Thursday, April 16, 2009

Living Now

When you consider this post about the emerging power of real-time web alongside your everyday experience of people fiddling with their cellphones without respite like they had an obsessive compulsive disorder, you wonder if empowering the real-time web any further would end the last vestige of normalcy in our networked, over-clocked, connected and always-on lives.

The traditional wisdom has been to live in the moment and to savor it fully. Being connected to a real-time feed of news, information, gossip and commentary could be one interpretation of "living in the present moment" but it is probably not what The Buddha had in mind when he said "As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are. Otherwise you will miss most of your life" or "Life can take place only in the present moment.If we lose the present moment, we lose life" (quotes from Chapter 3 Romancing the Present from the book Timeless Wisdom compiled by Gary W. Fenchuck)

When I read those words of wisdom, I imagine slowing down, pausing long enough to feel the gentle passage of time even while getting the days work done. Listening to the birdsong of dawn give way to to the empty hollowness of a summer afternoon relieved by a sudden splash of rain. To have been able to enjoy all of this while being grateful for what you have in life and also for that which you do not have. That sounds like life taking place in the present moment and a strong awareness of it.

Hooking up to a Twitter feed to keep a pulse on the up-to the minute news of the world, text messaging three people and chatting with a fourth trying to get caught up on the events of their day is not what comes to mind. That would be "losing the present moment" and by transference "losing life" itself. If a Google monopoly really means that we will have little ability to dip into the real-time web and partake of its many bounties, I would guess that is a good thing. Maybe it will force us to focus on the moment and let go of our lives entirely.

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