It’s Always ‘NOW’… brought to You by ‘Then’…

 

Ruminating on a lecture I recently watched by neuroscience researcher and popular “new atheist” Sam Harris on ‘Death and the Present Moment’, among other things, I was impressed by the fact that he was able to cajole 4000+ atheists in to doing a 5 minute “mindfulness meditation” akin to certain Buddhists practices. And rather effortlessly, too, I should mention. No small feat. While I love Sam’s approach —  his research, presentation, and gift for reasonable yet concise (and sometimes rather entertainingly pointed) debates, some of his more recent concepts are, admittedly, both a tad difficult to wrap my head around, and somewhat counter-intuitive (which he’d likely be the first to acknowledge with a sublime smile — think Mona Lisa).

Enjoying the moment...

Not to be confused with credulity, but rather a distinct set of “other” tools we as humans seem to quite realistically be in possession of, when I’ve relied on my intuition (AKA “spidey senses”) thoroughly — and I mean with no ego-based distortions taking place somewhere between the thought arising and the subsequent response to it (causality), more often than not, it’s been the “right decision”. Not too scientific, I know, yet nevertheless, most (if not all of you) will be able to relate to this idea from experience alone. Experience firmly rooted in the past.

In fact, as Sam often maintains, we’re constantly being bombarded with thoughts that seemingly arise out of nowhere, moment to moment; “hostages” to an often negative or foreboding “inner voice”. I can totally relate, and so can you. It’s human, after all. Additionally, he states that our communication arises in real time from the same mysterious place; no one ever knowing what their next string of words will look or sound like. Again, I completely agree. Who fully forms complete mental sentences prior to speaking aloud during a lively conversation, after all? We just “go with it”; trust ourselves to be able to properly articulate our thoughts with a tool set combining languages and specific words that we’ve all learned many years ago.

[thoughts and experiences] are also clearly valid conduits to an enriched Present, without which the NOW would literally be a blank.

What I start to see when I explore these facts is the direct and undeniably imperative effect the past brings to bear. Simply put, without that plethora of experiences we went through, even the most basic dialogue in the NOW would be fully impossible to conduct. Nor do I think Sam Harris would disagree with that, I guess I’m just not ready to throw in and concede that the past is merely an artifact in many ways, or that the thoughts associated with it should necessarily be dismissed as “just thoughts” or “sensations arising in consciousness”. While that’s true, they are also clearly valid conduits to an enriched Present, without which the NOW would literally be a blank. While we’re not slaves to our collective past, I don’t think we need to glibly write it off as “not useful”. It absolutely is.

This post was in no way meant to be a pseudo-scientific or “spooky physics”/new age rebuttal, and is likely an over-simplified response to an observation, but the deeper I thought about it, the stronger it held up. I’ll likely elaborate on it at a later date…

For NOW, I’m going to enjoy the moment… it really is all we have.

 

Jon Mychal / Toronto — June 12 2012

 

 

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The Process…

Keep your beautiful head above water.

 

“Sometimes I see ladies walking and crying;

Those are my blue skies;

Those are my high heels.”

(poetic thought — referring to a woman I saw a few days ago on Bayview ave. — crying while walking and on her mobile phone)

The latter part refers to the sky I’m presently viewing while perched on a stool, looking out the window on the 2nd floor of Indigo’s Starbucks — Yonge and Eglinton. The history here… yet today, the sky is “mine” — nostalgic; sentimental. There’s a constant flowing stream of women walking up and down Yonge st. below me — I Love heels!!

The correlation is not an “obvious” one — yet any of these many stylish women could just as likely be crying as the woman, stylish in heels and designer threads — was on Bayview not so many days ago…

Ah poetry —  so wonderfully convoluted; so reliant on intuition and shades of nuanced subtleties to be “understood”, or at the very least, interpreted. All necessary to the process.

Melancholy is lightly touching me, and I’m receiving of her attention — “she” is one of my oldest and dearest friends. Today, however, we’ll be chaperoned by Hope. Always a great threesome!

In my peripheral vision, a black lady beside me unwraps something edible and seems to move like a plant in the wind, or a flexible robot — stiff fluidity… very odd. Outside, the masses travel as though on horizontal “moving sidewalks” like those found in airports; lost in their own thoughts while I use them to make sense of my own. Melancholy is lightly touching me, and I’m receiving of her attention — “she” is one of my oldest and dearest friends. Today, however, we’ll be chaperoned by Hope. Always a great threesome!

I really want to write a song — or two — about Nicholas*. So I will…

*(update June 12 2012 — see ‘Lights’)

 

Jon Mychal / Toronto — Feb 10 2011

 

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A Day in the Life…

(Journaling while in transit)

Breezy day — coolish; some sun — I’m sitting on a bench in the makeshift GO station at York Mills and Yonge, once again waiting for the ‘Oshawa 94’ to roll in and whisk me away, back to Ajax, and what might possibly be the last recording session with Daniel L. at his place.

We’ll be tracking all electric guitars today, and possibly vocals, as well — time will tell. My “spidey senses” are telling me that the Bass parts — at least in the verses — aren’t where they should be. I might consider revisiting them once I’m back in my own space, but certainly not now, while he’s “on the clock”…

There’s more clarity in a cold space; the air is thinner — more space to move and think, unobstructed by plumped up water particles and heat…

(pause — bus arrived)

Pleasant driver — nice. Not always the case. A few moments of small talk as I boarded, then found a seat. It’s frigid on this vehicle today — I had to put my jacket on, but I like it. There’s more clarity in a cold space; the air is thinner — more space to move and think, unobstructed by plumped up water particles and heat…

(edit)

… just looking up, I noticed I’m already deep in to Pickering — possibly on the cusp of Ajax. Time is so salient as it just flows by when we disregard it. I’m feeling calm, at ease. I have a vague headache and I’m tired, and while looking around, a sense of soft disconnect is present, but nothing to panic about — no negative feelings at all. A moment ago, I was struck by the thought:

The rate at which I’m writing today — if sustained since the commencement of this journal in July 2004 — would have filled this book up in no time. Which was the original intent. I was inclined to feel regret, but nipped it in the bud, for if I had done so, the rich and dynamic tome which I now hold would never have existed; spanning over 6 years and butting disparate situations together like building blocks.

I have a feeling that my first book to be completed is not ’12’, but this one that I now write in. That feeling extends to the idea that I might be finished within the next few weeks, and upon completion, can safely tuck it away, returning to it so as to review everything at a distant point “down the road”.

I shall look forward to that day.

(pause to leave bus)

In reflection, I seem to recall myself feeling like something was “coming on”, which usually meant a vivid melancholy; one from which I could extract fantastically poetic visions and references.

It seems I’ve beaten Daniel to our rendezvous point, so I’ll quickly pick up where I hastily left off:

Now I’m sitting on a bench at Westney station, observing my fellow hominids and experiencing the elements first hand once again: cool breeze, hot sun — lots of ambient sounds. To my west, a belt of varying green trees is being tousled by the wind, and I’m aware that at any moment, I could enter in to a “hyper-poetic” head space.This is of interest, for on the bus, I commented on being/feeling a “soft disconnect”. I’m realizing that these states might actually be induce-able? Granted, at certain times, with greater ease than others, but induce-able all the same…

(in reflection, I seem to recall myself feeling like something was “coming on”, which usually meant a vivid melancholy; one from which I could extract fantastically poetic visions and references)

(edit)

 

Jon Mychal / Ajax — Sept. 23 2010

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“I’ll have a large coke — no ice…”

The future is NOW.

… a statement we’ve all heard at some point across this fat and spoiled continent, most likely in a fast food joint.

This past weekend, while out for brunch (see “Stuff white people like” www.stuffwhitepeoplelike.com), ‘Mother Nature’ /aka Gaia /aka ‘The Goddess’TM, etc. came calling, and off to the ‘lieu’ we went (I know how it sounds, but it wasn’t like that — get your mind out of the gutter!).

As I stood there, thinking (among other things), I couldn’t help but notice the presence of, and then question the ‘wisdom’ behind needing to fill a urinal basin with fresh ice cubes?!

(My male readers will undoubtedly relate to this phenomenon, and yes, girls — this does actually happenat “fine restaurants” and bars everywhere)

There's complimentary ice in the washroom...

When I returned to the table, the absurdity lingered, and I mentioned it to my ‘galPal’TM, who was understandably surprised by this practice.

As most of you are aware, this is the week that Toronto will host one of the largest geo-political events to date: the G20 Summit.  Along with the puffed up politicians from as many countries, there will be an accompanying litany of strident protesters — like reverse groupies, almost.

In addition to poverty, globalization, and bad fashion sense (shame on you, fur trade), the opposition will also be lamenting the shortage of clean water in third world and developing countries.  A serious concern indeed. I’m sensing that you’re with me.

Liquid diamonds...

 

So I’m pissing on what a villager somewhere else would — with desperate gratitude — gladly trade for a “shiny stone” they happened to find in the parched and depleted soil of their arid climate.

That very stone — depending upon it’s size and weight — could, in the wacky west, afford me a mansion, the car of my dreams, early retirement, and likely a personalized squad of *cheerleaders to help me enjoy it all…

*(yeah, like from an “adult” film.)

One thing I would NOT have to concern myself with on this hypothetical spending spree would be the business of locating fresh, clean water… nor would I have to pay a dime for it:  hell, every up-scale establishment from here to L.A would have urinals full of it, available to me just like the complimentary mints in the porcelain bowls at the maitre d’ stations of said places…

mmmmmmmm... satisfying the outer self. (looks can be deceiving)

How skewed this picture is:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those of you who have seen the documentaries ‘Flow’ and/or ‘Blue Gold’, which deal with the water shortage/crisis facing most of the world’s population, there might be an extra layer of contempt for this practice. For those of you who haven’t, please do…

… you might find yourself giving those who fore-go the ice (when ordering colossal portions of liquid sugar) a ‘pass’.

Theatre of the absurd.

mmmmmmmmmmmm... satisfying the inner self.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(sidenote:  It’s raining again.  Yummmmmmm)

 

Jon Mychal — Toronto/June 22 2010

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Movement and Shift

 

(June 16 2010)

Staring out the window at the tonal sky, glass in hand…

Waiting for that wrinkle to once again manifest;

A pinching of senses;

funneled through a thick-glassed bottom;

Modern nostalgia loops behind me,

While the wind whistles through the joint and tousles the curtains…

Too bright yet to fire up the candles;

So patiently I sit in the fleeting light, waiting to expand my art;

The latest contributor rather predictably tardy…

Past, present and future dance across aforementioned tonal sky… then coalesce,

Forming new thought patterns vaguely reminiscent of the before:

This night is an old friend…

Jon Mychal — Toronto/June 18 2010

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