Interlude: The Beauty We Love (feat. Eugene Friesen), performed by Gary Schmidt, on the Landscapes of the Heart album
One thing that meditation teaches us is to be in the now. We sit, we breathe, we silently recite our prayer words, we center into the Now … we get distracted, we return, to the breath, to the mantra, to the Now.
Have you ever considered how important it is to be in the Now? We’ve all been drivers and passengers on the road together. You know that sudden rush when cars ahead brake suddenly, or someone merges into your lane without warning? We feel the rush most intensely when we weren’t in the present. In our minds we were already at the meeting, or replaying that unpleasant conversation. In the Now, we are safer, we see the little things that signal we need to be ready to react.
Being in the Now is not only safer, but it can bring more joy into your life. I had to visit a new doctor over in Mountain View in September. Now going to a new doctor can be an anxious time. What will they be like? What will they say? How bad is it, whatever the “it” is? But that particular day, I had been listening to some new music, auditioning pieces that I might use at Meditation, on the drive over. Wayze was guiding my route, and I arrived well ahead of my appointment time. I walked into the medical center, and Wow! There in the atrium hung a Chihuly chandelier. So beautiful. The receptionist gave me directions to my doctor, and when I commented on her good fortune, getting to work with a view of Chihuly all the time, she agreed, handing me a small slip of paper with more information. I walked downstairs, and looked again to see that the chandelier was in two parts — a double chandelier! What a gift. A younger me might have skipped down the hall to the doctor’s waiting room. The joy of seeing the Chihuly was a gift of being in the Now.
Just imagine, how our lives might be, if we live more and more in the Now? Not every doctor’s office will have a colorful chandelier by a famous artist in the lobby, but if we live in the Now, we can catch more of those joy moments. The bright colors of fall foliage, a rainbow, children on their way to the park, a beautifully designed automobile in another lane, a well-cared-for classic car in the parking lot. Being here and now invites more joy into your day, which can be passed on as you encounter the rest of humanity.
Meditation here in our group is a good practice, and if you need some extra encouragement to start, or persevere, in your daily meditation practice, remember this: living in the Now is safer, and happier. Meditation trains your mind to return to the Now.
As John Main tells us:
Meditation is our way of a total entry into the present moment. All of us have a tendency to live in the past or perhaps to live in the future. Do not live either in the past or in the future. Learn to be present wholly to the present moment, to the now, to the now that we can describe as the eternal now of God.
[John Main, “Silence and Stillness in Every Season: Daily Readings with John Main” by Paul Harris, Laurence Freeman. Pages 122.]
Delivered at Resurrection Catholic Church, Aptos, California, on October 26, 2017.