This afternoon, during some part of my all-important senior citizen nap time, I had another of my Aha! moments where everything in the cosmos becomes crystal clear for a brief moment of intuitive comprehensibility.
And this time, astoundingly, I wasn't even under the influence of a psycho-active substance. Aside from my brain, which now and then approaches a genuine psychologically "active" state of being. As I felt it did today.
I was mulling over some of the things I needed to do in the realm of my retired-person civic activism.
For example, I'm engaged in a fight against a wastefully expensive bond measure in my town. I started to think about arguments I needed to write before the November election, debating points that would sway voters, how I'd respond if this or that happened.
Then a Flash Realization burst into my mulling-mind.
Instead of preparing for various sorts of imaginary futures that almost certainly would never come to be -- especially in a manner anywhere close to what I was thinking could happen -- I should be focused on being prepared to flexibly and capably respond to whatever is going to happen.
Now, I realize that this last sentence where I tried to describe my Aha! moment may seem to be akin to the psychedelic experience I described in "Mini-secret of universe revealed."
Back in the late 1960’s, illicit pharmacology brought me regularly to marvelous “Aha!” insights into the ultimate nature of the universe. The reason I currently neither have a Nobel prize in physics, nor am I recognized as a great spiritual sage, is that the insights were only insightful while in my artificially altered state of consciousness.
They could be shared, though, which lent them more validity than they probably deserved. One moonless night in 1968 a friend and I were rolling rocks off the edge of a ravine in the Santa Cruz mountains, marveling at how long they took to noisily reach the bottom. Moving on to deeper questions, we then stood in the darkness, trying to grok with our mescaline-fueled minds what everything was all about.
We could feel it so clearly. But what was it that we were feeling? We struggled for words to express the plenitude of this psychedelic experience. “The universe is…” I’d say. “Yes, the universe is…” my companion would respond. We almost had it! One more try! “The universe is…” I said again. And then—I swear to god this is true—we simultaneously proclaimed: “a paper bag turned inside out!”
It was so right, so true, so perfect. What a relief! Finally, all the searching was over. No more pouring over the Tibetan Book of the Dead for clues to what lies beyond this veil of maya. It is the other side of this paper bag of a universe! In the morning, none of this made a whit of sense to either of us. Oh well, that’s cool.
Still, I feel that today's mini-revelation has more staying power. For one thing, it fits with what I've been learning and experiencing since I started taking Tai Chi classes about 12 years ago.
You can never know exactly (or often, even close to) what someone else is going to do. The best thing is to be sensitively aware to what is happening around you, then respond appropriately in a centered, composed, calm fashion. This is one of the favorite sayings of my Tai Chi instructor, who, when asked what the martial arts application of a particular move or posture is, tells us "It depends."
Meaning, it is impossible to anticipate what needs to be done until the moment of doing arises. Life is unpredictable. So are fighting, attacks, self-defense.
My intuition today echoed this sentiment. I'd often, or usually, be better off not trying to predict exactly what I need to do in the days, hours, minutes, or even seconds to come. I've already realized this in the religious sphere, since, for example, I no longer worry about an imaginary afterlife.
If it happens, I'll deal with it then. For now, I'm solely occupied with this life.
There was a moment of peace that came with my "be prepared for anything, rather than some particular thing" naptime realization.
Relaxing, awareness of the present moment, being ready to handle whatever comes along as gracefully as possible -- this frame of mind struck me as way more beneficial than trying to prepare for all sorts of future events that either won't happen at all, or not anywhere close to how I was visualizing them.
Works for me. Until it doesn't. The nice thing about cosmic realizations is that there's no end of them.