“The Energy of Life” :Contemplation by Hal Manogue

And now…something a little different. Here’s a contemplation from the connective mind of my blogging buddy and friend Hal Manogue who writes both poems and essays. His books include:

Short Sleeves Insights
Short Sleeves Spirit Songs
Short Sleeves A Book for Friends (2007 & 2008 collections)

Check out his website and his blog. –JGR



The conventional self is composed mainly of a history consisting of selected memories, and beginning from the moment of parturition. According to convention, I am not simply what I’m doing now. I am also what I have done and my conventionally edited version of my past is made to seem almost the more real “me” than what I am at this moment. For what I am seems so fleeting and intangible, but what I was is fixed and final. It is the firm basis for predictions of what I will be in the future and so it comes about that I am more closely identified with what no longer exists than with what actually is.

Alan Watts the British philosopher wrote that interesting statement in his book The Way of Zen, published in 1957. If I ask my self who I am, I do start putting a mental image together of what I’ve done and where I’ve been. I am a composite of yesterday waiting for tomorrow and never seem to get yesterday out of the way in the present moment. I constantly live a historic dream of my own making and continually try to wake up, but I find my self falling deeper into a waking sleep, as linear time shows tracks of my past on my physical body of now. I identify with those tracks and in a way wear them as badges of achievement and perseverance. The self that exists in the now is stuffed in a body of distorted memories that create a future with similar distortions.

As Ken Wilber mentions in his book Spectrum of Consciousness, my ego seems to be happy today if I promise it a happy tomorrow. The good news seems to be in a bright future, not a bright present. I endure pain and misery waiting for that future, but I don’t enjoy it, because it doesn’t exist now. When it does arrive my ego will only be content if I offer it another bright future. I continue to create insanity in order to be sane. I spend so much time running towards the future that I identify with running and I run right past it in the present, so I never really know who I am or enjoy that self. I find my self not enjoying the present because it has no future and if it has no future then it is dead in my belief system.

Trying to get a handle on the present and living it without associations that form from past beliefs is an enormous challenge, but it is one that I can experience. When I start to examine who I am from not only a physical and linear perspective, but from a psychological and metaphysical perspective, I open the door of awareness a little more. I still have beliefs about the past and the future, but I begin to immerse my self in the present. When I use my imagination in the present I create thoughts that are expressed as energy in some way. By following those thoughts from pure energy to manifestations, I find hidden fragments of my own consciousness waiting to be accepted and released in some form. Life in the present is about action and expansion and the awareness of different realities, so I can experience them. I tend to fear them for I have no past experiences to associate them with, but when I allow them to show themselves, I sense the incredible amount of energy that I have in every moment and that is enlightenment.

By accepting a changeable past and a probable future, I learn to live in the now. Both the past and future are creations of the present, which in psychological time happen simultaneously. Like the bark on a tree my ego is the buffer for this camouflage reality. I keep it healthy by making it aware that I am like the roots of a tree that need the energy of life now, not in the future.

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