Books, Philosophy, Stuart France

The Enormity of Life…


We do not ordinarily confine ourselves

to the present moment.


It is not actually possible.


But neither do we extend ourselves

much before and beyond it.


The sense of self does not usually include

reminiscences from our time in the womb,

or detailed speculations on the worlds yet to come…


But if it did then both our present

and our presence might be vastly different.


To develop the self

may simply be a question

of developing our accepted notions of time.


In so doing,

we become not pretentious

but portentous!


10 thoughts on “The Enormity of Life…”

  1. I think we can confine ourselves to the present when we are doing a particularly challenging job such as a doctor in surgery, or someone trying to put together a piece of complex machinery, but I agree that most of the time we cannot just do that.

    Yes, to see time differently as well as to add the dimensions to it would change things vastly for each of us I believe. Great post, Stuart! LOVED it! A lot to think about too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting post, Stuart. But in reality we are totally ‘confined’ within the present moment. It is where the whole of our life takes place. We cannot step outside it. It is our only reality. We can think back into the past; we can think forward into some imagined future. But even that thinking takes place in the present moment. The present moment is our life.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks for that, Stuart. Clearly, as Anne Copeland pointed out, there are many times when we need our memory in order to do certain practical tasks in the present. And if we want a holiday for example, again we have to use our memory in order to plan for that future event. So in direct answer to your question – no, we wouldn’t be able to function without. However, that’s not my point. All memory is thought – and notoriously inconsistent at that; all projections into the future are thoughts from the past and present. But thoughts are not ‘life’ – they are mental constructs. Life takes place only in the present. And to really ‘live’ in that present, we need – as we did as children – to put thinking to one side (difficult but with practice, not impossible) until it’s needed for a specific task. Once that task’s done, put thought aside again – the vast majority of our thinking is negative in nature and quite pointless. Only when thinking is put aside, does reality appear – stop to think and analyse the beauty of a sunset for example, and the beauty is straightaway gone. As says, the ‘Tao te Ching’ – stop thinking and end your problems’.

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  3. Again – interesting. Bearing in mind the difficulties of precise translation, ‘the world’ in that context, I think, refers to the physical world, which in Buddhism (and in much else besides) is seen as ‘maya’ or illusion or the ‘ten thousand things’. Hence, ‘thinking’, which is a function of mind, creates illusion – the implication of which is that reality lies beyond the mind. And even those at the sharper end of today’s science accord with that in one respect – i.e. in asserting the vast majority of so-called physical reality seems to be just empty space.

    But the fact remains and is observable by every one of us on a minute by minute basis – that actual ‘living’ takes place only in the present; and that all else is a mental process of one sort or another. I think the lack of concern and attention we give to the present moment, preferring most of the time to escape into the mind and a lot of diversionary thinking, is the root of much of the world’s problem today.

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