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Mindful : October 2019
I am as completely, not simply on my way to somewhere else: John P. Milton, the founder of vision questing, said, “Sky above, earth below”; or “Wherever you go, there you are,” made pop- ular by Jon Kabat-Zinn, and attributed to both Confucius and Buckaroo Banzai. Moving more slowly helps, including walk- ing and bicycling. Instead of zipping around from place to place in a cab or a ride-share, I try public transportation when I can. There is more waiting. And during that waiting, while I am impatient, I can allow myself to be impa- tient, and observe it rise and fall. It’s almost like going to the movies. And like the movies, you’re together in a room with your fellow human beings. This room moves, though. Time TIME BENDS AND flexes and floats. We’ve become so accustomed to think- ing of time as being measured only by the clock that we may not notice so much all the other rhythms in life that “keep time” like a metro- nome. A heartbeat. The path of the sun through the sky. The seasons. Even our attention: When bored, a minute drags; when engaged, a minute flies. Is a minute, then, a fixed thing? Take time to notice the ways that time is influenced, by how fast someone talks, by how much they pay attention to you, by whether we have chosen to be someplace or would rather be somewhere else. Take your time. Even with the mundane, especially with the mundane. Why rush through the dishes? Does barreling through the tedium to get to the other side really make us happier? Appreciate timing as much as time. Changing Your Mind CHANGING YOUR MIND gets a very bad rap. Don’t succumb to that tyranny! Go ahead, let your mind change. Let it go where it will. A changing mind is a beautiful mind. As long as you don’t create too much chaos for other people, admitting that your mind has changed can be humbling. Passing Interests and Abilities MY DAUGHTER SEEMS to have a new hobby every six months or so, and she gets pretty good at them, and some of them stick for longer. Years ago I obsessed about opera. Today, it’s an occasional thing. I once played a lot of golf and was pretty good. Now, not so much. Interests wax and wane. What was the thing is no longer the thing. There are fashions. Hula hoops, yo-yos, roller rinks, mood rings. Yes, that’s fickle, but this fickleness is something to be honest about. Everything has a first blush, a honeymoon, a plateau...and an eventual death. Even our greatest passions. Aging AND SPEAKING OF death, we are all dying. We are aging, in every minute. Over time, our capacities decrease. No matter how hard we work at it, eventually we will be able to do less, we will likely be in more pain, we will see more pain, we will have lost more people, we will face a diagnosis, a tragic loss. Why not make friends with change, with allowing, every day? When the big changes come, they will not seem so big. We may well have embraced change that much. In this continual process of allowing, I cannot say how much I have loosened my clinging to wanting things to remain. I cannot say I am eager to die, or to lose my friends, or to have good times turn to hard times. No, I continue to cling. I have pretty much given up trying to figure out why. Just human, I guess. And yet here, as in so many things in life, there is a paradox: In my very acceptance of the fact that I don’t accept impermanence, I find some peace. And I allow it to be there, like dew hanging off the tip of a leaf, glinting in the early morning sun. The early morning sun will burn off the dew. By night the leaf will be a dark sil- houette and eventually unseen. So be it. ● PHOTOGRAPHBYPLAINPICTURE/HARALDBRAUN October 2019 mindful 61