The Present Moment

by cheri block

Yoga has taught me to push my mind back to the present moment every time it strays.

I find this effort rewarding but challenging. Staying in the present moment is experiential; that is, we guide ourselves into, through, and out of the moments of our lives, even if they are sad, scary, or maddening.

Life becomes as rich as cheesecake.

The person yapping in the airplane seat next to you becomes an opportunity for character study.

The new wrinkle you notice on your face becomes impetus to focus away from the physical and toward the spiritual or mystic or intellectual.

The sense of self-importance we feel in certain situations becomes a way to view our own insecurities.

The disappointment, annoyance, frustration we allow to invade our sacred and cherished beliefs become growth hormones.

At this present moment on the balcony, I watch a zig-zagging electric line of ants picking apart a dead moth carcass and I am reminded of Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage: in one stark scene, Henry Fleming sees a young dead soldier’s body propped against the trunk of a tree. Ants crawl up and down the body which was once someone’s son or husband. Crane illustrates the temporal nature of the human experience, but more importantly, of our relationship to the natural world.

Cheesecake.

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About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Life, On fiction and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to The Present Moment

  1. Richard says:

    I have no knowledge of anything but “the present”.

  2. kwarren1970 says:

    The present moment if you can actually stay there is generally not a stressful place. I find the when the stressors pile on it is extremely easy to drift into the future which compound the stress. The most effective approach in this scenario for me is to do a lot of self talk in the form of gentle reminders. It takes effort but it is so worth it.

  3. It’s hard to be present “in the moment” all the time!

    • Cheri says:

      Hi Kayti,
      Very hard. I struggle with this challenge but have continued to practice and I am making improvement. Hope you are well.

  4. Cyberquill says:

    What if, instead of watching a bunch of ants supping on a moth in real time, you were to watch footage of that event that was taken in the past? Would your mind then be in the present moment, because the act of watching occurs in the present, or would your mind be in the past, because that’s when the event you are watching took place?

    • Cheri says:

      This whole notion of time is very significant and your comment illustrates the difficulty of staying in the present while needing to reflect back to the past and, in living in “modern culture (an oxymoron I might add)”, the importance of planning for a future.

      WG Sebald’s novel Austerlitz concerns time and in the narration, it is difficult to keep track of time.

  5. Christopher says:

    While to concentrate only on the present moment has much to be said for it, what if we all concentrated always only on our present moment?

    We, who have air-conditioning, television and the cell-phone, we, who are transported into the realms of the sublime by poetry and music and literature, are the beneficiaries of those before us who didn’t always concentrate on their present moment, but who, instead, dreamed of what they would create for the betterment of Man, then put their dream into practice.

    Indeed, it is the Dreamer – his eyes averted from the Present – who gives us comfort, and value and meaning, and – let it be said – misery.

    It is the Ant that concentrates only always on the present moment.

  6. Cheri says:

    This comment is beautiful in every way. Your words are gorgeous and true.
    I feel trivial trying to stay in the present moment after reading your thoughts.
    Thank you.

  7. Richard says:

    ” … events that seem to us to be simultaneous would generally not seem to be simultaneous to some other such observer, with a different velocity. Moreover, the velocities would not even have to be very large if we are concened with very distant events. For example, if two people stroll past each other in opposite directions along a path, then the events on the Andromeda Galaxy that they would each individually consider to be simultaneous with that particular event at which they pass one another would be likely to differ by several weeks ,,, ” [Roger Penrose in “Cycles of Time”, discussing Minkowski’s 4-geometry, the mathematical basis of space-time in Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity]

    Little room for intuition there! 🙂

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