I was riding my scooter into the office the other day.
It was beautiful out with clear skies and leaves in full bloom, the sort of day you really appreciate when you live in Chicago. As I was riding slowly down an alley, looking up at the sky and a few leaves, I thought to myself how great it was that I could be so present to at once be able to have a scooter ride while also appreciating the beauty of the day at hand.
And then all of a sudden someone honked at me and told me to watch out.
I hadn't been present at all, I had become oblivious. The problem with oblivion is that it can feel like presence, because you can also be hyper focused on something. This has me wondering lately, is there a difference between being highly present and oblivious? Does one require the other? Is it possible to be highly present in one place, without being oblivious in another?
I think the challenge must be balance as it is with most everything.
You simply can't be a present mother or father and a present CEO all at the same time. What you can do is segment things such that you're able to be present for the right things at the right time. This might look like different things to different people, but I think knowing where you're trying to be present is as important as the concept itself, and it's important to think about oblivion is a byproduct of it.
Maybe there are some people who have a total mastery of this. I imagine a Matrix neo-like character able to at once master running a business while feeding children while going on vacation and resting all while working for charity and being a great lover all at the same time.
With an instagram photo to go with it of course.
But for us mortals who have heretofore been unable to achieve this sort of enlightenment, I think it's good to ask:
Are we being present? Or are we being oblivious?