She was sitting in the coffee bar having tea. She didn’t order the coffee although coffee sounds much more romantic, cool and a very in beverage compared to tea. However, the kind of contentment tea offers after that first sip can never be matched by coffee. I know a lot of people won’t agree with me, however being a coffee and a tea drinker myself, I do prefer coffee over tea a many times, but its majorly because of the decision which my brain makes after being paralyzed by the coffee’s aroma which leave me with an instant desire to have a coffee instead of tea. And then there are days when I get tired of having coffee and give in to the seemingly subconscious desire of sipping a hot cuppa.
Now with the tea in hand, you open up to a world of limitless possibilities. Your horizon just gets quite vast. You can think about things you know, things you don’t know about but want to know or understand or just want to think how you can know more about it and at times though rarely, you just want to enjoy the moment. That moment of watching rain droplets on the window panes, sliding down to the ground and disappearing with water or immersing itself in the soil. The flow of the rain drops as it strikes the glass and then manoeuvre its way through the glass is over within seconds, but the journey of that droplet just gets over in front of our gazing eyes and the fact that we get to witness so many of those journeys during that small time frame is just amazing.
Now, when we are engaged in one activity like having tea, don’t we complicate things by instead of enjoying it we begin thinking about lots of other things totally unrelated to the experience of enjoying that cup of tea. Instead of living that moment of relishing it we probably make it a vicarious experience by diverting our sense’s attentions to other things. We at times want to strike a conversation (Now I know a lot of people would say it’s natural to converse while having tea, but then what is that you would want to do, enjoy that tea or have that conversation, because a lot of time we may rush through that cup in order to make sense of what we are conversing about, leaving that experience of enjoyment hanging in thin air while diverting ourselves to probably a more interesting activity which is that conversation). In fact we don’t actually are totally involved all the time and in fact engage in exact opposite while doing something. When we want to remain quiet, we speak, when we want to shout we whisper, we say nothing when we are dying to explain, we smile when we want to cry, we feign ignorance when we know the reality, we keep it to ourself when we in fact want to share, we share when we want to keep it individual, we complicate things when we want to keep it simple. The list is endless. We almost engage in everything except to let loose and enjoy that very moment. When we are in the woods we crave for our home and when we are back in the civilization we make plans to be with nature.
Now, has this been the way always or is it a recent phenomenon.
Let’s take a look at how we have evolved over a period of time. Are we human being wired to multitask? Do we always do and think differently or is it the same thing with the entire animal kingdom or let’s just say life. This evolutionary wiring which just doesn’t allow us to enjoy the moment (let us live in the present). Are we all the same on this or some people are more affected than others, who can just switch on and switch off their mental circuitry without any effort. In a jungle, a deer may die if it lives in the moment, it has to be on its feet always or it would be the dinner of any animal up the food chain. It just can’t live its life by just grazing all day and thinking only about the grass and soothing its appetite, it has to keep its ears and eyes open and keep senses aware of any predator nearby. Or the life would be lost in a moment. Same is the case with the predator as well, it also has to keep a watch on lots of things while hunting, keep an eye on the prey while scanning for any other hunter nearby. So in addition to hunting, it has to think about where to keep the hunt, while being wary of unwelcome guests and free loaders. When are with our kids, we rue the fact that we left one of the project incomplete, and when we put some extra hours at work we start feeling guilty about the lack of time we spend with our children(s). This could be probably because when we were living in the caves, accumulating food was critical to the survival of the family especially of the younger kids. In addition to that, fear of losing kids to animals was equally scary, thus the double whammy of feeling that guilt, wherever you are put, in the open accumulating food or in the caves rearing your kids.
So, is there a time when are actually living in the moment and not thinking about anything other than what is in front of our eyes, a time when we are totally in the moment and just can’t afford to divert our attention from it. Can you think of such a scenario?
Two situations come to my mind, both inter-related.
When we are in a life threatening situation and need all the energy and concentration of our mind to get over that situation. And when someone we love or care deeply about is in a life threatening situation. During these two moments we are completely in the now without letting our mind to wander and use it with as much efficacy as possible to get over it. The thought of losing our life is so big and powerful that it just overpowers everything else and forces us to put our focus on only one task at a time without having the luxury of indulging in multi-tasking various activities. It just wraps our imagination and mind in the most endearing manner and we get so much caught up in the situation that we just forget about everything else. Again, imagine your loved one (parents, kids, spouse, friend, relative anyone you love deeply) in a life threatening situation. What will you do? What will you think? Will there be in synergy in what you do and what you think? Will you think about the traffic jam, or the pending report at your office or the groceries you need to pick on your way back home? No, you will only be thinking about getting him/her out of that situation and in a safe environment. So, what drives our imagination, is it we/us? Or is it still that primitive spirit which forces us to take care of ourselves and our family (as you would need family badly in a cave in order to let you see your kids become an adult).
So, evolution has probably governed our thoughts and imagination in a customized way, barring some rare situation we are wired to multi-task to be able to grow and procreate making us natural multi-taskers. So, can we say that, what drive us are our emotions?
I would in fact say, what distracts us are also our emotions. Nostalgia (aroma of coffee or any other thing), past memories, people, everything concoct a cocktail of emotions which is hard to neglect. It would just put you off to wander in places unknown, at times, in places you don’t want to be in. At times, emotions become so powerful that they become the driving force behind your unrelenting focus and concentration. You would have heard stories of people become everything from nothing, rags to riches story, where they channeled their emotions with so much alacrity and perseverance that everything became a possibility for them. This drive studied by many scientists, philosophers, social scientists as well as scholars has been named motivation, even hatred, love, optimism, pessimism, realism, devilish attitude, being simple, being complicated, easy, and tough and so on. We can associate almost any word with some kind of emotion. Can we do the same with numbers? Probably yes; imagine people preferring some numbers over others, finding meaning in them and then aligning some sort of emotional connect with them. Think of dates again numbers, do we get emotional with dates, yes, prices, yes, time, oh yes, everything we can think of can be associated with emotions in some way or the other.
And yes, suicides, even though our natural evolutionary trait is to save our life, surge of emotions can also pull us toward a suicide. (Not a rational activity at all)
So, do emotions drive us or do we create our own emotions and then lose control over them? Well that’s what I would like to know from you. Please tell me what you think, while I think about it and come up with that topic next, soon.
Please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would love to read your comments and feedback.