Am I only “awake” when I pay attention to my present life?

Commentary by José Parés Pérez, Concepción, Chile

When I sleep I am not aware of what happens inside and outside me while I am sleeping.

My attention rests.  I do not deliberately pay attention to what is happening.   With the exception of experiences of dreams or nightmares while they last, we are completely unaware of what happens while we are asleep.

Life and everything that it brings is only really enjoyed by us when we are awake since it is only then that we live in an active and creative state of being: feeling, thinking and acting.

The state that causes being awake to be different from being asleep is that we can direct our attention to what we are experiencing at any moment.  There are more time periods within our mental capacity outside the present.

We are able to direct our attention towards times that have passed and towards those that are yet to come.  And actually we often use this ability of ours: we remember and anticipate the past and the future.

There is no doubt that this ability is a great help in many issues in our lives.

It has provided us with a higher level of evolution than that of the animals that possess it to a much lesser degree. 

This human ability to step outside the present, to be able to pay attention to the past or the future is the equivalent of being “asleep” since it makes us act inconsistently and as if it were a dream or nightmare caused by fear, jealousy, anger, scorn etc.  The BEHAVIOUR of a person while they are “asleep” is not controlled by their FEELINGS but by their THOUGHTS created by their memories of the past or their goals for the future and feelings are irrelevant.  It is an unconscious behaviour, without caring about the consequences.

How else can we understand that mankind knows that the planet has about 25 years to sustain life under current conditions, and continues to talk and create “development” that leads to inhumane conditions?

Humanity is unaware, somnolent, and we will pay dearly for it.  Each us of has to awake from this unconscious dreaming that keeps us asleep and pay attention deliberately and kindly to the present.