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January 28, 2010


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Lynette Genju

Incredible teaching, Barry. I had a powerful dream on retreat: I was told by a "teacher" to kill a (my?)child and that it would resurrect in a more beautiful form. I did it then began to carry around the coffin (actually is was a little take-out container!) filled with fear it would resurrect as a more evil being.

It's so hard to put something down - even a corpse - when we're conditioned to believe that that we will lose our Self by doing so! And of course - losing our Self is what we need to do!

David Clark

"The past is never dead.
It's not even past."

Those stories of the past that we tell ourselves aren't in the past, they are only our current take on what we remember from the past. We tell them to ourselves now, to suit the purposes of the now.

I find that my poor mind goes rooting through my past to dredge up narratives that reinforce my crumbier moods. When I'm feeling anxious, I get treated to a replay of some miserable moments spent in the jungle in Vietnam. When I'm feeling weak, I get sad takes on loves long lost. I think this is myself reinforcing my self. I suspect that the mood comes first and then a reason is looked for by the mind to justify the mood.

I notice that when I am happy or feeling contented, I am just here in the now. I don't bother remembering my fifth birthday or the first time I kissed a girl. I just feel happy exactly as I am in that moment.

Lauren Crane

We keep the past alive because it keeps us alive... "Oh yeah, I remember, those big cats eat us upright apes." An evolutionary expedient that is realized with a mushy bio-blob that puts twists of meaning and mystery in the fold because of its inherent earthiness. I think all these past narratives of meaning are just collateral effects of the primary goal of survival. But why the drive to survive? Strange muck, this universe.


Past is memory, and things like the picture of oneself as a happy child, swinging arms in Great Grandma's livingroom...the photo is viewed now, the memory is remembered now, the atrocities of Hitler are reviewed now. The future is speculated about now. There is only now...no matter what the apparent content. Whether you're thought-free and floaty, or deeply up your own arse, whatever's going on is always going on now.

Barry Briggs

Thanks, everyone, for your generous comments.

I find that I get in trouble when I mistake the past for the present. And I find that I do this more often than I usually realize. This confused state occurs, for example, when things aren't going "my" way with my wife. At those times, I can easily "project" my mother onto her - and then things go downhill very fast. As Suzanne suggests, when we see the "now" of each moment with clarity, then we can relax and enjoy the circus.

Thanks again!


Benjamin Franzmayr

There is no Past. It does not exist.

Barry Briggs

Thanks for your comment, Benjamin!


I sometimes (often) get interested in the second question also. It's a distraction. It's asking who shot the arrow in the parable.


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