I was listening to a Swedenborg and Life lesson the other day about the types of memory that we have. Some carries over to the afterlife, some does not. During that presentation, what has become old hat came up again. The key to happiness is living in the present. The angels, according to Swedenborg, have memories of the past and can anticipate the future. But, they don’t get stuck in the past and they don’t worry about the future. Jesus told us to not worry about tomorrow.
Living in the past can be painful if you relive events that were traumatic. It can be painful if you hold on to old grudges and don’t forgive. It can be painful if you have guilt about what you did or did not do. So, let that shit go. Conversely, living in the future, we can worry about things that will never happen. We can miss out on what is going on today thinking about how things will be better then. If we can stay in the now. Not an hour ago, not an hour in the future, just right where we are now, we will rarely be either fearful, which is caused about worry about the future, nor will we be angry or remorseful, which comes from living in the past. According to Swedenborg, angels have this down pat.
But, come on. Angels don’t have to worry about what they will eat tomorrow. If they eat at all, they don’t have to earn the money to buy food. They don’t have to think about what they are going to wear. So, how great of an feat is is to not worry about tomorrow when you know what they know? In this world, we face real danger, real lack, real health crises.
As I’m taking my walk and I’m listening to this I realize there are three times when I achieve this balance. They are not the only three times, but it’s when I can hit it fairly consistently. Those three times are when I’m walking, when I’m meditating and when I’m asleep- going to sleep or lying in bed after I’ve woken up. When I meditate, I concentrate on the moment, on sitting on the cushion, on what my body is feeling right now. If I drift to the past or propel myself into the future, I am aware enough to bring myself back to the present moment. It is this back and forth that builds the mental muscles to be able to accomplish this when I am not on the cushion. When I walk, I concentrate on just the walk. The only thing I can accomplish for that hour is walking and meditating. I push aside any thoughts of what else I could or should or have to be doing because there is nothing I can accomplish during that time besides putting one foot in front of the other and clicking down the miles. The furthest out I will let myself think is climbing the hill and coming back into the house. Then, there is the sweet relief of sleep. Crawling into bed at night and knowing the day is over, I’ve done all I can do, is a fantastic experience. Shutting my eyes and drifting into a space where there are no demands on me is a welcome respite at the end of each day. When I wake, my mind wants to immediately jump to the things I have to get done in the coming day, but I try to take at least a few moments to enjoy the break that I’ve just had.
I walk for about an hour a day. I meditate for 20-30 minutes a day. And, I sleep for 7-8 hours. That’s close to 10 hours of time when I can experience the way I’d like the world to be. Expanding that feeling into more and more of my day is the skill that is vital to not just surviving, but thriving in this crazy place.