Thursday, August 11, 2011
Only the Now and Zen
Thursday, 11 August 2011 7:05 PM.
I always feel best after my daytime sleep, which is the timezone I am in now, writing this, just an hour after waking.
I would expect it to be the same feeling early in the morning, but it's not. Whatever I have done to my Circadian rhythm, it's now locked into this pattern, and has been for a long time.
In reality it is very similar to the siesta pattern so common throughout southern Europe, and South and Southeast Asia. In the heat of the summer afternoon in those parts of the world, it makes sense to sleep, and do active things in the cool of early morning, and of the late afternoon or evening.
It's the cold climate people and the Protestant Work Ethic that make this pattern seem 'abnormal'. 9 to 5 is alien to traditional lifestyle for half the world, especially in the tropics, although the pressures of modern urban lifestyles now change this, even in Asia and Africa.
Air-conditioning in that part of the world has helped this change to a northern European pattern of thinking about the working day. It revolutionised life in places like New York forty years ago when it became normal to have an air-conditioned workspace. Family life at the cabin in the mountains to avoid the summer heat of the city gradually disappeared.
You can imagine the social changes this one device has caused. We can also estimate the new pressures on the world's energy resources that such a change for the rest of the world demands.
But back to where I started out....
A lot depends on when I wake on any given morning. If it's early - say, 5 AM, which isn't unusual for me, then I may exercise, eat breakfast and be active until about 10 AM, and then crash. I may sleep till late lunchtime, and then be active until midnight or so. There's no point in going to bed when I don't feel tired.
If I wake later, say 8 AM, I may be active until anything up to 2 PM. At times it's even later. Then weariness overtakes me almost like drowning, and I sleep till nearly 6 PM.
There no real pattern to this and there are all sorts of factors that change the rhythm. All I know is the Zen proverb. 'When hungry, eat. When tired, sleep.'
Live in the Now. It's all we have, when you think about it.
The past is over and can't be changed. The future isn't here yet, though you can use the present to plan for it. But if we try to live only in an anticipated future or an unchangeable past, we waste the Now.
We have only the infinitely small speck of existence that is the Now, so we better enjoy it. The past is nothing more than a present memory of the past. The future is only a present anticipation of it.
We have just a Now version of the Past and the Present. Even when we look at that old home movie, it's a present experience of that past. If we dream of the weekend to come, it can only be a present experience.
And now it's dinner time, and I have some Now to spend with my family!