Since it’s 2014 shall we try to express the inexpressible yet again?
Spiritual teachers point relentlessly toward the Present Moment. They gesture and say, “The now is where it’s at, Baby!” and we seekers say, “Hey, we can find the present moment!” and we connect with it and…a thought or feeling or emotion passes by and POOF! it’s six hours or days later and we wake up and say, “Oh, yeah, the present moment…”
We intellectually know where the present moment is–it’s right here after all–but we seem incapable of embodying it for more than twenty seconds, six minutes, a half day, three weeks, depending on the fierceness of our wills or incredible bulldog-like natures.
Why can’t we hold the present moment in consciousness?
First, in my humble opinion, it’s un-holdable.
It’s never meant to be held.
It’s a river which washes by, through and around us constantly. It’s a river of Life singing on and on and on. Sometimes it sings in silence, in which case we feel peace, and say “Ah ha! I like this!” and then chase after silence like it’s a golden canary lighting our way into always-feeling-good.
Second, we can’t hold the present moment in consciousness because Life hath created patterns in us to flesh out our egos, our personalities, our quirky beautiful awful amazing selves! These patterns keep us as ourselves. If we’re identified with a “self” then the Present Moment can’t always flow effortlessly. It keeps bumping into the rocks of ourselves.
(You see why this is inexpressible? That last paragraph is such a metaphor! We all know that rivers don’t care if rocks exist. In fact the very definition of a river is often water, soil, rocks, plants. A rock IS part of a river. Therefore, delight in the above metaphor if you’re inclined and frown at it if you see its sad limitations.)
Nonetheless, because I’m too lazy to search for another metaphor, let’s stick with a river rock. The Present Moment flows by in all its raw naked Life-delight. The rock sits like a rock and the water must flow around it. Consciousness moves away from the hulking stone.
What is the hulking stone that oft prevents us from being in the present moment? Often it is frozen hardened emotion that has captured grooves in our awareness. From childhood on we’ve felt some feelings too strong to incorporate. We’ve felt some thoughts too powerful to allow. We’ve cordoned off parts of the flowing river of life. We’ve burrowed these parts underground in our psyche. Begone! we commanded and the sad, painful, despairing emotions fled toward the kidneys and gall bladders and livers and bones and fingernails of ourselves, attempting to disappear under the Voice of Authority which wanted only to please, God, feel good.
As we find the Present Moment in our adulthood now the abandoned feelings rush to the surface. Suddenly we’re filled with shame, longing, guilt, despair, pain. From where does it come? From the pancreas, dear friend, where it escaped all those long years ago when you banished it.
But now you’re strong enough to bear it.
Because you know about the Present Moment.
In the Present Moment is a light shining so strong, so vigilant, so filled with love that it will bear your compressed and forgotten pain. It will love it. It will, most importantly, allow it.
It allows it without added judgment. Without a yakking story about “who done me wrong”. It simply holds the feeling as raw sensation, raw energy, raw Life coming to the surface like a wellspring, like a hidden gift.
You will forget all of this and push your pain back to the nether-regions but it knows, oh yes, it knows, that you are stronger every day and will return to your deeply expanding Presence and rise toward the light which you truly are, you truly are, and someday we shall allow everything to exist just as it is.
Which we already do, even during those times that we forget.