Living in the moment. We hear a lot about doing it, but how is it done? What does it mean?
The past is a fabrication, a woven together group of memories, created by our present idea of who we are as individuals. Our memory of events, that we take as the past, are recalled from the current moment, are subjective and incomplete. Not only have we selectively constructed our memory, based on whatever we choose to focus on, but the "person" that was in the moment remembered is not the same as the one who remembers.
The whole process is fraudulent. A different version of "you" remembers a past "you" and constructs a memory made of only parts of the original, infinitely vast, moments.
In the same way, we also imagine a future based on our current idea of ourselves, influenced by our fabricated memories of the past. This future cannot become reality because as the idea of ourselves 'moves forward' toward the future we imagined, the individual that imagined it no longer exists. We will have changed before the future ever makes it to us. The present "you" is left always chasing a future that doesn't exist, while realizing "you" have disappeared into the next moment also. It's like a waterfall trying to grab hold of itself!
So, that leaves the present moment. But, there's a catch. We cannot live in the moment either. No one in history has ever lived in the moment- no one. We all live only in our memory of the past, and our imagination of the future(which is really also just a part of the past- headache yet?).
The reason we cannot live in the moment, the infinite present, is because we cannot experience what we are. You can only BE what you are. "You" don't live in the moment, you ARE the moment. Your "I", the witness, creates a past and future that robs you of the being-ness you really are.
To live in the moment, we need only to stop trying to experience and be still. Just BE.
Realizing your own divine nature is like staring at a perfectly still, placid lake
If you stare long enough, the pure stillness begins to merge with you
You begin to lose the idea of you and other
Being this stillness, and abiding there, is realization
Reaching out to stir the water, to restore contrast, redefine self and other,
is saving self, and sacrificing the divine
We come and go in a lifetime
We come and go in a year
We come and go in a day
We come and go in a minute
We come and go in a second
We come and go in a single thought
We find, between these thoughts, we have never come, and never gone
The world wants your attention. What will you do?
Matthew 6:33 New International Version (NIV)33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
From the Buddhist Canon:
"Consider, Malunkyaputta, this story of a man wounded by a poisoned arrow. His friends, relatives, and well-wishers gather around him and a surgeon is called. But the wounded man says, ‘Before he takes out this arrow, I want to know if the man who shot me was a Kshatriya, a Brahmin, a merchant, or an untouchable.’
"Or he says, ‘I won’t let this arrow be removed until I know the name and tribe of the man who shot me.’
"Or: ‘Was he tall, short, or of medium height?’
"Or: ‘Was he black, brown, or yellow-skinned?’
"What do you think would happen to such a man, Malunkyaputta? Let me tell you. He will
"And that is what happens when a man comes to me and says, ‘I will not follow the Dhamma
until the Buddha tells me whether the world is eternal or not eternal, whether the world is finite or infinite, whether the soul and the body are the same or different, whether the liberated person exists or does not exist after death, whether he neither exists nor does not exist after death.’ He will die, Malunkyaputta, before I get a chance to make everything clear to him."
Who told you you are not perfect? Who gave you the image you see in the mirror? First, accept, however you can, that you are made of the essence of God. Before any layers of worldliness are added, before anything at all is added, you are perfection. Start from there.
Now, seeing that you are of the very same being-ness as God, listen to whatever voice in the world, either your own inner voice or an outer one, that says you are this, or you are that, and hear how it cannot touch you. See that the individual 'you' that has taken on all these identities is not you, but a fiction you've accepted. Seeing the fabricated, worldly version of you, your true self will emerge without any effort.
One in an infinitely open field will eventually feel trapped, although there are no gates or borders or boundaries. This one will build gates, buildings, and all matter of creations, to distract from the vast field. In time, this one will forget who built the creation, feel there must be something more to existence, and seek the freedom of the open field he retreated from in the beginning.
All things become a trap for the one who sees and is not seen.
Trying to surrender is merely another form of not surrendering. Realizing you cannot surrender, nor give up on surrendering, spontaneous meditation, stillness, silence occurs. Surrender has happened without you.
Sermon for June 29, 2019
There is a kind of pulsation, vibration, that is our existence. Our heartbeat, our breath, life and death, our sleep cycle, day and night, and even our thoughts, the ‘stream of our thoughts’, themselves, pulse in an on and off rhythm. Music is also very illustrative of this up and down, on and off, sound and silence. The silence between the sounds are as much a part of music as the actual notes we tend to focus on. Our thoughts operate much the same way, we focus on the thoughts and miss the gaps between them, much like watching a movie that appears continuous, but when slowed, is just pulsating still images moving so quickly that our mind fills in the blanks.
Sermon for June 23, 2019
Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things we can experience. It lays us bare in a way few things can, often ripping through things we once thought could give us some peace and happiness. Grieving seems to be able to create a kind of void, deep within us, in a place rarely touched. Yet, grief is somehow also able to cut that same space. The way grief is able to create this empty hole, and then torture it, is something that catches most, if not all, unprepared.
In other times of trial, we often seek space, find time to just be, to recover and recharge. In grief, there is a unique process where our ability to use space is somehow thwarted. Activity doesn’t help, space doesn’t help. Religions, philosophy, promises, kind words- it all just falls into this void of grief. We can feel in great pain, and totally numb, seemingly at once. It seems a great paradox, and source of incredible pain, that this space, this void, can be both so empty, swallowing up so much, yet palpably occupy a core of who we are.