Community Add OnsFourteen Fundamentals

Fundamental Eight: Get Present-Oriented


When you think about it, what’s so bad about right now?

At this very moment (as you drop your eyes from this book and you survey the immediate situation), there is probably nothing inordinately bad about this particular moment. Indeed, in all likelihood, it is probably a rather pleasant moment…

You’re probably in a rather comfortable and secure environment. You’ve obviously found the time to indulge yourself in a good book. You’ve just been considering ideas which have given you new insight into the happiness you’ve been deriving from life.

But more than this, consider what HASN’T been happening! As you’ve been reading this Chapter, has anything horribly bad actually happened to you? Did lightning strike your place? Did the police just arrive to arrest you? Did the boss just call to tell you that you’ve been fired? Did a government agent just visit to inform you that you owe back taxes? Probably not…

In fact, even if all these horrible things happened to you last week, are they actually occurring now? The answer, of course, is “no.”

An average human lifetime consists of many millions of moments, many hundreds of thousands of hours, and many, many thousands of days. If memory serves correctly, on the other hand, the unhappy events of most lives probably only take up a small proportion of these moments, hours, or days — and the more severe human traumas of life, if they occur at all, account for even less time.

This is not to discount the way sad events can “stick in our mind” long after their occurrence, but it is, rather, to suggest that the actual “real-time” most of us really spend in traumatic events is but an infinitesimal fraction of the “real-time” we actually live.

As a practicing therapist, I am quite familiar with the ways a momentary, traumatic event can forever alter an individual’s happiness. Yet, on a more philosophical level, even in the worst cases, it would appear that in a moment-by-moment “real-time” analysis reveals that negative occurrences still amount to a very small fraction of the moments one actually lives.

If we had no memories, the vast majority of our moments would probably be viewed as enormously pleasant ones! Every second would be filled with wonderment and awe. Even if we had been run-over by a railroad train the day before, today would appear completely fresh and new.

Infants are like this (mainly because their memory-functions in the brain have yet to develop to any great extent). Perhaps they have something to teach us about truly enjoying the millions of moments which comprise our lives.

Bad things will certainly occur for all of us. And, for some, horrors will occur. But given the millions of moments a lifetime provides, wouldn’t it be better to savor the vast majority of those moments as a young child does?

The “lows” in a lifetime are but fleeting moments. The “highs” in life are equally rare. The rest of life is filled with millions of relatively uneventful moments.

One can, as unhappier people do, fill such moments with a flood of negative thoughts and memories to wile-away such time — or one can, as infants and happier people do, attempt to savor each moment in life as a respite of grace.

“There’s no place like now!” It may not be the best moment you’ve ever experienced — but it certainly isn’t the worst…

Given one’s life in it’s entirety, isn’t it a shame that we loose that infantile capacity to enjoy the millions of moments life affords?

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Take care!!

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