Does it change us philosophizing about the attention to the present?

Contribution by Isabel Hernández Negrin in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain.

Talking about these things is tempting. We frequently confuse what we think with the very facts about what we think. We say, “Yes, what’s being said sounds good and maybe even interesting. But what do I do with it?” And we continue talking about whatever appeals to us, giving opinions, even stories or things we’ve imagined that also involve long talks about the subject of living. For that reason, philosophizing about a topic is not the topic. Furthermore, thinking about something that is fundamentally experiential is empty and meaningless. Sometimes we don’t know any other way. But notice that understanding, realization, always occurs in the present moment; thinking is concerned with things that come from your memory. I’ve met many people who have read enough that they know everything and yet, they’ve never put what they know into practice. And this leads them to more confusion and frustration because reading and clarifying doesn’t change us one bit when we lack experience. When we see refugees on TV, embarking on their journey of misery and exhaustion, we’re dismayed and think that it must be horrible – but this is not the same as living it. For that reason, talking, knowing, understanding, is never the same as having the experience of what you’re talking about.

So, when someone suggests something to you that seems reasonable, don’t accept it without further thought. Try it yourself. Practice it until you can exchange something like your experience, not your thoughts about the experience.