When the point in time in which we find ourselves is referred to as “today”, to my mind it is two words. There is the day, 24 hours. The space of time that we all agree constitutes a unit, 365 of them a year, usually. The other part, the prefix, seems to refer to almost an infinitive, turning the noun into a kind of verb. Today. As in, this space that I’m in at this moment in time is the day, of all other days, that I can’t touch or see or maybe I vaguely remember them, is the day in which there will be actions. I will do this, I will do that.
To a Buddhist mind or perhaps an existential-type, this is an ideal way of thinking about a day. It is a word that is absolutely in the present, meant to encapsulate not just the series of actions you will perform in a span of 24 agreed upon hours, but also all the other actions that will be done in this moment by other folks. This is a fine way of thinking about it, I think.
However, to me, the Buddhist mind (which is something I don’t really subscribe to, it’s a bit too lotus-y for me) is fundamentally (and this is the one thing I have taken from this philosophy) about balance. And while I do believe it is important to live in the moment, it’s just as important to think about the future.
I suffer from crippling ADD. I am now, after a wild stint in which I was not exactly myself, terrified and paranoid of drugs (I feel panicky now when I drink a Red Bull, or too much coffee too quickly). So, I won’t be getting any prescription Adderall anytime soon. I have to figure a natural way to curb this awful impulse to digest and consume and experience as much as possible, today.
I believe that the words we use have a subliminal effect on us that none of us really think about on a daily basis. We don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what the words we say really mean. There are things in different languages that don’t translate in English and vice versa, and every culture is just a bit alien, hanging out with them, sharing stories, there are things that just don’t come across. I see this correlation as directly related to the sounds we make, the shape of the words and their rabbit-hole meanings.
Therefore, to me, one of the problems of my ADD, besides the internet and music videos, are the words that I use. “Today” is one of them. When I read books I am overwhelmingly frightened of the time I could be spending consuming other things, experiencing. When I’m writing (coaxing the fish to the top of the water, trying to grab them, the fish scattering, finally accepting the nature of things, throwing the dynamite in the water, the fish floating up, dead, but easy to grab…this is the way writing is, you only ever get that original pure thought on paper once it’s dead and translatable into code) I feel similar anxiety, because shouldn’t I be doing something, rather than typing symbols on a screen?
I’ll try to change the language that I use on a daily basis. Balance it out more. “This day” instead of “today”. Acknowledging that the day exists, but also that it is one of several days, already a concrete part of a malleable and ghostly future, a brick in the service of a building with plans written in some kind of quantum language only understood by the reptile brain, or the overbrain, but never the brain that we converse with on a daily basis.
“This day”, a day that I can spend doing one or two things in service of an abstract future thing, in addition to little things that need the now, that I’m already preprogrammed to do and therefore need no coercion. Balance.