Remember back in school when the teacher droned on about some boring subject? The only way to survive was to escape. I remember a day in grade school when I did just that.
Staring out the window, I “checked out.” When the teacher called on me, I didn’t hear her the first, second, or third time. The next thing I knew, the whole class was laughing…, at me! I was there, but I wasn’t “present.”
“Presence” is incompatible with daydreaming, or any thought for that matter! Why? Because thoughts point away from what’s happening right now. Test that out. When thinking, we are either remembering something, planning something, or conceptualizing. As a result, we lose track of what’s happening around us.
How much time do we spend in thought? Most of it, I suspect.
Besides distracting us from the moment, thoughts draw energy inward and trap it, creating mental exhaustion. I used to come home from my desk job completely exhausted, go for a run, and be rejuvenated. Why? The trapped thought-energy was released!
Thought is required to do our jobs and run our lives. Yet, it robs us of the here and now. John Lennon was right, “life is what happens while we’re busy doing other things.”
Knowledge comes from thought. However, wisdom comes from awareness. That’s because thoughts center on “Self,” and awareness arises from relationships. According to Jimi Hendrix, “Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.” There’s a profound difference! We see differently when aware.
Nature provides a good example.
Trilliums are currently blooming in NW Wisconsin. According to Wikipedia, trilliums are native to temperate regions of North America…. plants of this genus are perennial herbs growing from rhizomes….the inflorescence is a single flower in shades of red, purple, pink, (and) white.
Such sterile knowledge falls short of experiencing the beauty of Trilliums.
At our cabin, trilliums spring up from the decay of previous years, just when we can’t bear another moment of winter. They are beautiful but shy, preferring the shadows of woodland hillsides to the attention of tended gardens. Their green shoots bring hope, but their flowers of white, now pink, now purple, sprint too quickly to the finish line. They leave us when they are most beautiful, which is something to aspire to.
When fully present, the light of inter-connectedness shines into our life.
We are not separate but intrinsically connected to the world around us. Thought divides, categorizes, and objectifies experience, robbing us of the simple feeling of being.
To be present, we need to awake from thought and become aware.
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