For the past six years I have lived in the park.
When, in 2013, I left the hospital, the clinic in which I’d spent two months of treatment, I went to the park at least twice a week. And I lived there.
I had come from the hospital with a new outlook. Be mindful, I had learned, and everything will be okay. That’s the definition of mindfulness, perhaps, that everything is okay even when it’s not, because everything is as it is and that’s the only way it can be.
And when I ventured into the park with this outlook, I became aware that I had never up till then lived in the park. I had always walked through it with my mind set on leaving as soon as my dog had had his fill of parking, and I felt vulnerable on my own with my dog, among other people and among nature where I might get bored or judged or feel depressed. And so, one day while walking through the park, I decided to be okay, to be there in that space where I might be bored or judged or even depressed, and I became alive.
I finally lived in the park. I was not focused on the past or future, or of being in any moment other than the boring, vulnerable moment I was in right then, and it was then that I looked around and saw the trees and foliage in full 3D, and everything became clear. I was alive, and the world around me reflected this. I did not feel “good”. I did not feel “bad”, although I did feel sad and vulnerable. And I did not feel bored, because one cannot feel bored when one is not focused on the past or the future. Time does not stop, so much as it becomes now. Actually, it does not become anything. I became aware of being alive in that now, that now which is the same as this now, even though I’m in a different time and space.
Quite simply, I lived, and that cannot be described in any explicable way. My life in the park cannot have any adjectives, because adjectives are judgments, and judgments take one out of the moment. I simply knew I was alive, and that intimate knowledge was enough to let me see in 3D, to access infinity, the connection between the trees and the grass and the air and the me to everything else in the known and unknown universe. I became aware of all of that, all in the now, not in the then, but the now, the now that is the same now as this now, except in a different time and place. I learned that now is not a series of moments, but simply the unmoving time of being in which we exist constantly, whether or not we choose to be aware of it.
And yes, I say choose as if it’s a simple choice, and I know very well it’s not, and that most people are unequipped to make that choice, and even I struggle to make that choice these days when my life is perfect and wonderful and I don’t want it to last for only a moment and I forget that now is not a moment or a series of moments and I don’t have to hold on to anything in order for it to remain as is and be what it’s going to be no matter what.
I know that I haven’t lived in the park for a while now, contrary to what I said before, and when I do live in the park these days it’s more haphazard and unexpected and spontaneous than it was back then, when I started living in the park. I know that I need to focus more on living at home as well, and not only in the park, so that my lived experience is broadened and that I live more often than not.
There’s no reason I need to live, neither in the park nor at home. Except that, aside from living there really is nothing else. Nothing else worth doing in this world of existence. Nothing else that makes sense in this world of being. That it’s the whole point of it all, to live, and that there’s not really a point of it all, but it is something, and something I can dedicate my life to.
I live in the park, albeit less these days than I’d like to, and I live at home, also less than I’d like to. But there’s always the choice, and the choice to become better equipped.
I’m trying, right now, to make that choice. That choice that keeps me sane, no matter what is happening around me.
I will become more equipped, and I will once again live in the park and everywhere else.