Wednesday, 6 October 2010
This is all there is
There is a lot said and a lot written about living a spiritual life but there is probably one simple truth which is the foundation of all of it: This is all there is. This moment, this now, this experience is all there is. You are here and nowhere else; this is the Eternal Now.
Your thoughts and feelings may be in many places, or nowhere, but your consciousness, when you return to it, is only in this moment. The more you are in this moment the more you live.
As Eckhardt Tolle said, and I paraphrase: 'There is no fear in the now; fear is always about the future.
And I would add: Regret is never about the now; regret is always about the past. Doubt is never about the now; doubt is always about the past or the future.
It seems simple enough, living in the now, in the only thing which exists but it isn't. It takes practice. There is a lot to unlearn. From the first moment we drew breath and probably even before, we were being 'programmed' to live everywhere but in the Now!
And in a world where change is constant, frequent and inevitable, this 'programming' has only intensified.
There was a time and there were societies and perhaps a few remain, where day-dreaming was believed to be both a gift and a skill. Where being in the moment with no thought of past or future was believed to be a blessing.
How much different would life be if we spent most of our time in the Now instead of the Past or the Future. It's a lighthearted adage but one with great depth and truth: 'It's called the Present because it is a Gift.'
Esoteric teaching says that both the Past and the Future can be changed; but only when we focus our consciousness on the Now. Even modern physics is beginning to agree with the great spiritual teachers that Past, Present and Future are one.
It's a heady concept. As impossible for us to truly understand as infinity is. But we don't have to understand; we just have to accept. Acceptance, surrender and being are all qualities sourced in the Now.
You can't access them from the Past or the Future and yet when you access them in the Now they can help to change both Past and Future. You don't have to believe that. You don't have to believe anything; you just have to keep an open mind about everything.
Disbelieve nothing is one way to go. Just try it for a day, a week or a month. See what else changes in your life. If you disbelieve nothing then you remain open to the fact that anything and everything may be possible. You exclude nothing and are therefore denied nothing.
You are surrendering to the lack of belief and opening to the possibility of everything. And yes, such comments can sound trite and fantastical; or even downright silly or stupid. But all of those words are judgements which exclude things we do not understand and may not know we need.
The truth is that much must be simply accepted; not believed but accepted, to follow a Spiritual Path. The more you learn; the less you know. The less you know; the more you will experience.
It's a place where nothing matters and everything matters. And what I mean by that is that in a world where everything has meaning, where it 'matters' because it is a living part of all that is then 'nothing matters' in the sense that everything you experience, feel, think or do is just what you are meant to be experiencing, feeling, thinking or doing in that moment.
'Nothing matters, as in there are no rights or wrongs because everything matters, as in everything is meaningful and purposeful.
In such a world you can remain in the Now as a willing participant and observer in and of all that comes to you. You don't have to choose because you accept. Because you accept you learn. You don't have to do because you can be. When you 'be' you experience and you learn. You live life in its entirety instead of picking up bits and pieces which appeal to you, not because they are right for you but because of what you have been taught to believe.
It is in the stillness, as the ancient Greek philosopher Parmeneides taught, that we are able to access all that is; to be one with the Source. Meditation equates with 'stillness' but you don't have to meditate to be in a place of 'stillness.' You don't have to meditate at all to walk a Spiritual Path. You don't have to do anything to walk a Spiritual Path other than practice being in the Now.
Stillness can be experienced in a moment of love; whether it be of a person, a paintbrush, a plate of food, a plant or a pinot noir! Stillness is in the Now; in the place where you are fully conscious of simply 'being' no matter what that 'being' involves.
In that place of Now there are no judgements of good, bad, right, wrong, beautiful, ugly, cruel, kind, happy, sad, pleasant, painful... there is just the experience, the place of being.
It can all sound a bit bland and pointless but it is like everything in life; you have to experience it to understand it. There are people whose hobby is to collect barbed wire; it's a passion and a joy which most other people would never understand because they would reject it out of hand before experiencing it.
We spend a lot of time rejecting things without bothering to learn anything about them. We have a whole set of reasons and words as to why they should be immediately rejected, despite the fact that others seem to find joy and fulfillment in them. Spirituality is no different.
People who say they don't believe in God or anything spiritual are saying what they believe but they are not telling the truth. To 'not believe' in something with the sort of determination and passion which demands it be rejected out of hand, means that you actually believe in it quite strongly; but your beliefs are negative.
If you truly did 'not believe' in God, the spiritual or metaphysical then you wouldn't care. You would not have a visceral reaction to it nor any need to reject it. If you truly do not believe in something it does not exist.
It is important therefore to know exactly what it is you do believe or do not believe before you can make any informed decision on what you choose to reject. Everyone is different. Many people are pushed or pulled toward a more Spiritual Life; some live an intensely spiritual life without ever knowing (or caring) that that is what it is and others have to work so hard to survive they don't have time to think about anything. Although, such a life can be the most spiritual of all.
Just as teachers throughout the ages have said it is impossible to describe God in words, so it is impossible to describe this experience. Many things are difficult if not impossible to describe in words which is why we so revere our great poets for they 'paint' pictures with words which help us to understand; to have a sense of the experience. But even that is incomplete.
Take Love for instance. How many words have been written about Love? Even more have been spoken and yet when we Feel loved and it is Feel, not Think loved, it does not come from words but from the experience.
And those deepest experiences of Love are sourced in the Now!
The Fourth Lesson on the Spiritual Path is: Disbelieve nothing!