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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.