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Tom Toles
Posted at 07:15 AM ET, 12/17/2012

Holiday present

One of the hardest things to do is live in the present moment, and this is mostly because it is so LITTLE! The Past? It stretches out in a leisurely vastness in which you could spend 100,000,000 years or so with the dinosaurs before you even sit down with a sandwich. The future is the same way, theoretically at least, except this week, when the Mayans (blast from the past!) will menace us with their calendar, a big round stone, that if they’d thought to put it and three others on a wagon, it would have simplified their pyramid building.

There are a couple of nice features to End of the World days. First, they are always wrong, so we’ll get to have another weekend. But as it happens, I will be in a plane on the 21st, so if the world DOES happen to disappear, I’ll get a good view, and will be safe, though longer-term prospects will be problematic. Second, even if only in a pretend way, the end of the world can help us focus on this wee small, fast-moving present moment of our lives and try to live in it for once, even though it’s usually like trying to stand on one foot atop a flagpole.

I don’t have any special wisdom regarding living in the present. I tend to be future-oriented, and I have a family member who is just the opposite. But whatever, the mystics have something interesting to say about it. which i will report here, inaccurately. As speedy and narrow as the present moment is, if you do manage to slide in and get comfortable, it paradoxically expands, into infinity. If you want to experience immortality, that’s a way to do it. Anyway, small children seem to live there, and aside from the problem of lining up the next meal for yourself, it’s not a bad place to be. The problem with being always future oriented is that it never gets here. A friend on his deathbed said that it’s the people in your life that are the important thing, and the rest is distraction. I’m inclined to believe him. Those people are right here, right now.

By  |  07:15 AM ET, 12/17/2012

 
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