Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Past is Behind Us

Last night when I finally convinced myself to climb into bed, around 1am, I had one of those existential moments that only comes around so often and leaves you feeling slightly unsettled even after it has passed.

I had put on the movie Boondock Saints, an old favorite, to fall asleep to. I was laying there, extremely relaxed, when it suddenly occurred to me that the past doesn't exist... not really. All that is left of things that happened in the past is consequences and memories, and both of those things inevitably fade away.

Now, this might not seem like that much of a revelation to most people, I mean in writing it down in words it is pretty obvious, right? But I have always valued the past strongly, it is alive to me in so many ways. Ever since I can remember, sharing stories of the past was a fundamental part of socializing with my friends, with expressing myself. Sometimes I think that my high school and college friends more know about my childhood than most people know about their spouse's. I was always surprised how hard it was to get people to reciprocate this. I would ask my high school friends, "tell me something about when you were little," and they would be at a loss for words. I am unsure whether this desire to embrace and share the past is something of my own making or something instilled in my by my parents, either way, it definitely is part of what defines who I am.

So, the sudden realization that the past will never exist again and is in fact mere imagination in so many ways came as quite a shock. It was a very sad moment, and at the same time it was the closest I have ever come to being "in the moment" in the Buddhist sense of the word. I am not sure whether that is a good or a bad thing. Of course, it was gone withing minutes, replaced by the worries of the coming days.

Meanwhile, the studying for my exam tomorrow is not going very well. Every time I start to work through a problem or something, I feel like its no good, of no use. Chances are I will be fine on this exam, but I still wish I could do something more to prepare.


Anonymous said...

trying to

Anonymous said...

sorry I had to figure this new system out. Just so glad your Dad sent me all this great reading. Thanks to you for suggesting it. ipyh