Wasting Time @hcgarnett
By Henry Garnett
It’s not what I do with my time. It’s not that I spend it doing the wrong things. Its that I care too much about the wrong things.
I regret what I care about.
My attention is bound up in petty concerns, in moments coming or going. This is the obvious paradox of course.
We all know this epiphany is coming at some point in our lives. That we will look back on the things that captured our attention, the things that drew us away from the true meaning we know we should live for.
It is always now.
Our conscious awareness of the present moment is in some relevant sense already a memory. But as a matter of conscious experience, the reality of our lives is always now.
I find this is a liberating truth about the nature of the human mind. For me, there is probably nothing more important to understand about it than that. It’s the lens through which we should communicate in everything we do.
The past is a memory, a thought arising in the present. The future is merely anticipated, arising in the same way.
I spend most of my life forgetting this truth, repudiating it, fleeing it. The horror is how successful I’ve been.
Like many, I don’t think I ever really manage to connect with the present moment and find fulfilment there. It’s always marred with the continuous hoping I’ll become happy in the future. Even when I think I’m in the present moment, I’m always in a very subtle way looking over its shoulder anticipating whats coming next.
We’re subjectively unaware of most of what our mind is doing but what matters is consciousness and its contents. Our experience of the world depends on that.
The frame we put around the present moment is important, and it largely determines our perception of it. But it’s felt possible that I’ve experienced life more nakedly than this, without the same obstruction.
I need to pay attention to the present moment closely enough so that I’m not doing anything to it. It’s not a dream. Although I guess as a neurological matter it kind of is, it’s just constrained by the inputs of an external world. And I’ve been a mere hostage to them. Hostage to the next thought that comes careening into my consciousness. Forgetting the moment. Forgetting what I am doing with my time right now. And it feels now like it is racing by me.
The SCA happens very quickly and I find it very difficult to look at it as an overall experience and learning process sometimes. I think I’ve been merely seeing it more as a series of briefs if I’m being honest, the latest of which has raised a few questions about my own relationship with my time here and how it’s passing.
At the start of the year, I made a definitive list of all the things I want to accomplish here and things that really need to be changed about my life. None of it really addressed this wasting of time, and how I should value it whats happening around me every day.
I’m more aware of how I constantly try to create and repair a world that my mind wants to be in now. Each thing on that list seems to promise a path back to the moment, where I will have a good enough reason to be happy. I am trying not to look at it that way anymore. I am going to
strive for it so I can achieve something great here, but learning how to value our moment in this fleeting experience is more important to me now.