So we might as well get over it!
Here's what Bard (Google's AI) has to say about it.
That is a very profound statement. It is true that the only thing that is constant in life is change. Everything else is constantly in flux, from the smallest particles to the largest galaxies. Even our own bodies are constantly changing, as cells die and are replaced.
(I love the little editorializations that the AI adds to it! Thank you, Bard, for acknowledging the profundity of my statement!)
It's even better than that. You and I are not the same moment to moment, not just the physical aspects- that's obvious. But even the Who We Are- our self-image, our identity- shifts as we go through time.
We resist it. I, for example, have never wanted to "grow up." I find myself missing the simple joys of playing with my Matchbox Cars and building things with Lego's and stuff. I find myself sometimes wanting to go back there. But when I actually consider that maybe I'll buy myself a toy car… nah- that's not it. I'm not that person, that kid, any more. There's an experience that went along with activities when I was a kid, and that's what I'm missing in those moments.
As I get older and wiser, I begin to see something. When I was young- and I'll assert that this is true for most humans- it was a time of wonder. Everything was new!
("Yesterday, a child came out to wander, Caught a dragonfly inside a jar…" <Circle Game by the Great Joni Mitchell>).
That was the experience!!! Everything is new! Who wouldn't want to go outside and play- it was all new! Now it's like, ‘ya seen one sunrise, ya seen ’em all'.
But is all that really gone? Is there no more wonder and awe for me, a crusty and cynical 64-year old knowitall? Am I so arrogant that I can't see the clouds out my window as something new every morning? They're not the same clouds. Yesterday, they looked like cotton balls, today, like streaks of marshmallow cream. OR WHATEVER I WANT TO MAKE THEM. How about sheep yesterday and fractals today? (They're all fractals, but that's for another post.)
(Of course, as you would expect in this synchronous world, Joni's “Clouds” just started playing in Youtube. The puzzle pieces all fit if you want them to. Or maybe, if you're willing to notice. Or both. I don't know.)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
(from the Principia DIscordia)
A. Everything is true.
Q. Even false things?
A. Even false things are true.
Q. How can that be?
A. I don't know man, I didn't do it
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
But it's not just clouds. It's everything. We get so lazy and arrogant as we grow up- we pretend that everything is the same as it was- like we know how it all is. Yeah, if you've seen one sunrise you've seen 'em all.
No wonder we're bored!! You're bored with your job? Well, because you already know how it's going to go tomorrow, don't you? It's predictable. And therefore, safe. No surprises. How many times have you hoped for a day without any surprises? Especially when the surprises that are happening aren't to your liking. So let's please not have any!
But how freaking boring!
But you did that- you want the safety of predictability. You made it up that it's predictable. If you really look, you have NO idea what's going to happen tomorrow, and you have nothing to say about that fact. You forgot. To have fun. To make up the game.
The new game that grownups make up as we “mature”… Let's pretend that we're not playing a game. And then forget that we're pretending.
And what about those people in your life. You know them, don't you? (No you don't!) We're playing the same game- be predictable, survive, don't make waves. You've got your friends, family, lovers, all type-cast. You know exactly how they'll react to every situation. And they can't change- in your eyes.
Oh! Oh! Oh! And what about with ourselves? You know you, don't you? I'm shy, not real good with people. I'm unattractive and boring. I'm fat. What's your story? … (And again, we forget the key word, STORY, and the story becomes a true story). I really am fat. Even in high school, even though the school pictures say something else- I was a good-looking kid, in decent shape. But I was fat. (By high school, we have most of this "figured out." We “know” who we are. The rest of our lives, we get to prove it. To ourselves, and to others.
We're all flying under the radar, hoping to make it through the day. We're trying to be knowable, rather than to be KNOWN. Not playing a role that meets expectations (yours and everyone else's. As if we knew what their expectations are.
There is real magic in being Present. Being present is just that- being present. Here. Now. With the Universe As It Is now, not later, not before. There becomes a vibrancy of perception, an expansion of awareness. We're no longer trying to predict, figure out, understand, use, learn from. We're just here, now.
Here and Now are always shifting, moving with the Universe (whatever that is) and in Time (whatever that is). But we're moving along with it, so here/now is always here/now.
If you wanted an answer, that's it. The keys to the kingdom. Being Present. While being present, it doesn't matter what was and what will be- they don't exist. When present, you're not oblivious to change, you're not avoiding it. But you get to soak up all the magic and wonder of now.
OK, Bernie, so - how does this apply to real life? How do I get this "being present' thing? I can't forget the past and stop strategizing the future. How can I appreciate the present when my mind is always doing it's predict and remember stuff?
Yeah. Good question. I think the wise and evolved have been exploring this question for as long as we've been something like human. So, I don't know. Yoga? Meditation?
Probably. I do those things. But I think what's even more fundamental is something like Appreciation. Gratitude. Awe. Surprise. Listening and Looking and Feeling. And letting go. Lot's of letting go. It's a lifetime's practice, worthy of mastery.
Being the neophyte that I am, here's a little exercise that you can do. (Don't do this while you're driving!).
Wherever you are- stop. Find something in your visual field that you can identify. (A more advanced version of this is to do it with sound). Don't choose something that has emotional charge- like a pile of doggy doo. Just something, like a leaf, or a rock, or a mark on the sidewalk, something on a shelf.
Just observe it. First observe what thoughts are going on. Then begin to observe the thing. Just keep observing it- notice how thoughts keep creeping in. That's good news- you're still alive. But keep bringing yourself back to the thing. You'll get better at this with practice, but it works first time out as well.
I'll end with some music, of course. This is called, “Embracing Uncertainty” in honor of the topic, and also a great opportunity for deep listening. I
wrote sculpted this right after we locked down, with the intention of embracing the uncertainty of the current pandemic, and of life itself.