seems to be something that resembles “Memories aren’t trustworthy” or “The mind is not a computer”.
Differently from a computer, which stores and retrieves data, the mind is itself transformed by the experiences it goes through.
Experience X transforms the mind from v1 to v1.1 — a mind that is now able to imagine Y, something it couldn’t before. When it does imagine this thing (Y), it feels like this something is a perfect analogy (how naive) for what actually happened (X). Working memory is useful for navigating reality — prominently for driving cars. However, it is not the truth — memory is just one more tool at our disposal.
I understand all mantras are wrong. How can a product of thought resolve the problem of thought? And yet, sometimes it works — go figure.
Did you ever try and choose the “Now” or present moment as a perpetual anchor? How did that go?
Isn’t that the quantum leap, the nirvana, the samadhi itself? No, that’s not truly it — but it’s a part of it, it’s similar, close. Perhaps as close as dialectics can get you. Perhaps as far as dialectics can take you.
I might have consciously tried to choose the Now. How did it go, you ask? Frightening! I don’t know how to do that without giving up rational thought altogether. How am I to do work in this state? True Enlightenment™ would not be an impairment — it would allow for work.
And yet, the world didn’t end. Nothing “went wrong”. My perception is that I kept thinking, but without words, and that I switched from word to non-word thinking seamlessly as the need would arise.
That being said, I am not so sure about the “try”ing and “choose”ing part. It does not feel like trying — the Now comes and goes, without invitation for either. It does yes feel like trying — as soon as I analyze it. I can come up with arguments for both. We’re argument-conceiving automatons.
And if you did find it beneficial, what are you comparing it to?
My perception is that I am calmer than most people I interact with — but who knows? I often get caught in thought-games (dialectical masturbation) and forget life is play not game (leela!).
In moments of retrospective contemplation I wonder who the layman really is. Has any of my practices, efforts, readings actually paid off? I like to think it did.
After all, everything in the past happened as it should have. And when this is true to you, it becomes absurd to over-think the Now. The Now is gone in a microsecond, into the past, where everything is all right — everything is as it should be.
“What am I doing wrong?” asked the new kid on the block.
“You’re doing it right now.”
This post was prompted by questions asked by Halim Madi as Nanominded.