Oakville Zen Meditation

#322 Is your head twisted backward? July 12th 20

Is your head twisted backward?   July 5 20

Our calendar year of 365 days & 24 hours was created by the Egyptians around 4200 BC.

Without a calendar planning will be impossible and life chaotic.

Zen Masters love to ask if their students if their head is twisted to make them conscious of their addiction to their past and its detrimental consequences.

Psychometric studies show that the #1 activity of an adult mind is to be in a space-time called the past. It is our mental default mode.

The second most frequent activity of the mind is to wander into the future.

The third and least frequent space-time is the present moment.

When you are listening to or reading these words, you are in the present moment - at least for a very short period of time before your mind begins to travel to the past or the future.

Our mind will focus on the present moment only as a necessity when we have to learn, listen, judge and make decisions.

The prevalence of each space-time varies with age: the older you are the more in the past you navigate. Being in the future is, obviously, more frequent for the younger generations.

Being very often in the past is a puzzle for Zen teachers, including myself because:

  1)   The past (but also the future) does not exist per-se since the only existing space-time is the present moment and this present moment is the only one in which we exist and are alive.

        Looking at pictures, watching a video or using visualization from memory does not mean that the past exists since, again, we cannot live in 2 space-times at once having my body is in the Now and my mind is in the Past.

  2)  When we are in the past,  we end-up most often with negative feelings at various degrees.


         a) Wonderful memories will bring regrets, nostalgia, sadness, and even depression.

       During these moments the current present seems to be dull and boring.

         b) At the opposite spectrum, negative memories will also bring regrets, however these will be quickly followed guilt, resentment, bitterness, anger, frustration, jealousy, rumination, pain, depression and even addiction.

Positive and negative memories cannot bring serenity, on the contrary.

 “What are we gaining  by having our mind in the past so often”?

 Being in the fictional past is a self-made, no-win mental entertainment, an emotional trap, and an escape away from the present moment that is too often perceived as routine, dull, and boring.

 You may say: “ Ok but I cannot delete my memories like I delete stuff on my computer”!

 Very true, we cannot erase the past because our memories are chemically encoded in our brains both consciously and unconsciously.

 However, we can learn

1) to become mindful to our memories meaning:

2) observing and accepting them as they are w/o analytic process and

3) Finally to let them go avoiding falling in the trap.

 In computer terms: you copy /paste( being mindful & observing then delete ( letting it go )

 “Past, present and future are pure mathematical inventions created from necessity thousands of years ago. They are pure illusion as far I am concerned since there is not such things in the Universe ” Albert Einstein March 21 1955

Thank you all for being in the moment.