It is noontime on Friday October 10th, 2019. The morning has been especially reminiscent of autumn with a crisp, cool breeze blowing through the trees and a clearness of the blue ocean which is often obscured by fog in the summer. The leaves do not change colors much here on the coast, and it is that, along with cool temperatures throughout the day that I miss the most. The mornings can be a little chilly but by noon we’re in the mid sixties as usual.
My thoughts have been all over the place as has become common this past year. This week I’ve had a cold which certainly doesn’t help for mental focus, I’ve been traveling for work down to San Jose quite a bit and I’ve also had some tech issues. Combining all of these my thoughts jump from one thing to another and there has been an absence of calm except for when I listen to meditation podcasts on the way down to San Jose.
Let’s start with the tech issues. It seems the proverb, “When it rains it pours,” has been especially applicable this week. Microsoft Office was asking to upgrade on my wife’s Mac but when we did we couldn’t use it without paying for a subscription. The previous copy was the non-subscription older version I got for $10 through a work benefit program so I wasn’t very happy. Luckily, when I took a closer look the old Office program wasn’t deleted but came with a warning that it would not be compatible with future versions of iOS. Oh well, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
The second tech issue has to do with work. Windows did a large number of updates and it broke Salesforce for Outlook freezing my work mail. I realized Salesforce was the problem and just deleted the Outlook plugin and was good to go. Then a few days later we were scheduled to migrate our mail to the Cloud and would have to change a number of settings in Office. I can follow instructions easily enough but was a little nervous since I prefer to keep my archive folders on the local machine instead of on the shared drive since I’d have to use a VPN all day long. That is one thing I didn’t follow directions on when I set up my computer a year ago. So I was worried that maybe those archive folders might get lost? I made a backup of the actual file, thought about it and believed by deleting the e-mail account my local folders shouldn’t be affected. I was right and changing settings on both the laptop and phone went smoothly.
The last IT issue was both the most difficult with the simplest solution at the same time. Suddenly none of my web pages or blogs would load! When this happens I panic a little because I just don’t enjoy computer trouble shooting as much as I used to. I just want it all to work. I looked at my wifi, reset the server, checked internal settings until I finally checked the simplest solution but one that rarely occurs. That is the external IP address which changes only once every one to two years. I had glanced at it early on in the process but since the first two numbers were identical I didn’t realize the IP had changed and moved along. It was only when I checked the server logs, then my DNS provider that I realized it was the IP. Always check the IP first!!!
I mentioned that I listen to podcasts from the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City. I feel that with work, raising two boys, finances and all the anxiety that comes with these things that I need meditation and karate to keep my head on straight. This particular school fits well with me as I prefer the zen type of meditation where you don’t think and just be in the moment. This quote from their website sums it up perfectly.
Don’t chase the pastThe Buddha
Or long for the future.
The past is left behind;
The future is not yet reached.
Right where it is, have insight
Into whatever experience appears.
To just be, and appreciate the moment is something our society is terrible at. The happiest times of my life are when I appreciated the moment, and it was also then I formed lasting memories. Through this journal I’ve also written down the experiences of most of my life. I remain fascinated with time and still cannot believe I am 42. I feel very grateful I have this journal so I can look back on my own life and have flickers of what my mindset and mentality was like in the past. I think that is something very special and it seems I’m the only one out of everyone I’ve ever met who keeps a life journal like this for the majority of life!
But listening to the podcasts from the Insight Meditation Center is something I very much enjoy. In our society we are always looking for that external thing to give us happiness, or simply occupy us. We are task doers with the mind always racing towards the next thing. Instead we should stop, appreciate the moment. This very moment or experience will never happen again. To be alive at this moment in time is something incredible. Here we are floating on a rock in an infinite universe but rarely take the time to explore our own mind and appreciate the experiences of just being here. Where were we before? Where will we go after? Does it even matter? To sit alone in meditation with an empty mind, exploring what is called “Buddah Nature” is something I very much enjoy and wish I had learned about meditation sooner.
Life controlled me when I was young. I grew older, traveled to foreign lands, got a good job and thought it was I who was controlling life. Now I feel as though there are some things I can control and some things I cannot, but in all things I try to simply observe them and appreciate being able to experience them at all.