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Gordon's D-Zone Arcive (2006-2014)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

EYE ON THE NOW

There have been many things going on during the almost finished weekend. Most of these goings on, however, occurred in my mind. I think this is something all of us experience. Thinking of the past, of old memories or even dreaming of a future that is not yet here. And as I was surfing the net, I found a Buddhist exercise that really put things into perspective.

As I have been interested in different spiritual traditions when I was a teenager, I was surprised to get to know of this simple exercise. So here it goes…

Imagine that you knew for certain that today was your last day of life. Let’s also hope that you were lucky (or unlucky?) enough to get to know of this when you wake up. What would you do?

Would the past really matter that much any more as you know that it will soon be over?

Would the future be that important now you know it will soon end?

There are people who would go insofar as stating they would do all the things they had always wanted to do, or spend all their life savings, etc. etc. To put things into perspective, however, this day will come and death will happen. Hopefully not today or any day soon. But it will happen.

I am no stranger to death as I was very close to my rendezvous in the summer of 1999. But this is only a memory in my past and I moved on. But then again, should our past be that important? Or the future for that matter?

The answer that the Buddhist traditions would give is that for all intents and purposes, we live in the ‘now’. Although I am not advocating any following of any spiritual tradition here, it is food for thought if you consider that at the basis of every spiritual tradition there is a realisation to be aware of the present as the only moment we have real control over.

Unfortunately, for the sake of preserving some kind of ‘holy order’, the reality of the illusion of the past or future is sacrificed for the establishment of a reality that only exists in our minds.

That is why perhaps I have reacted against people who have referred to me in terms that not only reduce my humanity but also devalue me as a person. In fact, people with impairments are one group of people who ‘suffer’ from the past prejudices and are frequently promised unattainable future cures.

But many non-disabled people still believe that if one has an impairment, one cannot be happy. If you google the words ‘impairment’ or such specific terms like ‘cerebral palsy’ (one of my impairments), you’ll surely be in on for a treat if you like De Sade. There, I should be ‘afflicted by’, ‘suffering from’ or even ‘plagued by’ cerebral palsy. And medical texts are full of such allegedly objective terminology…

I’m not saying that my impairment is totally pain-free. But I’m not going through daily pain or torment. I mean I have a life! And I also made a personal decision not to spend my waking hours doing physiotherapy or even ‘art’ therapy. I work, study, and try to hang out with people.

But it’s not just a matter of being deemed a subject that worries me but it’s also when I’m perceived as an object. Here we go into the other extreme of reading my life as if it was a holy pilgrimage or my image as representing a means for other’s salvation. I shudder to wheel into a hall full of religious devotees for the simple reason that I’m something (yes something) that ‘inspires’ them and gives a purpose to their work. I don’t mean to put down any religion here but being talked about as a ‘weaker member’ of the community or as a ‘less fortunate’ person doesn’t make me feel welcome in the least. and that is if you also consider that people from the old school still regard people with impairments as ‘angels’ sends shivers down my spine.

I have to tackle all this over and over again as it’s like a silent sentence that gets repeated in my present life. But undeniably, the fact that many less fortunate people miss out is that this is who I am now. If society wishes to dream on a time when there are no more people with impairments, it’s either kidding itself or preparing for my execution.

For it is now that we can change our country or our world. The future is but not there yet and the past is but a closed book we may refer to for guidance. But yet, they are the only foundations we build upon.

Now I can really go and rest in peace. Well, at least till another day starts …

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