Charles Starrett

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Culture consultant & social tech teacher/facilitator at SoulCo & Northeastern University. He/Him. Dad, Harvard and NEC alum, visual thinker, dabbler in ukulele, electronic music, 한국어, and TTRPGs.

Now

The words you’re reading were written in the past. But you’re reading them now. You’re experiencing them now.

The memory of that argument is something you’re experiencing now. The argument, the event, is over and gone. It’s in the past, but the anger, regret, or sadness you feel in your body is here now — an emotional response to the memory.

Does thinking about that upcoming lunch date bring up feelings of excitement or anxiety? Those feelings are happening now. The lunch is in the future. It hasn’t happened yet. But what you feel when you think about it is something you are experiencing now.

Our memory of what happened is only what we remember. Our perspective at the time and how we’ve changed since then are filters on our memory. There’s no way to be sure if our memory is accurate, but it is real to us in this moment. What we remember is our experience right now.

The same goes for the future that we hope or fear will happen. There is no way to know how much will pan out in reality, but in this moment, our hope and fear are real. We are experiencing them right now.

To be human is to stand in a river watching time flow by. As the future flows downstream towards us, the details become clearer until they pass by our feet and flow into the past, becoming more-and-more distant. Our mind can imagine what the future might be, or what the past might have been, but all we really know is what is, right now.

What matters most is being aware of what we are thinking, feeling, seeing, and sensing in this moment. All we know is what we know right now. And we never step into the same river twice.

27 July 2022

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