Imagination, logic, humour, contemplation, love, discernment, planning, compassion, idleness and enquiry – all things our mind needs to exercise. And by mind, I don’t mean only the brain… I mean our mind/heart/spirit, which is housed in our whole body and beyond… 心 kokoro, as the Japanese say.
We talk of the “absentminded professor” or the day-dreamer who is “off with the fairies” as not being “fully in the present”, because we see the present as incorporating only two elements: the here and the now. And, of course, these two elements are quite different: the now is not necessarily here; just as the here is not necessarily now. The now is everywhere and the here is everywhen, and my mind is not limited to what my eyes can see and ears can hear. It is capable of flying free into the greater ever-present.
It is a very important discipline to cultivate the art of being fully in our senses, and fully aware of our surroundings; the place our body is currently in; the tea I am currently imbibing… Some folk will laugh at that statement, as if it were the norm. Well, perhaps they are more grounded than many of us, and we need them to help the rest of us be more vigilant, just as we need the visionaries and “absent-minded” folk to check on the über-present.
It is because we do not practice being mindfully present in the here and now and in the every-when and ever-where that we destroy our environment and hurt our relationships with those who share the space we inhabit. We need to not only focus on our current location and activity, taking time to be still and simply listening outwardly; our mind and imagination and spirit also needs to soar inwardly to places and ideas and feelings and fantasies, not just to excite and nurture our innermost being, but to test and check on the ramifications of what we are doing here and now. How does it affect others here and there; now, and in a one hundred years?
We need to be fully in the “ever-present.” We need balance, and we need each other.