Perhaps you were wrong. You might have been right but pretend, just for a moment, imagine, that you were wrong and that you had anticipated the culture of testimony to have survived longer than it did. You know the one. It’s the culture which seemed to sprout in Harpo Studios with the Oprah Winfrey talkshow to name just one. After all, it took the general population by storm. No longer did you have to be in a trance or speaking tongues, the age of disclosure and testimony had arrived for everyone. The past was a playing field to be shared and explored over and over again in front of bigger and bigger audiences.
But if you are right then this comes as no surprise. It’s over and the next step on society’s ladder has been the acquisition of an empty vocabulary of self-help and therapy. Not that there’s anything wrong with self-help or therapy but this language has crept into the mouths of many, lacking the research, knowledge and intrapersonal insight necessary to make any of it a viable and practical option for themselves.
This new vocabulary, this social language serves two purposes: Firstly it is used as currency. Achievements are only worthwhile if the achiever has traversed the desert, slain dragons and emerged, having completed Jung’s ‘hero’s journey’. It seems no longer enough to exist but the accompaniment of a large amount of bloodstained baggage is essential to the validation of any experience. Secondly it becomes a series of labels.
Words describing emotional states are now merely labels. Furthermore, each label has a caveat of ‘future possible’. Sadly, because of the transience of each moment, each label risks the potential of being no more than a lie as each passing millisecond offers something different. While this vocabulary structures our intentions in the direction of goals of self-actualisation, which of course are always desirable, they never ground the energy of the user into the present.
Unless this is available in the present moment it becomes no more than an illusion to chase after and ultimately will render the adventurer empty, devoid of the present and doomed to never be happy.
You see, the focus of testimony depends on the presentation or sharing of the agues of the past and how this currency or labelling will extend to provide or entitle them to a future result. This often causes the person to spout such nonsense stating they are “a work in progress”. This is no more than an internal contract never to be happy or satisfied with self.
Of course, have a goal or a focus, but once this is set, call in your resources, execute your plan and examine your feet firmly upon the ground. Be in the present moment. If you are attached to the end result of anything and looking forward to that moment, always keeping that illusion of possible future, then the present moment cannot be seen, experienced, appreciated or understood.
Isn’t it time that we stop focusing so much on what we will be next year or next month? Isn’t it time that we allowed ourselves to look in the mirror and be able to say…
“I am finished, at this second, this point in time, to the best of my abilities, in this present moment, I am complete.”
Anything else must surely be a waste of time and energy. Looking to the future will help you to achieve and experience a single moment of completion. If you live in the present, you could, instead, end up experiencing hundreds of thousands of moments in the process of your goal’s completion. If you have ever achieved anything and ended up feeling a sense of anticlimax about the achievement, this is a good indication that you were living in the illusion of ‘future possible’.
While it is prudent to carry an umbrella in view of the raincloud ahead don’t forget to enjoy the texture of the fabric as you tuck it beneath your arm, smell the changing humidity and notice each step, each breath to and from your body.
There is only now and you are complete, worth loving, part of the universe and most of all, present.
Text: © JL Nash, 2014
Image: © Cédric Roulliat, 2014. Courtesy of the artist.