An Exercise for the Mind

The brewer’s yeast, sprinkled on the popcorn, filled the air with an uncommon aroma.  Snacks were neatly arranged on a bamboo tray.  Some blue cheese, that hadn’t quite made it to the intended cracker,  was smeared across the black leather ottoman.

Banter from one circle bumped into the banter coming from other circles.  The criss-crossing conversations canceled each other out and I found myself in an envelope of absolute quiet.  I looked around and asked myself, “How did I get here?”

Do you ever do that?  Do you ever ask yourself how you got to be where you are?  At this precise moment in time?  At this precise place on the planet?  At this precise state of your mind?

Not that it matters.  At any moment you are where you are supposed to be.  Everything is always perfect.  Everything is as it should be because nothing happened previously that would have made it any different.

Sounds great.  But I admit there are times when I look around and think I don’t want to be where I am.  I don’t want to be here!

It is, therefore, an interesting exercise to travel backwards through your life and try to conjure up all the forks in the road, physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual, that you encountered along your way.  Which did you choose?  Can you remember?  It is difficult to do because there were millions of them, most of which you weren’t even aware.  But each path you chose led to another fork in the road, and once again, you had to make a decision.

J. D. Krishnamurti used to say, and I am paraphrasing generously, that we are continually confronted with these forks in the road.  Some are fairly inconsequential, or so we think.  Should I have eggs over easy or a bowl of oatmeal?  Others obviously have greater consequences.  Should I be a doctor or a lawyer?  And some have the greatest consequences of all.  Shall I simply know the truth or shall I live it?

Krishnamurti also said that whenever you are confronted with options, from the moment the options are presented until the moment the choice is made, you are in your mind and therefore incapable of achieving the state of  Now.  It is wasted time.  You are dead.  Being alive is experiential.  Make the choice as quickly as possible and then experience it.  Notice everything.  Relish it.

We all have chosen certain paths as they appeared before us. There can never be regrets, only things to be learned as we await the next fork in the road.  And there will be one.

Which fork will you choose?  Will you remember what you learned from your last choice?  What are your current frames of reference?  Or is it better to have no frames of reference at all?

I do not have the answers.  I am not yet living all that I know to be true.  I am far from enlightened.  I merely wonder as I wander.  To ponder or not to ponder, that is the question.


5 thoughts on “An Exercise for the Mind

  1. lindalou5150

    only if we work it, baby!
    ‘dreaming in the moment’ seems to follow the be here now path…in reverse or in the future dreamin serves many purposes on many levels…but can be dangerous if we find that we are hoping that the yesterdays and tomorrows become the todays for us…
    i find that this gets me stuck…any sentence that i create that precedes the whine of:
    why can’t it be like it used to________
    why isn’t/aren’t
    what happened to
    how come it can’t be like it was _________________

    then, there i sit, miserably waking up each day detesting my presence in my awakeness into THIS and missing out what just might in store…
    i can miss it and still dream of what’s next..just need to be careful and to watch out for the quicksand…


  2. Phil Polizatto

    I love the concept of “dreaming in reverse.” Is it possible for one to “dream in forward?” Do we have dreams of the future, portends of what is to be? If we do, do the dreams come true?

    Often in writing my blog, I am trying to generate a dialogue, and so leave the reader with questions rather than answers. If all who visit here share their answers, perhaps we will all benefit, as I have from your post. Thanks.


  3. lindalou5150

    i cannot plunge to the depths of esoteria with you while trying to run this food bank today, my friend…but…pondering the question of “how did i get here” is different than living inside the question and dreaming in reverse..’til later, my twin..remember, here, there, now or then, you are loved…


  4. Phil Polizatto

    That is so beautifully and succinctly expressed my friend. It is the dilemma to which I alluded: To ponder or not to ponder. To think about not thinking.

    A virtual zen koan you present us. If one wonders about wonderment, is the wonder lost? Why then do spiritual masters ask us the proverbial questions such as “what is the sound of one hand clapping?” and “if a tree falls in the forest….? etc. Is it to boggle the mind into mindlessness?



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