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talking to myself

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What is the present moment?

markdohle

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What is the present moment?

Live, then, in the present moment. Choose to be faithful to Me in the little things that I give you and ask of you from minute to minute, from hour to hour, and from day to day.3 It is foolish to pin your hopes and to spend your energy on an imaginary good, when the real good that I offer you is here and now.

A Benedictine Monk. In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart--
The Journal of a Priest at Prayer
 (Kindle Locations 3220-3223). Angelico Press. Kindle Edition.
++++++++++

 

This morning I was walking out front of the Monastery in between Nocturnes, at Vigils, our 4AM office.  We have the first Nocturne. Then we have a meditation period of 30 minutes.  Since the church can be very hot, this is the best way for me to pray/meditate.   I was saying the Chaplet of Mercy, which is something said for those who are dying at that hour.  As I was thinking about the word ‘hour’, I began to pray for the dying in God’s ‘hour’, which is always present, both past, present, and future.  There is no future with God, it is all ‘Now’.  So in praying for the dying, it within God’s ‘hour’.  The eternal moment that we all live, move and have our being in.  In prayer, there is no separation from past, present, or future, it is all ‘now’.   I know it sounds crazy for those who do not believe, but as I grow older, this reality becomes ever more real.  The deep connection we have with all others.

As I was walking between a large bush and a tree, a mockingbird starting singing, and another bird, of which I do not know the species, responded.  I stopped and just listened, in the otherwise completely silent morning.  The beauty of that moment came over me like a flood, something so simple, but yet so profoundly beautiful!  I am grateful, that for at least this morning, I was not trapped in the past, or worrying about the future.  I guess, perhaps, I was awake.  I do believe that prayer does wake us up, if we pray from the heart, being honest, and not afraid of the truth.  My soul wanted to dance, fly, and run around like crazy……I was so thankful for that little moment, so rich, and happy that I did not let it go by unnoticed. 

Each day has its challenges that we experience moment by moment.  To wake up, to stop dreaming is to be aware of our ability to grow in freedom, and in our ability to choose not to react, but to interact with others, or with everyday situations. 

To not wake up, is simply going through the day reacting, not much different than dreaming…or is in fact, a form of dreaming.  Caught up in the past, or worries about a future, we don’t even know we have.  Each day, thousands worry about the future and die, unexpectedly, that same day.  When caught up in inner drama, we miss what is before us.  When the inner drama is unconscious, we play it out with those around us.

There are ways to be in the moment.  Seeking to live by the ‘Golden Rule’ for instance.  In facing a dilemma, that is, in reality, a crossroads, a place of decision, it is good to think along these lines:  “How would I want to be treated in this situation”.  It brings us out of a certain ‘self-centeredness’, which goes with being self-aware.  The illusion is that the world revolves around me.  Reality is reduced to a stage wherein I am the main character.  Yes, this is dreaming, big time, which can quickly/easily, devolve into a nightmare.  When people who are not aware, that they are reacting, each thinking they are right, and the others, impeding on their rights, it can lead to situations that become very chaotic and destructive……so yes, a hell, of sorts.  Brings to mind Sartre’s play ‘No Exit”.  It is a form of isolation, which is suffering, but so common, that many may not know that they are in fact in deep pain. 

When allowing the unconscious to block self-awareness, with all of its memories of the past, where all the hurt and pain is hidden, it can run our lives with brute force.  The more we are unaware, the more of a victim we become of others, or, we can victimize because we can’t wake up.  In the end, we are our own worst enemy, trapped in cycles we may not understand, or even know that they are cycles that can be healed.  What is thought of as normal, may, in fact, be a prison that is self-constructed, the key is to wake up.—Br.MD






 

 

 



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Marcus Aurelius

Posted

Amen and amen. As you know, the Buddha taught this as well....nothing exists save for the present moment. I actually think this concept of an eternal now, or an eternally present moment...which can be traced all the way back to the likes of Augustine....is one key area where, at least from an ontological perspective, Christianity and Buddhism meet. The parallel sayings between Jesus and the Buddha on this very issue are too numerous to count, for example. 

In my own life, especially being what the Buddhists would call a "householder"....I have had to be very intentional about a renewed contemplative practice (which is where the religions tend to meet, anyway, in experience and praxis) in order to maintain ground of being. I've found that the demands of daily life, even with being a Pastor, can pull one away from much needed moments of solitude and silence. When that happens....the busier I am, the more overextended I get....the more I get caught up in being everywhere but the present. And as the contemplatives say, when you reach this point....your thoughts begin to control you rather than the other way around. 

It is amazing how just 30 minutes a day of meditation or centering prayer can bring one back to a sense of equilibrium. 

As always, it is a joy to read your work.

Peace be with you,

MA

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joc

Posted (edited)

The present moment....it is the only moment we have.  One's entire life happens in that moment.   If we miss, that moment...the present one...and the next one and the next one and the next one....it can only be because we are either living in the past (which doesn't exist) or because we are anticipating the future (which does not exist either).   And when we are living in either of those places which do not exist...then our own existence is muted.  Happiness is found in the reality of the present moment.  There is only one...and this is it.    Just my thoughts on the subject.

Edited by joc
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StarMountainKid

Posted

I was watching a video of Michael Caine, who said this is not a rehearsal. I think he meant, there are no throw-away moments, no rehearsals and then the real thing happens. It's always the real thing happening. 

To actually enjoy life, even the most mundane moments should be payed attention to. As Mark says, be awake! It's a shift in attention from our usual sort of dreamy and fuzzy awareness. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Marcus said:  Amen and amen. As you know, the Buddha taught this as well.

Well said.  I do believe that Buddhism will have a profound effect on the West.  You are a good example ;-).

 

Peace
mark

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StarMountainKid said:  To actually enjoy life, even the most mundane moments should be payed attention t

Such a simple thing to do, but also very, very, difficult.

 

peace
mark

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StarMountainKid

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28 minutes ago, markdohle said:

Such a simple thing to do, but also very, very, difficult.

 

peace
mark

One reason it may be difficult is because one's attention is usually on one's thoughts. I mean, there is always something else to think about. :)  

We consider and value knowledge to be the highest form of our self. We sort of become what we know. For instance, our religion is based on our knowledge of our religion. Just an example.

If we had no knowledge of religion, could we still have a religious mind? I think we would still have a religious experience, because the essence of religion is not knowledge, it is the religious experience that lies beyond just knowledge of some religion. I'm sure as you understand this.

So I think this religious experience dwells in every mundane moment. We don't set aside our religion only for some special moments, every moment is this religious experience. 

Maybe not so easy, because we have so many secular things to do, so many non-religion things to think about. This is necessary, but the religious mind is its own intelligence that never really leaves us, as a sort of background from which we act. Though sometimes we may forget this and loose ourselves, we can always stop and return to this essence of religion, forget our knowledge for a moment and just silently look around, to recognize what we've lost in our busy, buzzing  minds. 

 

 

 

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StarMountainKid:  It is also about how we use language, which of course our religious outlook will influence.  Thank you for your comment, as usual, it gives me something to think about......I do think that personal experiences are a big factor of course.  Today with the study o NDEs, OBEs, etc., are leading us I believe to a deeper understanding of what life is about.  Our belief in God, the spirit world, or even an afterlife did not arise because of fear, but because of experience.  Shamanism attests to that, it is pretty much the same all over the world.

 

peace
mark

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