We perceive the world through a thicket of memory. I see a bird. I remember its genus, its coloration and perhaps one or two other distinguishments. What I cannot recall is how I felt when I first saw this tiny amazement fly into the embrace of a tree. Now I “see through a glass, darkly,” through the dimming filters of time and memory. In other words, I don’t see.
We know what a human is but a human being? What does ‘being’ mean? Being-ness happens when we inhabit the now, that split moment between past and future, what Jesus called the fullness of life.
I know a woman who has so little interest in her past that she has forgotten huge swaths of it. She relies primarily on the faculty of spontaneous intuition, which requires neither memory nor story and does not repeat itself.
We suffer because of the stories we tell ourselves. No story, no problem.
In order to be present, the past has to be past. It’s dust, after all. And so we’re told, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”