Wednesday, December 28, 2011

An Auld Lang Syne Dialogue

                                                       (Click image to play)
                                                   scene from "Midnight in Paris"
 1: the state of being homesick : homesickness 2: a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition…

"Remembrance is a form of meeting." ~ Kahlil Gibran

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
                            ~  George Santyana

(The following is a transcript from a secretly taped meeting of a seeker's sanzen  with a Zen Master)

The seeker asked,

“Is it really wrong to dream about another time and another place?”

The teacher soberly responded….

“That all depends on one’s motivation for the yearning. It also depends
on what one is yearning for. I guess.”

“You guess? You guess? Don’t you know any more than guessing”

“Well, you could say it’s a good guess, then. You see the term nostalgia can find it’s origins from Homer and the painful aching neurotic almost obsessed desire to get back home, to a place and time of safety, good times, peace and happiness. This of course is a fantasy or a state of selective memory that is created to avoid the fears of dealing with the current moment or dealing with the ambiguity of the future. Many Swiss soldiers and soldiers in the American Civil war were often labeled with a disease called “nostalgia.”  Soldiers in World War I and in World War II were also diagnosed with this disease and sent home to be treated for their “homesickness.”

“Yeh, but weren’t they all just afraid of death and the unknown?”

“Yes, that’s quite possible. There are volumes written about retreating to the past ,  locus of control and intolerance of ambiguity as well as the basic fears of death and dying. But personally I believe much of the aching to get back home or to the past has a lot to do with avoiding being present to the current experience …now.”

“Don’t you think that some folks can just have fond memories about certain times and places? Don’t you think that certain songs, pictures or selective possessions can conjure up fond emotions with a smile about a specific period, person or place from the past ”

“Of course memories can be quite joyful. But if we get lost in living in the past then it might be important to explore what is driving the perceived need to exist in the past . Let me explain further.”

“Please do because now I am completely confused.”

“Sometimes it is selective memory that surfaces our desire and fondness for a certain time or period in the past. If we had a digital video of our life history we may find that the certain fond memories are edited episodes that are only minutely accurately anchored in a small iota of truth. Sometimes we may have had a very delightful experience in the past and our recollection fires up that positive emotion again and the memory fuels the flame to be a little greater than of the original experience.“

“Yeh , I know I have some friends who remember our attending school together as a wonderful experience and I don’t see it that way at all.”

“Well, remember sometimes it is all a matter of personal perspective and how was that time or place for them and how is it or isn’t it consistent with your experience or view. Also, what is driving them now to fondly remember that particular time?  It is not a bad thing to consider and reflect fondly on the past…friends, lovers, or occasions. It can be quite comforting. Even recalling one’s who have passed on can be healthy. What I am saying is remembrance is good but just not necessarily healthy to get mired down in the desire “to live” in the past. It is all not black and white, you know.”

“Yeh ,well you may be right. I love my fifty year old guitar and the music of the 60’s and delight in the great books and artists and poets of the early 20th century.  I feel like I fit in some other time or place….”

The teacher attempted to console the seeker ...

“ I know what you mean. I really do. But it seems to me that sometimes we need to be grateful for whatever and wherever we are and have some faith and trust in the universe that we are the right road at the right time. They haven’t invented time travel yet to jump into the past or future. Nobody really knows what’s next. I know you know the saying…

‘The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it is called the present.’

So, the best we can really do is to do is to love another and do whatever we can to learn how to savor the moment.”

“Hey, I just wrote about that perspective on life in my journal”

“What’s that?”

“Loving another and savoring the moment”

“Well then...”


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