[Excerpt from TT: 2008-05-14]
I have a question about “the joy of fantasy”. This refers to what was termed “identification” and “imagination” in the Gurdjieff system. I often find myself “practising” a situation that is not yet here – and might never come. Making pictures of things I should have said, will say, will do, will feel, etc. Often these are rather neutral pictures, that is, not very intensive. At other times they can be very dramatic, and also “romantic.” Then I feel myself being “all over the place.” not focused at all. It seems the present is devaluated as “too boring, grey, uninteresting, pedestrian, etc.” while the future (= a certain make believe fantasy about the future) is ALL that matters. I would appreciate feedback on this situation and how to move away from it, how to give the present more weight and reducing the hold of fantasies.
[Michael Entity] In this case it appears that the “identification” is in the thought that “I am… the future,” or more precisely that, “I am… full of potential in the future, and safer anywhere else but now.” We see this distraction with the future and past as a matter of safety and potential. Imprinting has left the distracted fragment with the notion that the only “place” that holds potential is the future and that “anywhere but now” is safer. For some fragments, the notion of enjoying the moment, of allowing the moment, is similar to “giving up,” or admitting failure; giving permission to perceived mediocre content. Allowing oneself to get lost in the “joy of fantasy” or identification with the past or future is not inherently a problem when the present is given some validity and meaning. The moment (now) appears to lack any meaning or vitality, so the distraction is toward the future or past as sanctuary, but the irony is in the fact that by continuing distraction toward the future or past, the moment (now) suffers. Waiting for and looking for meaning will never come. Meaning is CREATED, not found. Meaning is defined, not assigned. Meaning is generated, not gifted.
Consciousness is not static. It shimmers. It cannot remain in the moment, the future, or the past for any length of “time,” before shifting to another angle. If one spends too much focus in the future or past, then awareness of the moment can tend to be created from tragedies, trials, turbulence, conflict, illness, etc.; anything to bring the focus back to a rooted moment. The body and the life dies in many ways without consciousness present in the moment.
Being present would require a redefinition of NOW and that can only come through the realization that the situation is not an “either/or” situation. One can play in the future and explore the past as much as one wants, and still be present and alive in the moment. To redefine the moment, it can help for you to know that your active presence in the moment is a form of nurturing your future and healing your past. For one to be in the moment, one need only begin a practice in what we have called practicing “vividry.”
Randomly, as you feel the inclination, and more and more often as necessary, take a moment to simply watch the moment. Slow down your moment to see the colors, feel the textures, sense the smells, caress the thoughts, even amplifying the senses in that moment so that colors, smells, textures, feelings, thoughts are all heightened in vividry. Most of our students are amazed at how alive the moment is when this practice is applied. As one experiences this more often, then it can become a natural part of the day so that escape into the future or past is not necessary. The life, meaning, and presence you can bring to your moment, the more useful your past and future can tend to be, because the meaning of both the past and the future is generated from NOW. The meaning, potential, and safety of the future is meaningless until you “get there.” The meaning, healing, and safety of the past is meaningless until you “bring it back to you.” And you only exist now.