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