Thursday, May 27, 2010

Living in the Present, Recognizing the Past

When you live a genuine and sincere life, living within the present moment, it is more difficult to lose track of yourself. However, in the past we were more ignorant and certainly less mindful than we are today.

It's natural that we become confused when faced with any sort of historical trigger to those nearly forgotten and less aware encounters in our life. These are encounters we have feelings about but that are not coupled with intellectual or experiential data to confirm or deny those emotions.

This is very similar to taking a picture or a set of pictures and throwing it through a fan with sharpened blades. These blades are the karmic engines of our life. The blades of ignorance, misunderstanding and disattentiveness. These karmic blades shred through present experience.

It is quite difficult to see any whole picture from the result. You can get a sensation about the scattered pieces of memory, but it is never accurate and has minimal context.

Say you have two pictures of the same man. In one picture he's carrying a flower; the other he's carrying a knife. If you do not see what's in the man's hands, it's extremely difficult to ascertain his intentions or lack of intention. Both intention and lack of intention can be dangerous as well as productive.

People, just like ourselves, have varying levels of attention and awareness. This is the difference between being behind the wheel sober, drunk or road raging. Three possibilities, all potentials within this very moment.

We must slow the blades of our karmic engine. The goal would be to dismantle it altogether, but as long as we're alive, we're producing actions, having intentions and facing the results. That's what karma is. It's not a word, it's the natural cycle of action/result/action.

When we receive sensations from people, even those of genuine affection without any clue as to why, we must be aware of the disconnect from reality. What we're doing is holding onto an old, unclear idea or experience. It's our tragic tale or our fairy tale that we've written in our heads, shaken up with memories and emotions.

Considering that in those past moments we weren't very present, might we allow for the same confused reaction, adoration or guttural repulsion, from the object of our confusion? This is the aspiration of not allowing ourselves to get caught up in all our old ignorant ways as well as allowing other people to make a different choice today.

For all that we've been mistaken about and continue to be mistaken about, we must allow others the same working space. This is not about ignoring historical data about others, it's about realizing that we're all mistaken. The person we see before us today is not the same person from our memories. Today, this person may be more or less aware, more or less positive, more or less negative or has no intention at all.

If we're present right now, we won't allow ourselves to get carried away with the storylines in our head. We'll consider people to be the human beings that they indeed are, flawed, beautiful and full of any potential. They are, after all, just like us.

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