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You're here physically, but are you here mentally?

In one of the most undervalued swan songs of all time, Island, author Aldous Huxley shared with his audience his interpretation of utopia. His vision from 1962 seems to be a mirage that is more distorted than ever. A utopian Island where everything is perfect.

Aldous’s version of paradise is a Pacific island known as Pala, also known as the “oasis of happiness and freedom”. In Huxley’s verbal manifestation of heaven, all the inhabitants of Pala have endured the temptations of ideas that have plagued the rest of the modern world. In Pala, there is no such thing as materialism, competitive markets, a price system, private property, wage labor, or technology. These blinders that shield the modern world have stood for over a century in Pala, hence why it is paradise.

Despite the main theme being utopia, my favorite message from his final novel is not one that comes from the people of Pala, but the birds.

The main aerial inhabitants of Pala are the Mynah birds, who repeat the same thing over and over.

[“Attention”, a voice began to call, and it was as though an oboe had suddenly become articulate. “Attention”, it repeated in the same high, nasal monotone. “Attention” (…)

“Is that your bird?” Will asked.

She shook her head.

Mynahs are like the electric light”, she said. “They don’t belong to anybody.”

Why does he say those things?

“Because somebody taught him”, she answered patiently…

But why did they teach him those things? Why ‘Attention’? Why ‘Here and now?’

“Well …” She searched for the right words in which to explain the self-evident to this strange imbecile. “That’s what you always forget, isn’t it? I mean, you forget to pay attention to what’s happening. And that’s the same as not being here and now.”

“And the mynahs fly about reminding you—is that it?”

She nodded. That, of course, was it. There was a silence.]

That’s it, pay attention, here and now. The most beautiful things in life seem to be said effortlessly. Despite it being effortless, it's something I can't figure out.

My body may be here, but my mind continues to be elsewhere. I am constantly internally preoccupied, robbing myself of any enjoyment of the present.

Walking through the gateway of the present illuminates all roads to the future.

I need to pay attention.

Every seemingly trivial second that passes and every experience in our life on earth plants something new in our spirit of the self. Once someone has mastered the illumination of the present, they will have an enlightened spirit of self, and the understanding of many things will become entirely clear. Reach out to the present, and grab what is out there just for you.

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