The sun rises, the clock ticks, the sun sets, the clock ticks, the nights turn into days, the clock ticks, the days into weeks, the clock keeps ticking, on and on, weeks turn into months turn into years, and the years turn, 2017 to 2018.
I’m an elderly man. At 65 somewhere between the afternoon and evening of my life depending on the date it will end which happily is unknown. I don’t feel 65, I’m stuck somewhere between 30 and 35 in my mind. But at 65 I finally realize the numbers don’t matter, because linear time is an illusion that does not matter.
Even when I panic and think it does, when I think about not having the financial security I wanted for retirement, or not finishing the book its been my life long passion to write, or any of the many things I’ve resolved to accomplish and have not done, time really doesn’t matter. Or at least it no longer the most important thing for me.
Ironically the present is a difficult place to inhabit, but I’ve discovered that life is about this moment, the only reality I have.
I forecast and I plan. I look at the past and consider the future, but from cradle to grave, all living is experienced in the moment, and it is in the now where I’ve been fortunate to observe the elusive truths of my life. Here meaning and significance lives, and in its stillness, the awareness and acceptance of all its energy brings an enduring joy and peace I know is available to all.
Last year I had emergency abdominal surgery and convalesced at the home of friends with my 90-year-old mother for whom I care. I was guilt ridden the entire time we were there about all the people that had been affected by my illness because I did not have the resources to independently provide these services for myself. I was obsessed with regrets about the past and fears about the future. I vainly calibrated the results of my past actions vowing to navigate the dangers of future ones.
But I found no peace, no ability to balance the dissonance between the heights of my expectations and the depths of my realities.
Fortunately, through mindful meditation and devotion, I experienced a glimpse of life through the eyes of my subconscious observer. That inherently spiritual view appears in the awareness of the now; its sights, colors, tastes, smells, breath, sounds, and feel. In the moment is life, all of it, the fullness of its length and breadth of everything from love to hate, and most enlightening to know gratitude for it all. It taught me understanding that all my actions mattered, big, little, good and bad. Each one affected me, and each one affected others, and all life matters.
All life takes place in the present.
From here I write a book that I won’t finish because I think it’s not good enough, and blog posts that I think are unimportant because I think no one will read them. I make resolutions I won’t keep, and expound principles I sometimes dishonor. I feel useless. I feel I do not matter.
But even when I am weak and sick my friends adjust their intimate family routines to help, my family members carry out all I cannot until I’m well, and my elderly mother makes a difficult move 1000 miles from home.
My reflections and insights notwithstanding, it’s the effect of each thing I do in the present that matters. Every pebble dropped in life’s pond sends ripples. I understand now with my heart as well as my head that all I seek however noble or vein, lives only in the present, so there I must remain.
God bless 2018 and all our aspirations and hopes. May we claim them fully in the present for the past and future are but delusions we behold.