More on the Moment

Listen to this instead of reading HERE.

I’m writing this blog from the Salt Lake City airport. I have made my sales calls, my presentations, and my appeals. All that is left now is the follow up and the way that I will roll the details of this quick trip into a report that  makes the leadership of my company pleased. I’m a sales professional and like many in our modern world, this excursion is pretty typical.  The vast majority of my time is spent setting up such appointments with “key decision makers” in hopes that I can “move the ticker” and get more customers “in funnel” so that I can track my “pipeline” and meet my “forecast expectations.” This is my life and depending on your perspective it either sounds exciting or like Hell on earth. Since I can’t sit still in one place for more than two or three days, this job is really a great fit for me.

Let me add another layer to this seemingly typical week.  In last week’s thought, I shared about the amazing beauty and depth and satisfaction that resides within each ticking moment. My point was that all people have these “punctuated” moments that stand out compared to all others. I was hoping to illuminate you to the reality that the event or the moment is really not what makes it so memorable, because moments all come in some form or wrapper. Rather the reason you experienced such satisfaction, such joy, such pain, such beauty or hope was because you had actually entered the “Eternal Moment” found only in the presence of God.  Today we are going one step further than “Peek-A-Boo.”

To mine the depths of any moment is at its core a spiritual endeavor.  Moments that transcend our circumstances are transcendent because they are spiritual in nature. The role of every religion on the planet has been to expose these moments by way of creating proximity to this transcendent experience. Religion is all about focusing our attention from our distracting lives and going deeper into the more fundamental aspects of being-(ours at the minimum, ours and Gods at deeper levels).

I’ve had the privilege of trying out different belief systems and their unique roadmaps to the eternal Moment. Each works just fine as far as it goes. But at some point all the systems break down. Ultimately, what is left is just you and the Moment. If you follow this path, everything else falls to the background but does not disappear.

I often envy those that can come to the Moment and just “be” in it. Animals are our best teachers for this. They are what they are and make no apology for it. They don’t try to be anything other than themselves. The Moment always has a way of picking off the scabs in our life. It showcases our best possible self and places it next to us as if to say; “See what you are capable of?” “Are you ready to move into conformity to this or do you still want to play hide and seek?”  In every spiritual pursuit, and in all religions, this is the heart of the deep conversation. Even the atheist or the non believer experiences this. They just struggle with calling it God. Trust me though, their kids or their business, or their yearnings (all wrappers) will also call them out too. We all face the Moment. It’s hard, so no wonder some of us don’t want to.

For me though, I can’t let things go. I test everything. I always want to see how deep the rabbit hole goes. If last weeks message is true, namely that all moments are the portal through which we realize that God is coming to us IN and AS our very life, then it seems like it is worthwhile to describe what that looks like if one were conscious of it. So here goes:

My moment this week was when my son’s praying mantis died. Each year he prays God will send him one and sure enough we end up with a little cricket eating machine for a few months. Each year he names it “Manty” so its like we have had the same insect for several years (that’s a lesson in itself). The moment came when he said goodbye and held the recently deceased bug in his hand and oh so gently rested her in the little hole we dug in the back. I could see his heart in 4k HD. The beauty of the tenderness and clarity of saying goodbye allowed us to discuss and accept our own mortality as we have done each year. It was pure beauty. This moment moved us to a profound gratitude for the life we have and hope for a new Manty next Spring.

Yes the Christoform pattern is so obvious here (death, burial, renewal), but I want us to go beyond the piercing gospel nuance (Hebrews 6:1). “How do I stay here, in this moment?” I kept asking myself. (Remember I said that lingering is not the same as savoring). Sitting by the hole in the ground does not extend the moment. The relationship of my son to a dead bug was a portal through which we were touched by God. Our Manty funeral was God loving us.  It made me wonder, “What else is?”

Soon I found myself observing every object and moment and asking, “Is God loving me through this?”  I invite you to try this. At first, you’ll see, connecting the dots is hard. The gaps show us where we lack necessary categories of understanding. The truth is I hadn’t opened my eyes wide enough to see pedantic things as being capable of carrying such beauty and energy. But the answer kept coming, “Yes, its me. I’ve always been here using my things. I’m so glad you are here.”

I know, some of you think my cheese has slid right off my cracker (“Now he’s hearing voices”). But for those who doubt the validity of these weekly newsletters to transform, then at least I can say the content is transforming me. It gets worse–or better, depending on how you see it.

My constant questioning and the continual vivid response created a feedback loop that produced a feeling of love that I cannot describe in words. The traffic became God loving me. My trip through airport security was God loving me. My two-hour delay was God loving me. My response to each humbling moment was that I felt small and unworthy to get to experience such love. My compassion and love for others exploded. I began to see the heart level through the faces of every person in my path and field of view and consciousness. I felt so warm inside I could hardly contain myself. (No, I’m not partaking of edibles or any other drug, for those who knew me as the CHB “cold hearted bastard”.)

My reaction was to begin holding my hands palms-out as a sort of subtle, non-weirdo, pair of cosmic satellite dishes that could diffuse some of this powerful love energy. (Just writing it out makes me feel like I’m weird, but if anything I’m honest, so you get what you get.) I was give off the love that was loving me because it felt like I would explode. The whole context of my living was now a giving and exchanging of love. I wanted nothing. I eagerly anticipated the next moment, the next person, then next thing that would creatively show me the love of God. Each second was something to top off the brimming-over tank that is my life on a sales trip.

By the time I got to my hotel I was exhausted. I wondered if I’d wake up to this again. I did.

What I learned is that living in the presence of God or as Christians call it, walking with Christ, or what Eastern religions call enlightenment, or what Native Americans call the Great Spirit, or what some call “FLOW” is not about our doing as many religions confuse things, its about our being. In him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). I’ve said this so many times in these blogs, our being creates our doing, not vice-versa as most the world believes. This experience really solidify’s this for me. We can’t DO anything to abide in the Moment. We can only BE with the Moment.

Lot’s of things can get us there.  The mundane as well as the extraordinary.

I also learned that the love of God is only as far away as the categories we possess. If we have no category for God, then our experience will be “Peek-A-Boo” at best if not non-existent. If we have a narrow, particular category, (as most main line religions do) then only a select type of experience will be seen as valid. As our categories widen, so does each moment.

This Moment is not separate from the rest of our typical week, it is the true fuel behind it. It is what gives life and meaning to everything we do and everyone we meet. I hope you will try this experiment:

  • As often as you are conscious of it, ask the question: “Is this _______________ actually God loving me IN and AS my life?” Pay attention to where your thinking goes as you try and discover this. You will get stuck in those areas that you lack categories, but for those areas you don’t, you will be making vital connections and growing your soul.

The neat thing is that you will have done it without a religious system, just God’s world as your teacher (Psalm 19). Your faith will be between you and God (Romans 14:22). It will be perfect.

Remember, I’m here transducing this content in the hopes that I can play a small role in widening your categories. I hope this serves you.

What is inside a Moment?

Listen to this instead of reading it HERE.

We spend the majority of our lives focused on what is immediately before us.

  • We are trying to make our way through traffic.
  • We are getting ourselves and our families ready for the day.
  • We are working on a project at work.
  • We have to get the kids to practice.
  • We have a meeting or appointment later.

We commonly call this the DAILY GRIND. For most of us, there is nothing particularly satisfying about busting out the minutia of our day. Since so much of our lives consists of such basic, repetitive activities, many people find themselves depressed, angry or at least uninspired. Many people ask: “If this is all there is to life, then what’s the point?”  Is it any wonder people dream about escaping to some place completely off the grid?

I want to add a layer to this scenario. Add the holiday season to this. Now what do you have? For some, it is outright hell on earth.

Do you see what is happening here? Most of us don’t. So let me break this down.

  • Why do we go on vacations?
  • Why do we meet up with our friends or visit loved ones?
  • What draws us into nature?
  • What makes us yearn to travel?
  • Why do some of the things we purchase affect us so much?
  • What motivates people to meditate or engage in spiritual practice?

The answer is we are seeking a moment.

A moment is a portal through which we can touch something bigger than all the noise of our life. It is the opportunity to pause and reflect. A moment allows us to go deeper. A moment by its nature is transcendent, because it gets us beyond ourselves. Moments are sacred. Moments are the spiritual expression of all human life. In fact, life exists no where else. Moments are existential. It is the place where we contact our Maker. Moments are not scientific. They are not empirically based.

  • The silence of nature gets us beyond our material possessions.
  • The fragility of a new born gets us beyond our self absorption.
  • The death of a loved one ushers in questions too large for our daily containers.
  • The thrill of a new love, a new city, a new job distorts everything around us.

If you think about it, all we have ever done has been about pursuing a moment. Everything we turn toward or turn from is based upon a search for a moment. If the moments we chase are all in the future then we will live a life where we miss the moments we have each day.

In fact, the entire point of this blog is to remind us never to glance over the moments. There are countless movies, Facebook posts, tweets, articles and sermons that teach us to savor each moment.

But we need to go deeper. Yes, savoring each moment is good advice, but most of us don’t really know how. Lingering is not savoring. 

The default mode for most of us is to seek good moments. Happiness. We can’t help it. We are programed to avoid pain and pursue pleasure. This is perfectly ok for those who are not familiar with what is inside the moment. But as our awareness grows we discover that the good is only good because bad exists.

The moment of dancing is intimately connected to the moment of mourning (Ecclesiastes 3:4). They are not separate. Ultimately they are not even opposites. The dancing feels good because the mourning feels bad. The labor of the planting moment stems from the same moment as the satisfaction of harvest. As our consciousness matures, we are able to see both extremes as the same experience. They are not just the experiences of life, they are the experiences with Life.

Thus we learn that the spiritual path is the one that actually leads us deeper into these timeless, transcendent moments. It is the awakening to the fact that each click of the clock is ushering in an interaction so profound and so meaningful and so purposeful that to miss it, is to miss everything. It is the denial of God and the loss of ourselves.  James Finely correctly defines this as sorrow.

  • Sorrow is what we are feeling after the presents are all opened and no one really connected.
  • Sorrow is what we feel when we can’t see a way out of the lives we have grown to hate.
  • Sorrow is what we feel when our kids grow up and don’t call.
  • Sorrow is what we feel when we are passed over in our various communities.

Do you see this now? We are not sorrowful because these things happen, we are sorrowful because we have so longed for a particular moment that we are actually recognizing that we missed all the beauty and preciousness of moments along the way. Sorrow is the recognition that there is no way back to them. Sorrow says it was all for nothing and it was right. This is what religion is speaking of when it uses the term Hell. It’s the disposition of missing the eternal moment. It is the sorrow of being disconnected from meaning, which is found only in the present (The Presence).

Unlike the fear tactics of religious power plays that scare us by saying hell is place we go that is irreversible. I know for a fact that it is reversible. The hell of sorrow has a bright path out.

If the breath of life is entering you at this moment, then you are being loved and infused with life by the Eternal Moment. This moment has been coming to you every second of every day since you drew your first breath, and it comes to you now in grace and benevolence and kindness. It is not just some intangible thing you have to hope exists. This moment has come to you “IN” and “AS” your very life and it beckons you to pause, it calls you out of sorrow and to “Be still and know that I am God.”

The next time a sunset, or a meal, or the laughter of a loved one is so close and so dear that it makes you weep, or the next time you feel such pain or dejection or frustration or sorrow, I hope you can become conscious of the beauty that is found within all these containers.  The next time that song “takes you away,” remember, you are not having an emotional reaction to the song. Emotion is the only possible response for the beauty and transcendence that you are touching. For each moment is the love of God that is manifesting Him/Her self as your life. 

When you are tempted to conclude that there is no God, look closer. Get out of some other moment that is perpetuating sorrow and simply enter this one. For this moment contains all the beauty, and wonder and proof that you will ever need.