Center for Creative Inquiry

Phrase from Shakespeare’s Macbeth


Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death.

Living in this way, the past in a sense, is always present with recorded time as a legacy or lineage we carry. From a position and identity, we stake out as a self here and now, so we can refer back in time to the first object or syllable or moment up to the most recent last syllable, or moment, or object labeled and recorded, in our narratives about our world and ourselves. We can take and gather from all that we have accumulated and consolidated (our history and beliefs), and summarize what we need in order to imagine our intentions for every tomorrow.

The problem with this is that our choices tend to be limited by our recordings, rather than opening to facing the present in a way that is not habitual or ‘petty’. In this linear way of living, our narrowly experienced yesterdays cast ‘light on all our limited intentions so that the future is guaranteed to remain similar and narrowly experienced. We do this over and over, moment to moment, ‘day to day, as if hypnotized by the rhythm and momentum of the linear direction of our lives from past to future, until the last syllable, or moment of our objective existence, ‘to dust… And up until that last syllable:

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more

However in TSK practice, when moving to the leading edge of the present, going directly to the point of arising, where the future touches the present, and welcoming whatever comes (when I remember to do that!), the creeping petty pace of linear time cuts its ‘consolidating  ties with the past and opens wide, breaking these linear chains. There is a richness and vitality infusing each new arising…