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.