Topic 10 – The Moment

Posted by on November 4, 2012 in Series-The View from Here | 12 comments


Episode 12Like most notions that represent experience outside our worldview, a simple definition won’t do. So let’s turn to James Lane Prior’s amazing description of The Moment to help us out. Born in DeLand, Florida, he hung out in the Far East and evolved into what I’d call a Sage, based on the insightfulness of the skinny little 19 page pamphlet he wrote entitled, “The Divine Moment.” In English, the word, moment, refers to a block of time—short and/or definitive. James Prior, however, makes it clear it’s far more than that.

You could say The Moment is a metaphysical explanation of what physics is attempting to capture in the term spacetime continuum—a truer description of the universe, a simplistic term that alludes to a more complex relationship with something vast, like Infinity. Or we could just say The Moment is a state of awareness or a state of being, wired in to Reality, the whole shebang of it, so indeed it seems like The Moment and Reality are one-and-the-same. However we describe it, we are still left like fish swimming in the ocean. They don’t know what water is any more that we know what Reality is because there is no way to separate ourselves from it. And though we are called on to continue increasing our awareness of Reality as part of our human dance on this earth, we unfortunately, aren’t doing that. Instead we’ve become hypnotized by the movies in our minds. Rather than advancing our awareness of the immense swirl and flow of life about us, we stay tuned in to our private soap operas, laughing at them, crying over them, like little old ladies daubing their eyes after viewing As the World Turns, believing it’s actually happening to us. It is that crazy, honest.

You might be saying now, “Hold on a minute here. I hear the birds, see autumn coming on us, even smell the roses now and then.” True enough. But those passing observations inform you to the same degree as the evening news relates the intricacies of your home community. Both are prime candidates for the next-to-nothing category.

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not talking magic or woo-woo experiences where The Moment is concerned. I am talking about, for example, the experience you have when you’ve given your full attention to another, listening to them with every part of your being, versus our more normal act of doing five things at once while hearing our child’s voice describing her school day or our mate’s work lament. You know that difference, and that difference between those two experiences captures a sense of the fundamental difference between how all of us live (for all intents and purposes) versus how we could live, were we more aware, more open, more in tune with the Moment. As James Prior states:

A trained will is required
To determine the difference.
You can dream that you are
alert and aware.
Still, true clarity is unmistakable.

Like a child told to color between the lines and graded by how much flows over that thick black boundary, we set up our lives by giving our greatest attention to defining ourselves apart from all else, instructed to do so by our worldview, rather than building on what we inherently knew about the world as children, the view described by James Prior:

Look around…ordinary?
Yet this is it, right now,
The exclusive message of the Cosmos to you!
This is totally and absolutely IT.

Look again, slowly, carefully…

Don’t bother with symbolisms.
Absorb the tone, texture and smell
of Right Now.

Remove it all from the story-like
description in your mind.

Just look. Just feel.

Hear the patterns of sound.
Slow down the tempo of your
bring it to a
still and endless moment.

This will do, will it not, for Eternity?

Had you something else in mind?
(Something a bit more Grand?)

But this is where you are, right here.

The distance to Heaven
is a blink of the eye.

EVERYTHING is within The Moment. There is no inside or outside to it. All that has ever been, including time and space; all that is, and all that ever will be is here and now. It is The Moment. The good news is you are in The Moment right now. There is no other “place” you can be. You pretend to leave it as you wallow in the non-existent past or future, but you truly haven’t gone anywhere. There is only one Moment, this one, and as James Prior contends:

…make yourself comfortable;
you’re here forever.

If that frightens you

you’ve always been here.

In order to function fully, however, within The Moment, we need to know ourselves from a different perspective. What keeps us seemingly outside The Moment is our present perspective, our egoic presentation, our personal self. Since it is a deeply established habit, breaking that habit is the key. We need an alternative approach to learning to accomplish that. Topic 11 – No More Pencils, No More Books, No More Teacher’s Dirty Looks will clue us in as to why.


Christina Carson is an author of novels that involve characters engaged in coming to know the world as discussed in this series. Suffer the Little Children and Dying to Know are two such works.



  1. This is such an important philosophical kernel to our lives.

    • A small but important distinction David, philosophical thought (philosophy: meaning the love of knowledge) takes place in one’s mind. Thinking about the moment is not the same as living in this very moment. Because thinking can never be in the present, as quick as your thought pops up that moment is lost. Keep thinking and you’ll keep missing life. If you are fully present here-now, the mind stops. If you recall being in love, a pure heart to heart connection, not a single moment is lost. It’s the “realest” taste of reality, a glimpse of the beyond. When you’re in a constant state of love with all of existence, well then… you are home.

      • We are always in the moment and everything happens there. There is nothing else but the moment. The critical factor isn’t thinking, but whether or not we are aware individuals. Date-stamped thinking is problematic only because it so captures our attention that it causes us to be unaware of the world around us. Contemplative or reflective thinking, however, are consciously entertained, and though narrowing our focus, they do not create an aberrant experience of the moment, because they do not cut us off from the world around us. When thinking stops altogether, the ensuing silence opens us greatly to the world around us, but we can still do the laundry or dishes, or we could opt for travelling through time and space. The more open we are,the more conscious we are, and the more we can access the innumerable possibilities that are ours.

    • Yes it is, David, and we have to start a new idea or consideration from that place of reflection. We have to take that kernel and plant it our consciousness and wait for it germinate. Thinking is worthwhile when what we are doing is contemplating truth. As we move deeper into our contemplation, our insights will come from our intuitive wisdom, which is the truth. And so our awareness grows.

      • Well said 😉

        • There are so many ways to talk about the nature of wholeness and who we are. I have found the process of writing about it is one that forces me to see more and more clearly. I suspect you are finding the same thing. One time my husband and I were ministers in a church (me,who hadn’t been in one for 40 years!), but we used that experience to speak about the Truth in all facets of life. In fact, the last Sunday of every month we did what we called Spiritual Improv where the congregation could submit any questions they had, and we’d speak to them on the spot. We knew we were there to increase our clarity and told the board so. When our learning curve flattened, we moved on. It was the most concentrated “clarification” experience I’d had to that point. So whether speaking or writing, keep on, as it will force questions on you which when addressed, will give you the gift of further clarity. There is no end to this. We all just keep seeing more clearly. Every blog and comment give us an opportunity to do so.Thanks for who you are and what you are doing.

  2. I used to live in the future, but now I do live in the moment. I’m closer to the future than I used to be. I once planted roses to see if they would someday bloom. Now I simply watch them bloom. The moment of right now is not a bad place to be.

    • You are so right, The present experience of life is life at its finest.

  3. Right now…this moment…is certainly a less scary place than my imagination can concoct for the future! Prior says “A trained will is required…” Amen to that. It’s a struggle, for sure.

    • You nailed it,Jo. The only answer to the fear question is living in the now. It’s hard to see because our thoughts seem so very real, but there we sit dreaming up a scenario for tomorrow that scares us to death, when tomorrow,as the next right now, can take care of itself. So stopping the conversation in one’s mind, ends the past and the future and with it the fear. But it makes overcoming alcohol or drugs look like child’s play at times.

  4. “The moment”, no truer words than this. Funny, I remember as a child my mother would scream: Maddy get your butt HERE NOW! I’d yell back – IN A MOMENT! ….in that single moment…. ah, life.

    • Ah, irony. Ain’t it grand.

Thoughtful comments are always welcome!


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