Thursday, March 26, 2015

Riches of the present moment

We can take any story and extend it or select elements from it to build an offshoot of the story.  "Mary had a little lamb."  Where did she get it?  How old was it?  Had she ever had a lamb before or is this her first one?  "Jack and Jill went up a hill".  What hill?  How steep was it?  Did they often go up that hill?  Could they have fetched a pail of water anywhere else?

In a similar way, we can take any present moment and check it out.  Every present moment, every instant of now is chock full of events, sensations, ideas, reactions, plans, emotions.  Just like the whole world wide web, every present moment is actually too big to know, too big to check out.  There are always other parts to the now that we didn't think of, didn't take time to notice, didn't have time to examine or question.

A fun thing about having a mind is that, like a good book, it can take us to all sorts of places, real and imagined, current or future, past or present, emotional or calm, positive or negative.  Just as we get a lift watching a little child who is just learning to walk, stagger this way and that, falling back onto all fours, tottering over to books or toys, trying to touch the cat, becoming fascinated with its own hand or shoe, we can watch with pleasure as our mind wanders through its current issues, doubts, hopes and satisfactions.

We can decide to admonish our mind for poor behavior and inattention to the tasks of the day or we can take some time to notice what interests it and congratulate it on having the curiosity and courage to wonder and wander.  Aristotle and those other Greeks back then tended to put their bets on moderation, and a balanced approach still seems to hold promise today.  So, a little continuation from yesterday's thoughts for the sake of continuity and extended effort toward something bigger, mixed with a little free wandering, for the sake of possible new directions sounds about right.

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