Sep 15, 2005

Time Travel 101

And you don't even need a police public call box to do it.

Ever notice that chunk of wetware you have between your ears? Have you ever stood still long enough to watch it in action? The science fiction writers love to spin yarns of machines that whisk us here and there across time and space, our boots ever ready to crush the butterfly that is going to change the entire universe, but how many of them focus on this lump of squishy stuff underneath our hair?

If you're like me, your mind is always moving, always planning, always plotting, and always traveling forward and backward in time. You've got appointments to keep, time to wile away until lunch, places to be and go, and supper to plan. And sometimes in those quiet moments you're suddenly back in first grade working your way through your Dick And Jane primer, or you're standing in front of the climbing rope in gym class, or you're rehashing that fight you had with your Significant Other that morning. You're never at rest, at the present. That's the way we're set up from the get-go, or so it would seem to people who can't even build a computer network that stays operating 24/7.

And that's where Zen comes in. Bet you didn't think I was going to get all spiritual on you, did you?

Zen teaches us that to find Enlightenment, true happiness, we need to live in the now. It's that simple, and like most good things, simple does not mean easy. Zen resides in the tiny pause between your breath coming in and your breath going out. It lies in the space between heartbeats. It happens all the time, is all around us, and all we have to do is realise those moments.

Try it, won't you? Try living in the right now, just for a few moments. Chances are very good that your mind quickly goes racing away like a pet dog who has just slipped it's leash in the park. That's the trouble with minds; their lack of dicipline. And let me tell you, for not having any muscle tissue at all the mind is the hardest damned thing you will ever try to work out.

I hadn't meant to get all Eastern Philosophy on you guys this morning, but it was where my mind was headed. I was thinking about thinking, about how easily our minds can take us where and when we want to go. We see it every day, from the guy in the next cubicle who is already living his vacation that doesn't start until next week to the lady who styles your hair for you who is 17 again and regretting turning down that nice boy across the street for her first prom dance, the one who drives a BMW now. And we live it every day, without even being aware of it.

And none of this gets me any closer to having breakfast, so I go forth into the desert like a wild ass, to make my brekkie.

Have a good now.

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