“What It Means To Me… Living In The Moment”
We’ve all experienced it to some degree…in doing something we love, or something we are good at; in a satisfying meditation practice; in a quiet moment by the crashing ocean; or in a lover’s embrace…there you are, neither tilting your mind into the future nor levering your energy into the past…and the moment opens up its sweet fullness to you…ahhh…
Then the phone yells at you and your spouse rings to pick it up and…the moment is racing by and you’ve fallen behind again.
There’s a visualization that helps me. I can see the moment as a great transparent globe, a child’s soap bubble grown eleven feet tall. I know I can run to keep up with the bubble, but I also know it to be exhausting and largely unrewarding. I always feel behind on everything and enjoy only the esteem of my co-workers who are glad for me getting multiple projects handled with a calm exterior while my internal chatter demands that I do more, think more, feel more, learn more and work harder.
I can position myself in front of the bubble. Don’t sleep enough, don’t eat enough, plow full-tilt into everything without a second thought. Certainly without time for contemplation. Don’t slow down to look back over your shoulder because there is a gigantic bubble ready to smash everything to bits the moment you decide you deserve a breath…Also not for me. I have lived this way and seen great external rewards, even felt a sense of satisfaction from striving to always stay ahead; a measure of self-esteem.
Then I see myself atop the bubble. Not standing, no; it’s oh-so-difficult to stand on a spherical surface. But walk on it gingerly yet with full confidence at the moment’s pace and the world will come to you. The whole of the universe is distilled into your precious bubble and it is neither an enemy come to crush you nor a carrot on a stick for you to chase forever. It is your vehicle, your state-of-the-art organic command center. It is the moment. And self-esteem becomes esteem for everything.
The point, I know, is dropping into the bubble and floating around in a sea of endless bliss, being the bubble and the moment and these words and these pages. But to fill the time between now and then, let us walk consciously on that ever-moving, ever-flowing invisible force that grows our bodies and knits our flesh while guiding our personal evolution. Our feet only touch the ground when we wish them to, and we find ourselves running frantically away from or toward nothing. Let us get to know the rhythm of the rolling bubble and let us delight in our own steps upon it.
Now I feel the well read getting annoyed with me and muttering to themselves: “A bubble! The moment isn’t a bubble, it’s a razor’s edge. Everyone knows that!” I agree, I really do…to a point. Staying in the moment can often just be a glimpse. And a glimpse shows you a truly awesome landscape, a huge totality right here right now…DON’T THINK ABOUT IT! OR ANYTHING! But even that’s a thought; and whether you come crashing down or are gradually eased back into the mortal flow of time, the moment is once again passing you by.
Just one glimpse is enough…the moment’s entertainments are inexhaustible, vast infinity stretched out all around you, and just a glimpse will show you all that and more. So we push the moment around with our thoughts, try to get it to open up with our meditations, pull it to us with our prayers…stumble around murmuring, “Be here now, be here now…” until people start to talk.
Then it starts to come, a little at a time, that stillness enters your mind in a quiet moment and your essence ripples out into the whole universe. And the universe responds in kind with a wave of love that would be overwhelming if it weren’t so welcome. This can be enough to have us dropping to our knees with a hearty string of “thank you’s…” It can be enough to change the course of a lifetime. Or it might just see us running to our journal to write down whatever words that wish to rise to the challenge of describing this quietly dramatic event.
Yet this is just the first step of the dance. We learn the rhythm as we go, always following the lead of the moment. There is ebb and flow, but both are happening at the same time; and the moment whispers such secrets to you as you dance. The fullness of “right here, right now” reaches your inner being and feels more like “everywhere, eternally.”
Once you learn the moment’s dance, once you start to see the moment as a familiar friend rather than elusive prey, you can lose yourself in it a little and not lose your grip on it. And once you pass through the doorway, you can lose yourself in it entirely. For the moment contains within it that thing which can only truly be found within us: Awe. When we live always in the moment, we live always in awe…and that’s what it means to me.
Living in the moment is arguably the most difficult and the most important aspect of the spiritual path. It’s a subject that has come up before, and it will continue to come up. It’s a good first taste of my “What It Means To Me…” series, and a chance to show you a little more of the difference between me writing to myself and me writing to you.
Ask anyone to explain living in the moment, and they will probably have an answer different from everyone else you ask. I would not only give a different answer from one year to the next, I might give you a different answer one day to the next. From everywhere I have stood, I have never seen an end to the learning and wonder contained in this moment.
I don’t even remember the first time I heard the phrase, but I imagine if I heard it before I had my first mystical experience I probably told whoever was talking to can it with the stupid hippie bullshit. After I had the experience that I took to calling “Waking Up”, I heard the phrase “living in the moment” and I said, “Yeah, yeah, that’s what I did for three months. I lived in the moment! How do I get back there?”
Unfortunately, looking for answers to questions like these had me spending a lot of time feeling like the housecat staring at the finger pointing at the food. Day after day I felt myself hungering for a love that I knew was all around me while starving just the same. The only thing I wanted to talk about was something I felt I really knew little or nothing about, and the only thing I could think about was how nice it had been to not think so much for awhile.
Pursuing a more awakened life never felt like a choice to me, nor does it now. This is what I’m here to do, and some of my favorite people on the planet are the ones who have helped me in my journey by sharing with all of us how and why they tread an authentic spiritual path. It’s nice to know there’s a big family out there asking eternal questions and finding similar answers. The most profound answers go unspoken, as words fail them, but they are there for those able to read between the lines.
One wonderful aspect of living at this time in this culture is that the answers we hear the moment silently murmur to our souls are echoed in virtually every field of study. It can be hard to tell a physicist’s journal entries from a mystic’s at times; the medical field regularly publishes studies that show the placebo effect is as effective or more effective than their own remedies; the universe looks the same through a microscope as it does through a telescope. When modern science is coupled with eternal perception, the facts laid out by one become a vessel filled with truth by the other. The scientist may see mostly empty space when viewing an atom under a high-powered electron microscope, but the moment tells us that is not “empty space”.
Life is alive, and living in the moment means living in a field that is virtually crackling with that aliveness. The bubble metaphor might be a little tired, but it is helpful in visualizing your energy dynamic. Although the individual cannot disconnect from the moment or the field, the individual is certainly capable of perceiving themselves as disconnected. I see my bubble as my personal field within the universal energy field. Rather than treat it as a wall to keep out the unwanted aspects of living in this field, I view it as a magnetic orb that attracts what I need and want by my keeping my immediate field clear rather than cluttered with what I judge to be positive or negative imagery. The Universe has better things in store for me than I can imagine for myself, and is more likely to hear what I want from it if I listen to what it wants from me.
Living in the moment doesn’t mean we don’t have issues from the past or plans for the future; it rather insists that we deal with the issues presented by pretending to be a painfully finite being by taking up our actual identity in the Infinite. Then the future becomes a clear path characterized not by where our feet fall but rather by where our vision leads us.
The good news is, the moment is inescapable. We all live in it to the degree that we love life and all it has to teach and share and offer, and we all benefit from the gifts to be found right here, right now. In every way imaginable, it’s wonders never cease.
Happy Birthday this week to Krystal Murphy! Thanks for shining your bright light in one of my hometowns, Troy, Montana. Show her some love and like her Facebook page – Be Krystal Clear.