Going Around in Cycles

EvolVR Gathering Place, by Alan Chao

How many present moments have you had?

Trick question, right? Or as it is called in Zen, a Koan, a nutty Koan, but they’re all nutty. One hand clapping.

People argue about the answers, I know I do sometimes, but there isn’t one. Contemplate that. And when your attention drifts, notice that, and go back to contemplating.

Or not contemplating. Just a little maybe, just at the start, that’s my approach anyway.

Then move away from contemplating and into a little vacation for the attention, away from the all-enveloping fabric of here and now with its obligations and insults on autoloop in the brain.

Also a gentle, serious workout for the attention muscles, an extended noticing exercise, that’s how I look at it. Let me lead your attention on its brief respite.

Where we go will be of this moment. It is non-generic, not fungible.

Image by David Denton

It is New Year’s Day. Not just any old run-of-mill Present Moment.

Imagine you’re sitting at the driver’s seat of your own personal Present-Moment-Mobile.

Let’s start by checking the rear view mirror. You might even want to turn around. Look at the past after it’s been through the Present Moment.

What I see, and just hang with this as a story, it looks like a giant snowball has just gathered everything up into itself right down to the ground. Everything I did and thought and felt, all rolled into now and still going forward. Stuff I did in third grade is still here in the Present Moment, especially the time I got punished by the teacher when I didn’t do it, Bobby Di Martino did.

I’m imagining the Present Moment as cumulative. Yours and mine. The reason I do what I do is because of all of that. Same with everyone else. To me, acting that way with others is compassion. Seeing that the whole snowball is why they just did that. Same as you.

I have a different idea about the future, though.

Let’s turn around.

Look exactly where the future is meeting the giant snowball.

What I see isn’t clear and distinct. It’s vague, but there are portals and then more portals over and above them.

I feel slowly drawn into them like I’m on a moving sidewalk into the future.

It’s the Today Portal and since it’s January 1st, 2022, that means Saturday.

Saturday, on the moving circular sidewalk.

Try to feel how much Saturday-ness affects how we act and feel throughout the cycle of Saturday …

If you want to, imagine yourself in one of those restaurants that turn around at the outer edge, nice and slowly showing you a 360 view. We can move our Present Moment driver’s seat out to that Day Band, cycling in twenty-four hours start to finish.

I notice the Saturday cycle affecting how I handle the Present Moment steering wheel all day long.

Follow today’s cycle around from beginning to end. Notice how it influences everything ‘we’ do and feel. Notice the moving sidewalk taking you around through one day, one daily cycle, a Saturday, because it’s January 1st, 2022.

And now notice the Week Band, next one over to our side — moving 1/7 as fast as the Day Band. Let’s step over onto it, in the Saturday part. Weekend. Influences us in a celebrative ending way.

Look up ahead, at Monday. Do you have any doubt about the impact of the Week Band on your state of mind? Hump Day, peak of the cycle. Relief begins as soon as Thursday afternoon.

If you are assuming an average sort of life expectancy for yourself, and who doesn’t — you’ll get to do the Week Band about 4,000 times.

We know that January 1st finds us toward the end of the Week Band, great for celebrating, and also the very beginning of the next, even slower moving band we can step over and into. This one ties into the moon and takes four times longer to go around.

The rise in violent crime and motorcycle accidents are just two documented lunar effects.

We can’t help but see another, still further over, one more band, also right at the very beginning of its cycle. The Year Band takes such a long time that we made a big deal out of it last night.

All of these cycles shape the way our Present Moment is drawn into the future. They shape the boundaries when we feel we’re acting freely. It’s not good or bad. Usually life is smoother when we act in harmony with the larger cycles we live inside of.

The cycles are eternal. All living things notice them and act accordingly.

None of us is eternal. Four thousand spins around the Week Band is not guaranteed to you or anyone because the Median is not a person.

Let’s leave the outer cycles and zoom all the way inside ourselves to the breathing, a little calmer now. If you can, push your breathe up from your diaphragm and let it fall easily back down. Tummy breathing. Tells your brain it’s safe.

Breathing in. Breathing out.

Another cycle, maybe 12–16 times per minute, lots of variation.

We could be down to 5–6 breaths now, shallow breaths that take almost no effort. Parts of our body coming more into harmony as we relax and slow down. Harmonies inside and out.

It’s seven hundred million times through the breathing cycle when we see four thousand Week Bands start to finish. All we know is this breath.

As we’re breathing in, and breathing out.

Image by David Denton

Let’s tell our brain we’re coming back to the normal stuff it deals with. Let’s take two quick chest breaths, In and In, up high.

Feel them light up your brain. Noticing what happens, just breathing that way.

Now we take our careful attention out of a meditation and into everything else we do.

Noticing each of the portals as we’re drawn into the future

Tom Nickel writes on Medium about Death, Bereavement, Virtual Reality and several other topics he has no standing to write about. His work has never been featured in The New York Times and it is almost inconceivable that it ever will be. But you never know.




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