Is there a past at all?

Of course, you may tell me there is; you may offer us many examples of it, prove its existence over and over again. But I am not so sure about it any more. It even feels like a terrible betrayal of life to admit such a thing as the past.

Let’s face it: what we call the past is really just the present going wrong.

We can look at this question, talk about it, but does it make any sense to talk about it from what we already know? This is not a clever or contrived stance. It may seem obvious to assume the presence of a psychological past; but this assumption is being made now. It is a present moment’s decision to do something that is entirely foreign to the present.

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Paul, In what way does it feel like a betrayal of life?

In the worst way. In the worst possible way. I don’t think anyone likes betrayal, do they?

But why are you even interested in my feelings? This has nothing whatsoever to do with my feelings. There is something about how we understand and approach and label this thing called the past that feels terribly wrong - wrong from the inside, wrong from the depths of it - not merely from the perspective of the one who is outside looking in.

Paul, I am interested in your feelings because you wrote, “It even feels like a terrible betrayal of life to admit such a thing as the past.” I am trying to understand your perspective on this. For you, something “feels terribly wrong, wrong from the inside…” about “how we understand and approach and label this thing called the past…” So, I am trying to understand how this came about for you. Agreed, betrayal is usually not liked by anyone. Betrayal also includes expectations, without expectations who or what is betrayed? In your scenario life is betrayed “to admit such a thing as a past.” What does that mean for you? I don’t understand.

Then why not leave it alone? Why try to go any further into something you don’t understand? Because it won’t make a scrap of difference. All you will find at the end of it is something that chimes with what you already know, with what already makes sense to you. You will find comfort in a familiar resonance, that’s all. To me that’s a betrayal, simply because when whatever is going on or taking place between us ends there it is going back to an old place of solace. In the present there is no such thing as solace. But when solace is absent, what then is the present? When any grain of comfort from understanding, connection and agreement are absent, what then is the present?

When the past is absent, what is present?

Paul, I am trying to understand your perspective in which you now state there is no solace in the present. My perspective is very different. There is not only solace in the present but love and beauty. When the past and future are absent, there is present moment attention without judgement. So back to the past. We have a relationship as you are the host of a dialogue that I sometimes attend. I think if I understand your perspectives better, I will have more patience with you. Sometimes you say or write things that are incongruent with my point of view, and I need patience for that.

But don’t you think points of view are all rather childish? With no points of view, the search for patience is ended at a stroke.

I am saying there is no solace in the present, that’s all. There may be love and beauty in abundance, but that is not for me to say. I am not interested in love and beauty. For me and for you, if we are honest, love and beauty are just old, tired ideas. They are all about our yearnings for an imagined past. And there is no past.

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I give a :heart: to paul’s comment above - despite the lack of tact. (sorry :grimacing:)

No answers please, answerers may be shot (by fascist mystics) - for the the question is already complete, is the point.

Even a blade of grass is a miracle to those who do not know.

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You know, I don’t think we have ever talked about tact. What a funny word! Now that I see it again and say it out loud, it seems to take on a huge significance. Tact. Hmmm.

It seems to be about what we feel is important : do we address the situation with love, or must we be faithful to the Truth?

Tact is about touch too. How are we in contact with the totality of what is around us? At what level are we touching one another?

I think we are asking the same(ish) question.

Even the high priest who knows the unknowable, can only deal with the delusion. The only way they can go wrong is by “choosing” the path of violence (aka knowing)

We touch each other the same way we are touched - via the world of things and concepts.

But they are both very cold, are they not? I know exactly why we live in a world of things and concepts, of possessions and beliefs, of material certainty and immaterial imaginings. Feeling cold, we wrap things around us. We make nests for ourselves.

But before we do all that, why don’t we say to one another, ‘I am feeling cold,’ and then look to find out the source of the coldness? It may be my own heart that is really cold, not the outside world at all.