Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Brief Discussion on Presence and Happiness

Yesterday I got out of work early—

Now wait a minute. That's a rather sad statement, isn't it?

Really? Don't most people "work for the weekend"? Plus, it was the first day of Spring and the sun was radiant and warm...what a bonus!

Indeed, most people do work for the weekend. In fact, living in the future seems to be a common activity. Consider this sage insight from writer David Cane:
As we grow up we seem to pick up the troublesome habit of ignoring the present moment in favor of more important ones that may happen later. We think about what we have to do in the office while we are still showering. We think about being off work while we are at work. We think about 4:30 when it’s 2:30. We think about Friday when it’s Thursday. (
And while the context is a bit more broad, my good friend (in the sense that I quote him incessantly) Eckhart Tolle also writes, "The ego says: Maybe at some point in the future, I can be at peace—if this, that, or the other happens, or I obtain this or become that" (115). So your statement, "I got out of work early," implies unhappiness with what was your present state of being at work, with the present moment; it implies something akin to to getting out of unfortunate perspective when you consider work typically occupies at minimum roughly 25% of our week. And that's sad.


I'm a reader of Tolle, too. And I'm reminded of his statement that, "Unhappiness is an ego-created mental-emotional disease that has reached epidemic proportions" (110). Disease, indeed.

Yes. Tolle might also counsel (and in fact does):
You might say, "What a dreadful day," without realizing that the cold, the wind, and the rain or whatever condition you react to are not dreadful. They are as they are. What is dreadful is your reaction, your inner resistance to it, and the emotion that is created by that resistance. In Shakespeare's words, "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." (110-111)
Okay. So let me try this again.

Now where was I?

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