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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Being Here Now

Being here now is one of the hardest things to do as a human being. On one hand, the notion that "wherever you go, there you are" is true for all of us. But so many of us live in our heads that we don't really know where we are, where we went, or where we're going. Try it next time you're in a crowd of people. Look around. The few people who seem alive will be ignored by everyone, since most people will avoid eye contact at all costs.

I see this on the train and subway a lot, a place I get to practice being here now every working day. The sad reality is that being on the train or subway in the moment isn't terribly enlightening. In fact, it mostly blows. Being on a train with people who generally want to have nothing to do with you is actually rather drab. So you quickly learn to enjoy your book, your music, or your podcast. Looking out the window is only enjoyable the first 100 train rides or so. Then it gets mundane.

So to keep my sanity, I attempt to be here now in other places in my life. I have found through experimentation that a glass of wine or a beer makes it easier. Wine sounds so much more sophisticated but some days a beer just hits the spot better. Either way you get there, relaxation aids the process, allows you to see where you are and what's going on around you at the moment. Or so it seems. I'm sure the AA people would flake out at the notion that alcohol can be of much good at all. But the AA people are too often busy getting their next cup of coffee to really notice what's here now.

I will eventually read the book Be Here Now by Ram Daas. I am currently reading the book Wherever You Go There You are by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It's a good book, giving me solid hints how to, well, be where you are. I find that reading small bits at a time is best, otherwise you can easily miss the point. Yet the question remains. How do I make it stay? Much like Tom Robbins asked in Still Life With Woodpecker - how do you make love stay? - I ask the same sort of question, but with the ideas he puts forward in the book. So many obstacles sit in the path to being here now, or being where you are, that it's terribly easy to not be where you physically are, where your body says you are.

A big obstacle is sleep, or lack of it. A tired mind is a wandering mind. So should I be in bed? Should I base my being in bed, when I need to be in bed? Sleep holds so little for me, yet remains so necessary for a rich and rewarding life. That sounds so trite but it's beyond true. How do you enjoy life when you've moving in a fog? I suppose I answer my own question. The train and subway are fogs half the time. In order for me to enjoy my now I have to enjoy my being awake - a notion I find harder to realize these days. Perhaps the wine will help in that regard as well?

I have no conclusion to this entry. It's just a series of thoughts as they come to me, basically relating something that I believe a lot of people deal with. It's not a terrible thing. I'm not on the edge of the building, about to jump to end the misery. But I always strive to make it all better, to make every experience more worthwhile. Will the zombies at the Millington train station ever look me in the eye when we stand in line to get on the train? Or will they always live in that daze which leads them up the stairs to their seats? Will I ever break my own zombie trance and utter a "good morning" one of these days? I don't know the answers to these questions. Perhaps answering those, and getting to bed on time are good ways to get where I need to go - a place I suppose I'm already at.


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