October 8th, 2007

When insecurity ramps up confusion and doubt , what do you do? Smoke some weed ? Get drunk? Grab a bottle of pills?

I’m not so sure those remedies work. I’ve tried them all. But the best they do is to take us out of the present moment where the doubt and the obfuscation rumble, into the future of imagined happiness, where there is no sound except for the video of whatever the mind sees as an opiate to the unpleasant angst of the present moment.

Even without legal meds or legitmate drugs such as tobacco and alcohol, the mind books the first available seat out of the present moment and into the future. Politicians do this as a way to avoid being perceived as negative. They know how fucked everything is right now and to mention it is to bring the house lights down on their swelling popularity as a charismatic solution to the nations malaise. So they talk only of the future, of children yet to be born and how it is our responsibility to listen to their message of reform or deal with a future thats void of the happiness that we use as an antidote to our present financial and emotional paralysis. If there is a secret to mustering happiness on demand, then the one who can pass that secret on to the rest of us can name their price. Achieving instant happiness with no residual anxiety over the brief exhilaration of joy may be a welcome release from the dogma of restraint and duty that in it’s extreme can leave us angry and dangerous.

We’d all be better off just realizing that the future is an illusion and that it exists within the present moment only. Just as the solution to any anticipated Armageddon is best dealt with in the present moment and not in the lingering discussions of a committee formed to anticipate the effects of such a concussion to the health and safety of the American myth of bliss.

I escape into the media of my mind by clicking the On Demand cells and bringing up a video of the day I made it over the Great Western Barrier Reef into the black purple roil of the open Caribbean sea. I may be the only white man who ever did it. Those watching from shore a quarter mile away saw me disappear into the abyss. Official eyes tucked into the cups of binoculars scanned the reef for any sign of my sea kayak. Nothing. Charles was gone.

But I came back. Barely. As I the waves shot me across the thin layer of water over coral, a tasty 6 foot rogue swept in from the side and lifted the kayak into the sun, spinning me in circles on top of the crest. I flew from the rig and smacked face first into an exposed mound of coral, seconds before a larger wave scooped me up from behind and raked me over the ragged reef at speeds of somewhere around 15 to 20 knots.

Once I slowed I turned onto my backside, the safest float there is over the razor sharp edges of living coral. I saw the kayak 50 yards off port. The paddle bobbed up next to the kayaks battered shell. My sunglasses were gone and so was the camera that I used to snap pictures of my voyage into the open sea. My body bled from cuts and slits left by my encounter with the coral. I still have tiny pieces of the stuff under the surface of my skin.

But I was exhilarated . Happy. Not to be alive, but to have experienced the helplessness I felt at the merciless grace of nature. If only we could conjure that same ecstasy in the sweat of the present moment. But I just did that didnt I? Now if only we could stop believing we actually have a chance at conquering these forces in our daily plod as we do being helpless against them in the stark reality of our first hand experience. You might find happiness right now instead of going off to the movies in your mind.

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