Monday, 10 December 2012

The Real Things in Life - Part 1

People give us advice all day long - parents, lifestyle coaches, magazines, self-help gurus.  What a pity most of it is wrong!

Here is some food for thought Part 1:
Live in the present - This piece of advice is so often cited it has become a reason for NOT living in the present, since so much of the "present" now consists of people lecturing us about how we should live in it.

Actually the recollected past and the anticipated future are both quite nourishing places.  The present nearly always involves a soup of distractions; it contains the thing that's important, plus lots of things that get in the way.

Recollecting the moment you stood in front of a favourite painting/sculpture, for example, is often better than the moment itself, in recollection you can strip out all the things that were unimportant: your sore feet, the couple talking loudly behind you, the queue for admission.  Memory pares down the moment to its essence.

The same is true of the birth of a child, a kiss, a bushwalk.  In memory, the experience is at its most intense and pure.  After remembering these things in blissful reverie, we can then anticipate similar, or better, experiences in the future, the hoped-for experience fizzing in our mind in a way that is pure and unencumbered.

I'm not attacking the present.  It's highly useful in prompting both recollection and anticipation - the real things in life.

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes"
~~ Marcel Proust

Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, Sydney November 2012.
Artist Greer Taylor, NSW called this delightful piece of artwork "transition"

PS My music site MixPod has closed and I haven't found the time to find another site, but I will get around to it shortly....meanwhile enjoy the peace and quiet.


Who you callin' housewife? said...

Memory pares down the moment to its essence -- excellent thought.

So many memories of my dad these past few days. I've been chiding myself for not living in the moment in his last few years. I'm going to stop that and enjoy all of the wonderful memories.

Christine said...

Good food for thought today, Peggy! I guess we should spend the time to treasure some of the past!

miruspeg said...

Yes Kim I have decided to stop chiding myself for not living in the moment every single second.
I have just come back from visiting friends in Christchurch and I'm enjoying reliving some very special moments.
Be well dear friend. xxxxx

Christine - There are so many treasures from the past and I feel spending time reminiscing is time well spent. Thanks for always popping over and writing a comment, you are very special. xxxxx

Can-Can said...

"Memory pares down the moment to its essence." What a great statement!

miruspeg said...

Ahh thanks Candelaria!
I think that as we grow older, recollections form our personal truth, regardless of what really happened. And I think that when we are younger, anticipation of better things to come helps us get through many a bad time. And there is probably a time of life for us all when these things together represent most of our preferred reality.

bill lisleman said...

I like your idea of memories. I catch myself wondering if I remember an event correctly. Hard to judge the exact details since the memory is a personal view/interpretation of it.

Oh what's up with music players? too many corporate lawyers?

miruspeg said...

Bill, I've been reading quite a bit about the hippocampus (the part of the brain that is involved in memory forming, organising and storing) and discovered that our memories can be very unreliable and some researchers believe that the very act of remembering can change our memories.
Interesting eh!

Mixpod left a note on my music account saying they couldn't afford to keep the servers running.
I am sure there are other free music sites, but it means I will have to start from scratch. :-(

A California Bird (Ninon Nickerson) said...

Hi Peggy! I was just listening to one of my more advanced Buddhist audio books on this subject and it explained "living in the present" in a really understandable way. I have learned that people don't always repeat principles clearly or accurately and I think this is where the confusion can come from. It took me a long time and a lot of work to learn to live in "the present" but I totally agree with what you are saying and so did that teacher I listened to. The truth about "living in the present" is not a cerebral concept. To really live in the present is to merge the awareness of the past and present and be at peace with it all. I think to really understand it is to understand that time is a "place holder" and doesn't really exist. I think my growing awareness of my "dream lands" has taught me a bit more about how the waking world views time. The one thing I really agree with is that, for myself, I am not stuck on one "buzz word" and we do need to embrace all of our awareness of all time dimensions.

miruspeg said...

Hi Ninon
You have certainly added much food for thought to this post. Isn't it fabulous when we touch upon an understanding that we have been searching for, that makes complete sense and frees us to continue our journey in a new light.

I also am very interested in the "waking world" and the "dream world" and would like to explore it further. At the moment I am focusing on my intuition and trusting it to guide me through my wakening hours. It is very liberating.

Roban said...

I like this way of viewing things, yet it seems that if we aren't "present" enough in our present moments, we may not be able to form or recall the memories later in life. I tend to think too much in the past or plan too much for the future. There's a bit of a balance to it all, I'm sure.

I saw above that you've been reading about the hippocampus. I'm always intrigued by brain research, especially brain-based research on teaching and learning.

(Glad to see your post!)

miruspeg said...

Roban, of course "being present" most of the time is the enlightened way to live and you make your point well.
But I do enjoy spending some time reminiscing the past and anticipating the future.

I am so pleased you mentioned the hippocampus. I have been fascinated/intrigued with the hippocampus ever since I read an article in a science magazine back in 2010 when I was visiting my blog friend in Christchurch.

It suggested that we make new choices between alternatives that we have never directly experienced. Decisions that are often made rapidly and confidently. Apparently the hippocampus, traditionally known for its role in building long-term declarative memories, enables the spread of value across memories.

I will have to do more research and blog about it.

Take care xxxxxx

Lilly said...

Hi Peggy, is that a photo of New Zealand in your banner header? It is beautiful regardless of where it is.

I agree, it seems everywhere you look we are being told to live in the moment because that is all we have etc etc.

And while it can be good advice, our memories and plans can bring comfort and inspiration and hope that cannot be discounted either.

I think it is all about just being aware of the dangers.

Sure the past and future only exist in the mind, while the present exists in real time but it must be about a balance of all three surely.

Our mind can play tricks on us if we are not careful and it is important that we don't use the past or the future as a form of escape or denial to what is going on in our lives at present. Other than that, why would we not?

Moderation in all things is healthy right?

By the way, I hope your trip was everything and more. You mainly seem to live in the present anyway creating great memories for later on when you need to draw on them.

miruspeg said...

Hi Lilly
You are a wise soul my friend! Balancing the three would be ideal.

Present is the playground where we play the future game, by past experience. Or we learn from the past, apply it in the present and enjoy the future!

The header photo was taken in beautiful Norway in 2010, I would go back there in a heart beat.

I had a wonderful relaxing week in Christchurch, I love the slower paced lifestyle and was able to recharge my batteries before heading back to Sydney to face the mad Christmas onslaught. Also catching up with a two of my blog friends was such a delight.

I am sure you, your mother and daughter will have a fantastic time cruising around New Zealand. It is such a beautiful country.