Number 47, in the Krailsheimer edition:

“We never keep to the present. We recall the past; we anticipate the future as if we found it too slow in coming and were trying to hurry it up, or we recall the past as if to stay its too rapid flight. We are so unwise that we wander about in times that do not belong to us, and do not think of the only one that does; so vain that we dream of times that are not and blindly flee the only one that is. The fact is that the present usually hurts. We thrust it out of sight because it distresses us, and if we find it enjoyable, we are sorry to see it slip away. We try to give it the support of the future, and think how we are going to arrange things over which we have no control for a time we can never be sure of reaching.

Let each of us examine his thoughts; he will find them wholly concerned with the past or the future. We almost never think of the present, and if we do think of it, it is only to see what light it throws on our plans for the future. The present is never our end. The past and the present are our means, the future alone our end. Thus we never actually live, but hope to live, and since we are always planning how to be happy, it is inevitable that we should never be so.”

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  1. Kevin Kim says

    The cool thing about martial arts is that it allows Mother Nature herself to teach one’s mind and body to be fully present. That fist speeding toward one’s face needs to be dealt with now, and the successive blows and blocks also need to be dealt with when the moment to do so arises. Now is all we have, really; it’s a shame to expend so much brainpower trying to pull away from it.

    “All his life has he looked away — to the future! To the horizon! Never his mind on where he was! Hm?! What he was doing!”
    -Yoda, referring to (and jabbing at) an impetuous Luke Skywalker, “The Empire Strikes Back”


    Posted December 5, 2008 at 2:47 am | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    That’s true, Kevin. But the trick is not to walk out of the kwoon and step into an open manhole.

    Posted December 5, 2008 at 10:24 am | Permalink
  3. Kevin Kim says

    Is that some sort of Noo Yawk image? I suppose the rusticated equivalent would be “…walk out of the bar and step into a fresh cowpile.”


    Posted December 5, 2008 at 1:38 pm | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    The point is that it is tricky, even if one has managed some progress in one’s inner work under quiet and isolated conditions, to remain present and awake in the everyday bustle of the world.

    Posted December 5, 2008 at 1:42 pm | Permalink