Unfolding the Moment

I guess what I’m trying to say is, pay attention. As creatures of habit we fill the space around us with our decisions, our categories, and our unceasingly acquisitive store of data points. To be human is to carry around a satchel of these conceptual tidbits, eventually identifying that bag as ourselves.

The atomistic fallacy requires us to assert a rationalization of our existence. In this process we are… almost there – not quite – just about to add the final piece. We become puzzle piecers. But this puzzle has no edge pieces. And before you get too cocky about finishing it maybe you better check the puzzle box. The number of pieces is “infinity plus one”.

Our existence is not exclusively or even primarily utilitarian. Life is actually more about sensing presence. And tucked away between every bit of this semi chaotic collection that defines the organization of our own usefulness is this presence.

In this silence which is presence, in this purported empty time, there comes an Elysian courier. She carries a message to which we must attend: “Listen to the moment”. 

Just as we give ourselves over in listening to another (which is only allowable by our silence) or in solitary silence, in the endless emptying out of every sound we hold precious and every thought we hold dear if only for a moment, the discipline of silence is meant to pry ourselves open. In this way listening makes absent the unrequired and manifests the essential. 

Between us and another is the resonant space that creates a third. And establishing relationship is a sacred process creating some universal third thing that resembles meaning. 

But this meaning, in the sense of the value that is existence, is not approachable if we simply move from one event to another, from one data point to the next. That process is a plod. It is fixed in scope and locked up with our predispositions.

Listen to the moment. Pause. Sense the gap. 

It begins with an interruption. First we stop. And then we begin. In the restart we also return to where we were, this time with greater focus. Attentive. Listening. Giving the moment it’s due. Giving the moment a chance.

The moment is folded in on itself. At first glance it looks inert, like some filler material between events. But by pausing, and by subjecting the importance of the events to it, by making the data points that bracket it inferior, by actually stopping the incessant tick tock of assessment, the moment unfolds.

The folds are folded in on themselves. And those enfolded folds are folded also. The enfolded is always there, as is the moment it holds. If you know that one thing absolutely, that each moment is enfolded paradise, it will always be there ready for you to open it. And to be opened by it.

This can be understood as a reversal of the directionality we assume to be true about how we experience life. We think of ourselves as collectors of data. Much as early science thought of vision as a force emanating from the eyes. And even our modern, common sense view of experience is that we take in what is “out there“ and process it, organize it.

But what if the reverse is true? What if the direction of experience is actually coming to us, as a kind of givenness, a superabundant gift? What if we are tasked instead with clearing the decks in order to appreciate that?

It seems to me this reversal of directionality is a prerequisite to the possible life. I would never argue that the more quotidian experience of examination, analysis and decision-making has no place. Life requires that we project our gaze onto world at times in order to sort chaos, solve problems, live responsibly.

But we must also realize that this conception is wholly inadequate. We need to know that light is actually coming into our eyes from the world.

I remember a child’s toy that fascinated me. It was a small tablet of paper that when dropped into a cup of water would slowly unfold into a swan or some other such beautiful thing.

The possible moment is that small, enfolded, compressed bit of paper. Only we can provide the water that allows its hidden secrets to be revealed.

The depth of that revelation is profound, the treasure in sensory detail and the wealth of awareness is its own boundless reward.

In every enfolded moment lies this unbounded region of life that we can not afford to deny. We must listen to the moment. Its charge says “Ask me”. It is available. 

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