redwill wrote:It is difficult to live in the moment.
Do others feel how difficult and ultimately troubling this is? I have experienced some pretty memorable moments in my life. Tame compared to others, perhaps, but remarkable nonetheless. The problem is that when I am actually experiencing such a moment, I am distracted by the knowledge that it won't last. This inevitably lessens the enjoyment of the moment.
Take a great experience in your life. It could be having a fantastic meal, witnessing nature in all of its majesty on say, a hiking or biking trip, being in a truly unique place that relatively few others will ever go, a great sexual experience, or whatever. Do you dwell on the transience of the moment more so than on the pleasure and sublimity of the moment? Do you think, "I don't want this to end," while realizing that it will end all-too-soon and thereby fall out of the moment itself?
I was thinking about this today because of one of my dogs. All he seems to want in life is to have his chest rubbed. He will forego food, going outside to play, and every other thing dogs get so excited about, if only someone will rub his chest. He lives for it. He will sit up on his haunches like a prairie dog imploring someone to rub his chest. So I was rubbing his chest today for only a couple of minutes. He seemed to be in a truly great place. But I kept wondering if he was thinking about the fact that I was not going to be rubbing his chest for very long. I have other things to do, after all. Was he living in the moment as I seem unable to do?
Years ago I was told that Buddhist monks try VERY hard to live in the moment. In fact, they try to live in the second, the millisecond, the nanosecond. It's a challenge for them to live in the shortest possible time segment. Sort of like in calculus, taking the limit of time as time approaches zero. I suppose that if you can take the moment to the very edge of the infinite shortness of time, as it were, then you are truly approaching enlightenment.
Anyway, it's difficult, and something that I have never been able to master. Maybe there's a reason I'm not a Buddhist monk. Maybe I can blame the hubbub of modern civilization. Maybe I can blame the Industrial Revolution. Maybe that's it.
Damn you, Thomas Newcomen.
I feel like this post might come off as being existential bull****. (I'm wondering how many are thinking "well that's a little redundant with "by Kraftster," isn't it?)
To me, this dilemma sounds very much like the existential crisis or coming to grips with the absurdity of life, i.e., I am here by mere chance, I have no greater purpose, and "I" will be completely out of existence in the blink of an eye. Faced with those facts, one can live in despair or one can find joy in the fact that one exists at all where the alternative is far more likely, meaning in living the f*** out of life^FN while we have it. "The struggle itself [...] is enough to fill a man's heart."
The life/existential dilemma seems to be the macro version of the life's moments dilemma that you're having.
I'm all in on the struggle itself being enough. I try to live every day against the backdrop of the realization of the absurdity of life and keep each day in proper perspective of the fact that I am an awesome human being because I'm here and I love myself (not in a warm and fuzzy way but in the way you'd hear someone say "I loooove this song!" is the type of excitement that I say that with) -- what other choice do I have?
I basically try to approach every moment the same way. It feels a bit silly sometimes to be doing something totally insignificant like playing FIFA on playstation or something and be approaching it with the same over-the-top vigor that I would approach moments of far greater magnitude, but every moment is incredibly impactful in the face of the absurdity of existence and the alternative (nothingness). I will jump around my living room by myself when I score a big goal in a FIFA match and feel absolutely no shame in doing so. Why should I? I am alive and getting to do something that I enjoy.
By the same token, and this admittedly takes a little bit more work, the same approach should apply to the more difficult moments in life. I couldn't dream of saying it more perfectly and succinctly than Christopher Hitchens: "I wish to be spared nothing that belongs to a proper life span." Even those tough moments in life, the micro struggles within the macro struggle of living in the face of the absurdity of life, are deserving of being experienced with the same passion and vigor.
Unfortunately, I don't know how to flip the switch and go from being dragged down by the absurd to being uplifted by it. It just sort of happened for me. I feel like it sounds silly and fake a lot of the time when I try to put it into words, but it couldn't be more genuine. There are definitely times where I lose sight of all of this and get angry when I certainly should not, or where I begin to wish I didn't have to face painful times, but I do try to catch myself when that happens and remember how lucky I am just to be.
Hat tip to Benny Fitz for coining the phrase "enjoy the f*** out of it (life)." If I ever write some type of Kraftster manifesto, I'm pretty sure the title will be "Live the F*** Out of It."
Edit: So I guess what I am saying is, try to not let the transience of the moment get you down. Be happy that you experienced the moment at all, as fleeting as it may have been.