We live our lives within stories or narratives. The story of our family and birth, our upbringing and educations, our relationships and loves, our interests and work, our religion and culture.
We easily get caught up with a way of understanding the world, a story of the world for us, that has us at its centre. And there are lots of sub-plots that may influence how we think and feel and what we do, based on our understanding of the stories and our role in them. “I am like this, I am like that, I can do this, I can’t do that. I know from my past experience what might happen, I worry about what this might mean for the future.”
It is true, we have been shaped by the past and may have concerns about the future but the only moment that is ever real is now, this moment. This is the only moment we ever experience. This is the moment to be aware of our own being, our own ‘I am’ that has its source in God. This is the moment to be aware of the presence of God in us and in all things. Every other moment has gone or is yet to come, only now is real and full of fresh possibility.
We may prefer other words than ‘God’ and that is fine for words are symbols. As Friedrich Nietzsche said: “Words are but symbols for the relations of things to one another and to us; nowhere do they touch upon absolute truth.... Through words and concepts we shall never reach beyond the wall of relations, to some sort of fabulous primal ground of things.” I don’t worry too much about the words we use, for they point us towards a reality named or described in many ways.
The spiritual practice of prayer has to do with this moment. To pray is to intentionally be aware of this moment, that now I am in the presence of God and that God is present in me as my True Self, the Christ consciousness at the core of my being. To pray is to pause, to be still, to be aware and to be filled full in this moment with that Presence. Out of that awareness comes wisdom and right action in the world, the ability to make choices that are more free from the pain of the past and anxieties about the future.
Our spiritual practice of awareness and prayer is like the soaring of a seagull who needs from time to time to flap its wings to maintain its soaring flight. We need from time to time to remind ourselves of the power of this moment and the awareness of our being and the presence of God in us and all things.
Turn frequently through the day to the awareness of this moment as the only real moment, infused with divine presence and full of creative possibility by the grace of God. Pause and centre yourself, feel the ground of your being, that God is with you and in you, that Christ Consciousness (the living and eternal presence of Christ) can be expressed through you.
Jonathan Jelfs, August 2015