Topic 10 – The Moment
Like 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:
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.