Staying Present Friday August 12, 2022 EDT 
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lucid thoughts

Staying PresentSeptember 11, 2008

Staying Present

Happily Ever After
When you marry a person, it says a lot of things - that you love this person, that you've found a partner worthy enough to continue your genetic immortality, that you're willing to spend the rest of your life and get old with this special one. You see yourself living the ideal family life - a decent 8 to 5, house in the burbs, white picket fences, seeing your kids happilly ever after.

But what if, given the best of intentions, life throws you a curve ball and shatters all that? What you thought of as a vault-solid relationship now lay in crumbles. This story line seems to pervade the social landscape. What can you glean from that? I'm sure, a lot.

Only Diamonds are Forever
What I found to be a recurring lesson is that nothing is forever...just the present, while the moment lasts. There is no future (since it hasn't happened yet) and the past already happened (so move on!). We're only left with here and now. No matter how much you plan for the future or stay in the past, you're still in the present...whether you like it or not.

Here And Now
So why not just stay present? How? Be mindful of your surrounding, do what needs to be done, listen to the person in front of you, taste the food as you chew it. I maintain that if you take care of the present, you become out of reach by the clutches of the past and the future takes care of itself. Want a bonus? By staying present, you don't carry a psychological baggage to weigh you down.

Getting Derailed
Staying present is not as easy as it sounds. Oftentimes, I catch myself in reverie...instead of listening to the other guy, I think about what I ate last night. Or, instead of staying focused on my work, I think about the asshole who dissed me a year ago. When that happens, I pull myself back into the present, being aware of what's around me. Mindful breathing helps. It gets easier with practice.

Wait, There's More
Once you get the hang of it, you realize staying present has very profound ramifications. The choices presented can be very hard to swallow and downright painful. Abstract? I know. Read on.

Boating on 2 Rivers?
I'm a social animal. I live alone and I travel alone so I can have the flexibility to cross paths with people, perhaps of the same mindset. Oftentimes, I do. Of course we lose ourselves in the ensuing conversation. Before I know it, what started out as benign become loaded...sparks fly and chemistry sizzles. I know that if I pursue this, we'll end up in bed. Nothing wrong with that, if I'm not in a committed relationship - which I was at that time. Of course, most guys would rather's easier that way - take your cake and eat it too. But my cheating days are over. I can't really be free if I have to sneak.

The Unthinkable
What to do? The unthinkable - I walk away. As difficult as that is, I walk in fuckin' walk away. That's not staying present! To be in the here-and-now, I should explore the looming possibilities with bacchanalian abandon and just let the Flow take me where it takes me....the quintessence of unbridled human connection. But I always walk away! And every time I do, a little bit of me dies. I live for the magical moments. They are few and far in between. But when it happens, the entire universe lights up. Am I talking about sex here? NO! Magical moments can start and end at coffee. And that's plenty. How many times can I walk away from that without taxing my sanity? Bottom line: I cannot stay present when I'm already with someone. I was torn. Something had to give. It exacted a high price, but I chose to stay present.

Ending Thoughts
Unemcumbered, I'm now free to pass through people's orbit for the fleeting moment, while it lasts. I can spontaneously respond to the present without holding back; here-and-now cut down to bare bones. I can't say I'm always happy, but I'm always free - and that's really what I bargained for.

--- TheLoneRider

Comments? Email

Reader Comments:

JillianJillian (geologist)
(Oct 15, 2008) I miss you na! hehe. Hmm technically speaking, even diamonds are not forever! Diamond is the hardest mineral but if two diamonds are made to scratch each other, then they would also be abraded and eventually, be gone. haha wala lang, walang forever kasi ;)

(Oct 14, 2008) hmmm...the here and now... are you by any chance a Taoist? wala lang :) is very entertaining :) lumalawak ang aking english vocabulary!'re one hell of a writer and thinker ;)

(Oct 9, 2008) Wow, thank you for for email. It feels great to be acknowledged by someone like you! Thanks a lot to Survivor Philippines I discovered your website. After reading articles in the Lucid Thoughts I found you're a deep and strong person. Intelligent and articulate, and you write with style. I learned a lot from your thoughts specially on the issues of family, flow, markers, etc. But on your concept of the "future" I'm still pondering over it. I think "future" like "flow" can be created also.

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