You can stop arguing, defending and wondering why people act this way or that. What will make you feel better is when you realize that the things you want to do are actually impossible. The paradox is that when you surrender into that awareness you suddenly realize that you’ve always had what you were looking for. But to get there, first there’s some things you simply have to accept if you want to live with the equanimity that goes with an enlightened life.
The first thing is to accept that there is only Now. There is only the Present Moment. You have never been alive in the past nor will you live in the future. It always was and it’ll always be Now. People read that and it half-makes sense and so they read on. Really stop and really think about that like Eckhart suggests. That’s not to be taken lightly and there’s salvation in that idea.
Okay, so you can’t fix the past. And if you’re worried about the future then you’ll be worrying in your Present Moments rather than being Open and Aware. That lack of awareness will lead you to make the sort of mistakes that will cause your fearful future to end up being a self-fulfilling prophesy. Your future is always made of what you do in your Nows. Quiet your mind about before and later and pay attention to your nows instead.
The second thing you have to do is Accept. You have to accept that every moment is a polyhedron. Every single moment has many sides—many perspectives that can be taken on it. Think of Moments kind of like soccer balls—they’re three dimensional but they also have those little sides–little separate realities. Except in the psychological world people are much more complex than soccer balls so those sides can be infinitely tiny. So there’s no correct perspective on a moment. There’s just the side you’re looking at. That’s all you’ve got. That and maybe glimpses of the sides bordering yours. But just glimpses.
I often talk about how I agree with Shakespeare about the ages of man. We all go through about 7-9 year cycles where we become someone new and then eight years later, just as it’s getting boring, we find or push ourselves into a new role where we need new perspectives on old things. Where we’re a beginner again. A lot of this has to do with aging because you get more experience with that change. That makes you more comfortable and then aware, so it’s a spiritual journey as well as a physical one.
If we’re lucky and we work at it our life experiences can lead to the big discovery everyone’s looking for—which is when we no longer see just our side of a single moment, but instead we can see at least enough of the soccer ball of life to appropriately humble our own perspective. We see that how we’re seeing it is just one way of seeing it out of many….
I’ve written about it here before but I’ve got a good example of me getting a better view of the soccer ball. My ex wife and I were talking one gorgeous Saturday morning and she wanted to stay in and clean the albeit dusty house. We were both busy all week and I wanted to relax. I didn’t like arguing over cleaning so I suggested we get a maid so we could spend more time out together. Back then I thought you had to be out, rather than just truly together. And it seemed like a loving offer that was taking half the cleaning off her back. Her answer surprised me.
She asked how much I’d pay a maid. I guessed way too high and she said she’d do it for that. I didn’t like that idea because my point was I wanted to get more time with her. But in my young-man innocent idiocy I thought to myself, okay, I wanted to go the park with friends but I guess if she wants the money and thinks it’s fair for the work then I can just shift to doing something fun at home and that way I get my relaxation and she gets her money. Fair deal.
Every person reading this who’s been married for longer than six months is laughing their ass off at that. That is ridiculous. We were both nuts. We were calculating that was fair and that it got us what we wanted. We weren’t however thinking about how it would feel. Because how it felt was that I felt uncomfortably guilty watching F1 Racing while she vacuumed our livingroom and she resented me sitting there with my feet up while she worked. At that point the money in the bank was an abstract concept no one was even thinking about except maybe to use as a point in an argument.
As I’ve aged my view of the soccer ball expanded and I can now see how crazy that was. But I also know I’ll make “mistakes” like that again. There’s no way not to. Because I can’t know what someone else stitched in next to my perspective on the soccer ball. They’ll tell me that. I’ll find out from experience. And so all we can do is live in the moment and do our best and remember that we’re all polyhedrons looking at other polyhedrons so no one ever really knows what’s going on. And there’s real comfort in just letting all that go and surrendering into what feels good instead. And lo and behold, it turns out that’s what feeling good was designed for.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.