Daddy's Christmas Angel

Monday, January 21, 2013

What Does It Mean to Be Present?

"Waterlilies" original pastel MMSikes
What does it mean to be present? That's a provocative subject I've begun to ponder. 

Are you attentive to the person conversing with you inside a crowded room? Sentence fragments and words from others around you creep in and garner some of your attention. You try to listen, but the clutter of sounds pulls you away. You cannot stay in the present.

Now, even while talking on the telephone, you are probably multitasking. Reading e-mails on your computer. Doing a Google search. And we all know about those who text and drive. Never in the present.

As I consider the way a writer works, I don't believe he/she is really present. Not often anyway. Writers are off on flights of fantasy to some far away dream-struck destination. They are considering, recording, remembering, but they are not present. Even now, as I strike the letters on my keyboard, my mind is far away to other lands, a scattering of ideas, a fantasy landscape that no one but I will dare to enter. Even the mundane pulls me away from the present. What we might have for dinner. What I will do tonight and tomorrow. In fleeting images, all these thoughts pass through my mind.

I think of the true artist. Is she the one who is forever present? Hypnotized by imagery, drugged with paints, her mind connects with color on the canvas and is held like a magnet that will not let go. Time flies by, but she does not notice. She is caught in the present.

Writer. Artist. What does it mean to be present?

Are you?

--Mary Montague Sikes


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thinking about a guitar riff I want to play...
Actually I focus well on one thing at a time. Guess that's why I can only work on one book at a time.

Morgan Mandel said...

You are making me feel guilty. I do tend to concentrate on other matters when people are talking, even when it's my DH. My mind keeps flying off on tangents!

Morgan Mandel

TL Cooper said...

I've always thought of being in the present a little like meditating. In meditation, the idea is to bring yourself back not to feel bad about the fleeting thought that popped into your head. So what? The thought showed up, acknowledge it, and let it flow right on by... That thought, the words that floated toward you, the momentary distraction, they are all part of the moment, too... That's my understanding of being in the present.

Chuck said...

You caught me! My biggest failing...out in the open. I am in the present, past, and future all at once and then wonder why I am exhausted at the end of the day and not accomplishing everything the morning had planned. Even while I was reading your post I was not fully engaged in the present. The fate of society today.

Monti said...

Morgan, I agree. It is so hard to concentrate. I would so like to be better at it.

Monti said...

Alex, maybe that's why you are so good at keeping up with everyone. I marvel at focus and concentration!

Monti said...

TL, thanks for visiting. I have trouble with meditation. Also, yoga. That's a place to be in the present. Not!

Monti said...

Yep, Chuck. That's me, too. Present, past, future--all glopted (not a word) together! Sad!